This is my area of specialty. Normally, I need one-and-a-half to two hours of your whole family's time (children under 6 excluded, please). I come into your home, evaluate the dog's behaviour and get a feel for the family dynamic. Then, I make suggestions and give assignments for the family to complete for approximately the next two weeks. During that time, I am available for telephone and email consultation on a daily basis if necessary. At the end of the two weeks, we shall communicate via telephone so that I can revise the assignment to reflect the dog and family's progress. Usually one in-home visit is all that is necessary to get the dog and family on the right path to a harmonious resolution to the problems. Common reasons people ask me to do an in-home consultation: housetraining issues, general lack of obedience, hyperactivity, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, separation anxiety, destructiveness, excessive barking, food guarding, pushy or growly behaviour, excessive mouthing (play biting), poor dog/dog relationships in a multi-dog household, etc.
Aggression is a tricky problem to handle and you do need to be wary of asking your average obedience instructor, or even your vet, to truly help you fix the problem. Believe me, most aggression problems can be fixed, and with far less effort than you might think! On the other hand, as an owner, you need a forthright answer on how dangerous the situation actually is or is not. I take aggression issues very seriously and will provide an empathetic service to both you and your dog in an effort to get the best out of the situation. Aggression issues require an in-home visit at the very least. If your dog has bitten someone in any way, shape or form (other than play mouthing) you are in need of professional help. Do not delay getting help.
Puppy or New Dog Preparation
If you are getting a new puppy or adopting an adult dog, I can come in to consult with you and your family to prepare for the changes in your daily routine that will happen so that you can get a great pet out of the situation! Before you get a new dog or pup, please go to the Training Tips page and read Housetraining, Socialization, Crate Training, and Mental Stimulation. These articles will prepare you for what you need to do when your new dog arrives. I would then do an in-home consultation covering the basics of all the articles previously mentioned, plus show you how to teach your dog basic obedience. Professional coaching is a great benefit when it comes to teaching a dog two of the most important things it needs to know--its name, and teaching a dog to come when called (recall). There is no age to early to begin puppy or new-dog training no matter what you might have heard!
Telephone and Email Consultations
While living in Newfoundland I offered free telephone and email consultations, and racked up hundreds of hours speaking to people all over the world. I can normally help a great deal especially through telephone consults. HOWEVER, due to time constraints and the enormous demand for the service, I cannot possibly keep up with the telephone calls and emails. Each free consult that I was doing normally lasted at least one hour! From now on, I will offer the following: if you live in my area, I will offer an in-home consult. If you live out of my area and within the US or Canada, we can schedule a telephone consult. I'm sorry, but I can no longer provide help via email.
Group Obedience Classes
I do not currently offer group classes nor do I expect to do so in the near future. I think group classes are great for teaching and practicing basic obedience. A simple Google search for "positive dog trainer" should get you a couple of results. Please do your research before signing up. Many trainers insist that they teach using positive methods, and when you show up it's a different story. Sometimes you can sit in on part of a class prior to registering for your own, or the trainer will give you references.