Frequently Asked QuestionsGot questions? I've got answers!
What do your qualifications and certifications mean?
Dog training is an unregulated industry here in NZ. That means anyone can choose to call themselves a dog trainer, and provide training services, regardless of whether they have the knowledge and expertise to do so safely. My qualifications and certifications mean that you are dealing with a professional who takes her education seriously and has trained, and been assessed, to be able to provide the service of dog training. I am also a member of a number of globally recognised training associations so I can ensure that my knowledge is kept current and in line with worldwide accepted best practices and standards.
It seems expensive, what am I getting for my money?
For your investment you get my education, my experience and my time. ‘Time’ includes the actual time I am with you or training your dog, time planning our training sessions, time writing up your initial consult report and subsequent training sessions – and whatever travel time it takes me to reach you. Although sessions are charged by the hour for simplicity, the fee covers far more than ‘just’ our session time together.
Do you offer a guarantee?
Although I cannot guarantee your dog’s future behaviour, and it is considered unethical to do so, (how can you guarantee what another living being will or won’t do?) I do guarantee that you will be working with a professional, ethical trainer who is committed to helping you reach your training goals using the most up-to-date, kind, fair and effective methods that are scientifically proven to get results, without the use of pain or fear. I can also guarantee that training will be a fun, positive experience for both you and your dog.
What does ‘positive reinforcement training’ mean?
Cutting the jargon, it means that I use reward-based training methods rather than force or coercion to train your dog. The methods are the same as those used with exotic animals in zoos all over the world when training behaviours for stress-free husbandry, enrichment activities and displays. In all my training, I follow the principles of LIMA – Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive; meaning that I will not use a potentially aversive technique if there is a kinder one available. It is extremely rare to find a situation where aversive methods are the ONLY way to change behaviour.
If you choose to train with me, we will use food, toys and real life rewards, along with good management strategies to get the results you want. Please see https://iaabc.org/about/LIMA for more information on LIMA.
Do you do clicker training?
Yes. Clicker training, otherwise known as marker training, is the best way to communicate with your dog and teach new skills.
How early can I start training my puppy?
You can start training your puppy as soon as you bring them home, it’s never too early to start. In fact, good breeders start training as soon as puppies have opened their ears and eyes!
My dog is a senior. Can he still be trained?
Certainly! Although, just like older people, sometimes it can take a little bit longer for the lessons to really stick, older dogs often love to learn new things and training is excellent for keeping them young at heart and engaged with life.
Do I need to buy fancy equipment for training?
Not really. Many people find a bait bag useful but clothes with adequate pockets will certainly suffice. A soft 6ft lead is preferable to a chain lead as it is kind to your hands and the extra length makes training easier. Sometimes a specific piece of equipment will be recommended, for example, if you have a large dog that you are unable to hold safely or if your dog lunges unpredictably.
How long will it take to train my dog?
The training time required depends on your current needs and outcome goals. Basic manners training can be done quite quickly, especially if I train your dog for you, but behavioural problems can be both complex and long standing. These may take many sessions of work.
If I select the Day Training Option, will I still have to work with my dog?
Yes. Although I ‘install’ the behaviours you require and show you how to ask your dog to do them, you will still need to put a bit of effort in to maintaining them and make sure you know how to work with your dog in different situations.
How much do you charge?
For puppy and pet training done “in the field” or at your house, I do an initial consult, which usually lasts about an hour and a half, and costs $150. After that first session, lessons cost $100/hour. Those prices also include a written training plan, training notes on the exercises we practiced, and my recommendations from each session.
A 10% discount is available for clients who book 3 or more puppy or pet training sessions at one time.
For a pre-purchase consultation (no dog present), I charge $60. These usually take about an hour. Puppy pre-consults also include a Puppy Primer Pack via email.
For sports or continuing education lessons (at my location), I charge $40 per lesson, and lessons usually run 30-45 minutes each. These include a brief email summary of exercises we covered.
What type of payments do you accept?
I accept cash, direct bank transfer and PayPal.
What if I have a question not answered here?
Please feel free to contact me for further information.