Dog Training FAQs
Our Dog Training FAQs page tells the reader what we do, and what we don’t do.
Why choose Lionheart K9?
Linda has been training dogs for the better part of 50 years, of which over 40 have been professionally. She has been involved with dogs in some way since 1972, either showing, trialing, breeding, grooming or training with some of the top pros in their respective fields.
Linda is internationally recognized as an industry icon and mentor, and is frequently sought by new trainers as well as seasoned pros for her extensive knowledge on dogs, their care, behavior and training. Linda conducts well-attended dog training seminars nationwide on training through her “Puppy Primer” and “Measurable Standards Tour” dog training seminars and workshops with her colleague and friend Dave Cochran of Show Me YOUR Dog in Baltimore, while still taking time to research and investigate new findings in animal cognition and behavior.
Her professional experience includes over 17 years of corporate staff training for the country’s largest retail chain of photofinishing stores and the nation’s largest medical insurance provider, as a civilian contractor for the U.S. Government, before retiring to train dogs full time when her son was born.
Lionheart K9’s dog obedience training school is fully licensed through Carroll County Animal Control and insured through the Business Insurers of the Carolinas. These two basic tenets of professional conduct should be one of the first questions that is asked to anyone you might be thinking of caring for your pet. The dogs we accept for training are kept in our home, not a kennel, and we only keep a small number of dogs at one time. This, in combination with our encyclopedic knowledge of K9 health, nutrition and care assures individualized, professional attention! We provide concierge veterinary care to monitor the health of our dogs while they board with us. Each dog gets plenty of exercise daily, rain or shine, and resides in an enriched environment instead of a noisy, dirty, stressful kennel where they could be exposed to contagious pathogens, or are largely left to entertain themselves, day in and day out.
ALL of our programs include support to assure your success. We understand your concerns about how your dog is kept and how he will be trained, so we invite you to contact us and schedule an appointment to meet us.
We operate lawfully and responsibly. We are insured through the Business Insurers of the Carolinas and licensed annually through Carroll County Animal Control.
Do you guarantee your dog training?
Lionheart K9 guarantees that the training we provide yields results, but we cannot guarantee how you handle your dog after it leaves our care. If you do not make an effort to maintain the training, we have no way of assuring that the training will “stick”, or that the behaviors we worked so hard to control will not re-emerge. We guarantee extensive support and follow-up if you continue to have problems, through email, video conferencing or additional private one-on-one lessons. Our approach to training is as a team effort between you, your dog and us. We inform owners from the very beginning what their role in their dogs’ improvement will entail. We do not deal in generalities nor false promises, and our job is to help owners understand that training a dog isn’t like fixing a car. It’s more like tending a garden. We supply owners with all of the tools they need to be successful, but it is up to them to use them correctly. We supply unprecedented continual support for as long as you need, but if you make no effort to maintain the training once your dog leaves our care, that is not a failure of training, that is a failure of initiative.
Why don’t you travel to people’s homes to train their dogs?
Due to our obligations to our private and dog obedience boot camp clients, this service is not available outside of Carroll County and several other surrounding locations. Where you live determines whether we see you at your location or ours. Although people are inclined to believe the location where the training is conducted is important, it is our belief that quality training conducted in any environment should be equally effective anywhere.
We have crafted training programs that focus on owners learning how to handle their dogs effectively and without conflict in any environment, from the front door while greeting guests, the little downtown coffee shop that allows dogs, past the nasty neighborhood dogs screaming insults from behind their fences. Where the behaviors are introduced is unimportant, where they are practiced, is.
Why don’t you offer Group Classes?
Group classes had always been a mainstay of our dog training programs since we started our very first one, back in 1979. Unfortunately, as time has passed, the scheduling demands of our busy clients have made it difficult to coordinate a time that meets the needs of our students and the limitations of our own available time. Group classes may offer a less expensive alternative to training, but over the years and through the trends, we started to see some issues that were no longer being served in a group class environment.
Much like private training, group classes require a commitment from each owner to put forth the effort to create the time, and the will, to actually practice the training lessons daily. People are frequently well-intended, but when it came to do the work in between classes, some folks realize that manufacturing the time was in direct competition with what little free time they had available, due to family or work obligations. As enrollment began to dwindle, we limited offering group classes in 2007 to only a few times a year, offered as tune ups for private training graduates, or folks looking to compete with their dogs in titling events.
What is private dog training?
Private dog training is always our first suggestion. I believe owners should be a part of the training process and learn how to train their dogs themselves. Private dog training means owners have to find the time to put in the work, and that can be difficult, but the pride and sense of accomplishment that owners feel having made the effort in a productive, beneficial way is incredible.
