Classes & Training

Companion Canines offers dog training and behavioral services through classes, private lessons or the board and train program.

Classes

Classes take place at the VCA Cherry Bend Animal Hospital* in Traverse City, MI on Monday evenings, for 6 weeks, from 6:30-7:30pm, at $200.00. Please call 231-922-0500 for dates, availability and all requirements. For any other training services, please contact me direct.

During these lessons, you will work on basic obedience and socialization with your dog. All clients will go home with paper homework to continue working on what you learn in between lessons.

Future pack walks are included. These continued training classes for pack training are offered periodically around Traverse City in numerous locations on scheduled days. Contact me for more details.

*VCA Cherry Bend Animal Hospital offers doggy daycare.

Private Training Lesson

Private lessons may take place at a location of your choice. The convenience of this provides you with the option to pick a location, whether in the home or in the neighborhood, etc.,  where you are seeing behavior issues with your dog. Then, we are able to address those behaviors in real time.  

Most often private lessons tend to be needed by individuals that have a schedule that doesn’t permit a commitment to classes. Or perhaps to a family that has specific behavior issues that need addressing as opposed to basic obedience.

The price of the private lesson will vary based on the number of behaviors addressed and modified during the lesson. Typically a private lesson averages $200 which will allow enough time to complete the goals you request. The average time frame is 1.5 hours, which allows time to address 3 behaviors.

All clients will be left with paper or electronic homework that you can review and continue to work on with your dog after your lesson. Follow-up questions via email or phone are greatly encouraged to ensure your dog’s success.

Future pack walks are included.

Board and Train

A board and train program entails me having your dog on a round the clock basis for a period of two weeks, minimum.  Additional time required to accomplish your goals would be at a discounted price.  The types of behaviors needed to either change or develop determines the length of stay required. 

During this program, your dog will work on basic obedience and any other behaviors we discuss. They will also work on their socialization skills through group play with the other dogs here for training or boarding. They will go on daily pack walks with the other dogs, which will reinforce positive walking behavior and off lease walking if requested. They will constantly be learning proper behavior as they will always be in an environment that reinforces consequences for their behaviors and where all the other dogs will be following the same rules.

You will be sent regular updates with videos and pictures of your dog’s progress during their stay.

The first two weeks would be $1,000 per week. Again it varies due to the temperament of your dog and behavior desired. 

Future training, and pack walks are included. Clients will be sent home with notes from their dog’s training experience. You are encouraged to reach out via email or phone for any questions after the training program. 

Any e collar training is guaranteed for the life of the dog if certain criteria is followed by owners.

Training Styles

Companion Canines offers three different styles of training: Private, Group, and Clinic. The following sections are offered in each style.

PUPPY ASSESSMENT

The first step is to learn about the breed you are looking for before you making a decision. Researching even mixed breeds will prevent you from getting the wrong dog for your type of lifestyle. I can provide a list of traits to match your companion canine with your family and lifestyle.

The next step is to understand the differences between a puppy or an adult dog and how it may affect your family and lifestyle.

Lastly, your decision to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder, rescue a dog from a shelter, get a dog from a rescue group or get a one from a family or friend.

Videos will be available to assist you in gaining knowledge in the proper introduction of dogs in each situation. Here is some of the information included in the videos:

  • Puppy training tips
  • Picking your puppy from a litter
  • Gauging a dog’s reaction to you from behind a gate
  • Introducing a second dog into the family
  • Presenting your new dog to friends and dog parks
  • Reading body language of dogs, and how dogs are reading your body language

Training is a life long process.


RESCUE DOG REHABILITATION

A rescue dog is any dog removed from an unhealthy, dangerous, or distressing situation. A rescue dog may come from a shelter or a foster home. The foster home may be a place following a shelter, and if more than one dog is being fostered, the situation could be stressful. It is important to understand, in any case, the dog may come with “Buts” or baggage.

The biggest difference between raising a puppy and rescuing an older dog is the behavior they are bred with versus the behaviors they have learned. Either way, all dogs can learn new behaviors over time with consistency and persistence. It is recommended that you establish rules and boundaries with the family and household before even attempting to rescue your dog. The rules should begin the moment the dog arrives at your home.

After 2-4 weeks, the dog will show signs of settling, where he/she begins to believe that they have found “home”. Then the serious training can commence. This is the time to begin molding your dog into a family member that will benefit you both.

OBEDIENCE

The definition of obedience is “to submit to authority or comply with an order or the practice of obeying.” Obedience training has many levels, from puppy to competition. I start with puppy behavior that can be molded from as early as 3 weeks of age. You may find it interesting that service dog puppies begin their training before their eyes are even open. The dog is too young to learn that doesn’t hold any ground with me. “If you want a great dog, you’ll start with a great puppy”.

Our basic desired puppy behaviors are sit, stay, leave it, off, and gentle. As we move to basic obedience, some of the commands change to sit-stay, down-stay, come when called, walk nice on a leash, find it, get it, hold it, and drop it. As you dog becomes more advanced, we repeat the same commands but increase time, distance, and distractions. You will find that all of these disciplines are trained with a variety of techniques from positive reinforcement and treat training to clicker, gentle leaders or head halter, or even some e-Collar (electronic collar) training.

No technique is better or worse than the other. The only difference is the person training the dog and how easy it is for him/her to to teach the dog with the method chosen. When your dog passes an obedience class, it is not safe to assume you have total control; training is a life long process, and needs maintenance.


Dogs will learn social behavior skills from other dogs.


SOCIALIZING

One aspect of training that is often bypassed or forgotten is socializing. Dogs speak first and foremost with body language. Most of it is natural and is not something they learn from a human. The “smartest” dogs are ones that learn social behavior from other dogs. In puppy and basic obedience classes, trainers will tell you to keep your dog under control and don’t let the dogs engage with each other. This rule is to protect you and your dog, the other people and their dogs, and the training facility for liability reasons. Besides not allowing engagement in the classes, they recommend that you go to dog parks and day care centers.  I tend to develop the socialization by individual dog, but most classes are taught off leash. My reasoning is that at puppy stages, there typically is no aggression, rough play perhaps, but they learn bite inhibition with contact.

In this section you have the opportunity to learn basic dog body language and learning to speak to your dog with your own body language. I will show you how to recognize if your dog is creating a problem, as well as teach you skills to offset and diffuse any situation simply and safely.

SPECIALIST TRAINING

Specialist Training is for your dog to learn to become a therapy dog, service dog, and/or assistance dog. Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools and hospices. Service dogs are specifically trained to help people with disabilities such as visual or hearing impairment, mobility issues, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seizures, diabetes and much more. Assistance dogs are trained to aid individuals with disabilities as well.

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