Alyssa Rose, CPDT-KA
Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist
- puppy training
- anxious behavior
- aggressive behavior
- impulsive behavior
- fearful behavior
- dogs and kids
Can you tell me more about your online behavioral classes?
These classes teach you how to work through anxious and reactive behavior using a “base training method” for behavior modification. Base training establishes functional skills and systematically integrates these skills into challenging situations. Think of training like building blocks, where you are able to break the training down into simple steps when your dog is struggling, or build them up when your dog is showing focus and confidence. The four pillars of base training are Mat Work, Heel Work, Recall and Send Away. Mat Work is the best starting point.
What is the structure of online Classes?
These classes are offered “on-demand.” This means that you can start the training at your earliest convenience. The training is structured so that you will receive weekly training discussions and demonstrations that can be watched at times that work best with your schedule. The Get Started email will arrive in your inbox the day you sign up, and the Week 1 training will arrive the following day.
How do online classes compare to in-person classes?
Training in the comfort of your own home allows both people and dogs to focus and process information more effectively. This is especially true for dogs that exhibit anxious, reactive or hyperactive behavior. In-person classes can be overwhelming for dogs that already struggle to adapt to common triggers, like other dogs, people, sounds or even the car ride to get to class. It is also challenging for people to focus and learn the training as they attempt to simultaneously manage their dog’s behavior. Online training allows you to use your living room as a classroom and then weave your newly learned skills into your individual routine and environment.
What if I have questions?
If you have questions about the weekly training exercises you can submit questions for Office Hours, which is held every Wednesday afternoon at 12pm PST. If you have questions but are not able to attend the live Office Hours discussion you can still submit your question(s), and receive the replay.
How long will it take to make progress in training?
Behavioral training is a process. These classes are designed to lower stress and arousal that may fuel anxious, reactive or hyperactive behavior – but this is more like using a dimmer to lower the intensity of light in a room, than flipping a switch. Moderate to severe behavior challenges will require a commitment to training. It’s ideal to work through the classes as a comprehensive program: start with Mat Work and continue to Heel Work, Recall and Send Away. In this process your dog will learn functional skills that build on themselves and you will learn the most effective way to implement the training and optimize results. Training timelines will also be influenced by your dog’s age, your commitment to following the protocol and the intensity of your dog’s behavior issues.
What is Mat Work?
Mat Work establishes calming exercises or relaxation exercises in a low stress, low distraction environment. Once established the training mat becomes a safety cue that promotes a calm, focused connection between you and your dog. Practical applications of Mat Work exercises include: teaching dogs to be calmer with guests, promoting calm behavior with other resident animals, reducing sensitivity to outside sounds or activities, helping dogs feel more relaxed at the vet or when traveling, helping dogs work through hyperactivity like jumping and biting.
What is Heel Work?
Heel Work class focuses on teaching your dog to station at your side. Once a foundation in Heel Work is established, you can do this in situations where your dog might otherwise be nervous, reactive or hyperactive in the home or on walks. This is a great calming strategy. This does not mean your dog needs to remain in heel position for the duration of a walk. In fact, dogs should spend the majority of time on walks sniffing and exploring good smells. This exercise is meant to promote a calm connection with your dog when triggers are present, building on the calming exercises established in Mat Work.
What is Recall?
Recall is another word for teaching dogs to “come” when called. This class looks at how to establish a rock solid recall, and then how to use this functional skill to call dogs away from barking at the window or barking or running the fence line. Mat Work and Heel Work are prerequisites to this class.
What training tools do I need?
If you want to do something right, you need the right tools. Go to the “Shop” button found in the main navigation that has a list of products that will help you to optimize your training. The key items are training food, training mat, front clip harness, training pouch and six foot leash. There are also recommended exercise pens, baby gates, water bowls, and chewies if you are raising a puppy.