Do I really need to obedience train my dog?
      Yes. There are many advantages to training your dog. Through obedience training, you teach your dog the rules of your house, which behaviors are acceptable, and what exactly is expected of him/her. Training provides the leadership your dog craves. You'll find that your relationship is strengthened as your dog learns to trust and respect you. Training also helps solve other problems: many behavioral issues are caused by boredom or because boundaries have not been set. Your family, friends and guests will be happier with you if your dog doesn't display obnoxious behaviors. And finally, if you plan on taking your dog out in public, keep in mind that a lot of businesses will gladly admit a dog that is well-behaved on leash, sticks like glue to its owner's side, and responds instantly to its owners voice. 

When can I start training my dog?
      Positive reinforcement methods of training are very dog-friendly. With these techniques, you may begin working with your puppy as early as 7 weeks. Puppies at this age absorb knowledge quickly and are eager and willing to learn. Lessons at this level should be educational for the owners and fun for all parties involved. Your goal should be to instill a love of learning in your pup that will carry-over to the time when he/she begins basic obedience.

I have an older dog, can he benefit from obedience training?

      Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks! With positive reinforcement, dogs of any age can learn.

Do you allow children to participate in your classes?
      Yes. Children 6 years and older who are accompanied by a parent or guardian may attend the session. The child should be an active participant in the classes. Our philosophy is that everyone in the household should learn how to interact with the dog because one of the keys to training is consistency. If everyone in the household is on the same page with respect to training technique, confusion will be avoided and the dog will learn faster.

Why private in-home lessons? Why not group lessons?

      Unlike group classes where the instructor's attention is split between 8-10 handlers and dogs, with in-home lessons the trainer is totally focused on you, your dog, and your issues. You practice on your dog's turf with the low-level distractions he/she encounters everyday. Our philosophy is that the dog-dog socialization that group classes offer should come after the dog-owner relationship is solidified- not while the two of you are trying to concentrate on learning new techniques. The distractions come later, after the techniques are mastered. Keep in mind that problems that occur at home (chewing, housebreaking, jumping on furniture, biting ) can not be solved in a group setting. Additionally, the entire family needs to be involved to ensure that the training is consistent.  Each family member has questions and insight that all need to share to ensure success.  This simply can not happen in group classes.

What type of treats should I use in training?
      At Gateway Dog Training®, we use Pet Deli Lamb Formula Dog Food Rolls (available at Whole Pets and Tomlinson’s).  The rolls are very cost effective if chopped up into pea-sized pieces, and dogs love the taste.

What kind of training equipment do I need?
      Your dog will need a limited slippage, flat buckle or roll collar. No choke chains or pinch collars. For the leash, a regular four or six foot model made of nylon, cotton web or leather is best for training. No retractable leashes.

      For dogs that are strong pullers we recommend using a front-clip body harness such as the Premier Gentle Leader® Easy Walk® Harness. For dogs that have a habit of lunging at other dogs or people, we recommend a head halter such as the Gentle Leader® or Halti®. A treat bag is helpful.

Will I always have to carry treats around with me?
   No. You'll use treats at first because most dogs like food rewards and will work hard to get them. But there are rewards other than food, like praise, petting and play, and as your dog masters each behavior, treats will be replaced by these other rewards. No matter which type of reward you use however, you must positively reinforce behaviors that you want repeated.


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