Individual training offers many benefits; one-on-one instruction with a professional dog trainer that teaches you how to handle your dog effectively and safely. We demonstrate techniques for training your dog, share problem-solving strategies and demonstrate how to apply these skills appropriately, effectively, and humanely. We guide you as you practice under our supervision and help you grow confident at applying each training skill correctly.
Private instruction is designed to teach you how to train your own dog and create effective strategies for controlling problem behaviors regardless of distractions. You will need to practice the skills you have been taught between lessons and again, we guide you through the process to help you be successful, with access to our online archive and a means to stay in touch in between lessons.
Do you work with children?
Unfortunately, we do not work with minors due to insurance/safety reasons. Dog training is not a casual endeavor and it’s not a video game. It requires appropriate management, thoughtful planning and achievable, measurable goals. We will not work with multiple handlers during the same training program for the same reason. If it is important for multiple adult handlers to learn how to handle the same dog, those lessons can be scheduled after the training program is complete, at our private, per-lesson charge.
What if I don’t have the ‘time’ to train my dog?
Our dog obedience boot camp may be an option if you are busy with travel and don’t have the time to train your own dog. Residency dog obedience boot camps are an option if you are either uncomfortable with, or not available, to do the training yourself. You will still be required to attend private training sessions, to assure consistency in handling and that the transition is a smooth one. The biggest benefits to our boarding and training boot camps is that your dog is handled consistently throughout the day and is not allowed to practice the behaviors he or she was engaging in at home, while training occurrs. Introducing your dog to training through our dog boot camp programs involves working around distractions including other animals besides dogs, people, and working around many of the same types of problem areas he would experience in his own home.
Will my dog ‘forget’ me? Won’t he only listen to you?
Our dog obedience boot camps include private lessons with you to assure a smooth transition from our training to you. We provide updates while your dog is in training via email and occasionally upload video clips of your dogs’ work to our FaceBook page or YouTube channel. This enables you to see your dogs’ progress, and actually demonstrates how to handle him successfully, without the stress of having to learn a slightly complex and foreign skill at the same time you are trying to teach it to your dog.
Lionheart K9 expects active participation from you, and extends availability for additional private lessons once your dog is returned to you. This enables you to practice how to maintain your dogs’ training after the boot camp portion of the training has been completed.
What can I expect my dog to know at the end of training?
A better question would be what can YOU expect to know after training. Your dog will have been introduced to basic obedience commands, like heel, sit, down, and to come when called, but you will need to learn how to reinforce those commands. The duration of the residency training determines how fluently your dog performs these exercises for their trainer, but it won’t matter if you are not a part of that process. Dog training is only part of the equation. Teaching owners how to be more effective communicators is the real task. Your continual daily practice once your dog goes home will help him develop lasting memory. Lionheart K9’s dog boot camp training programs vary in length from 21 days to 3 months. As with any learned task, what you don’t use, you lose, and it is the same with dogs. Your persistent practice of the things your dog has learned on a daily basis will help keep him trained.
I am going on vacation soon, can I have my dog trained while I am gone?
An evaluation is the best determination of what program is the most suitable for your dog. Our minimum stay is 3 weeks. Our dog training boot camp is a place to send your dog to start basic training. Over the years we have determined that shorter stays accomplish very little, and although dog obedience boot camps offer a great deal, they are not a panacea for serious behavior issues like anxiety or aggressive behavior. Dog training to any level of reliability requires several conditions to be successful and will not happen in a few weeks. We do not board dogs that we do not have a training relationship with, nor will a brief boot camp absolve an owner of their responsibility to their dog.
Do you use treats?
Yes, we do use positive reinforcement. We use anything that has value to the dog, like toys or games. We tend to fade the use of food as a reinforcement pretty early, once the dog grasps a concept, and replace it with a more tangible reward. We employ many scientifically sound principles in our training, but we are not married to one philosophy, nor do we engage in rhetoric or dogma. We train dogs.
We advocate for results-based dog training, in a timely manner and do not engage in the rhetoric of “positive”, “negative”, “punishment based” or “fear”. We are well-versed in the use of all contemporary training philosophies and tools and are able to create a unique experience for our training clients, one that helps them meet their goals and expectations.
The intelligent use of reinforcement to motivate willing cooperation creates thoughtful, well-trained problem solvers that are a pleasure to own. We create positive relationships where none existed and improve those relationships where conflict has taken the place of companionship.
Do you use electronic “shock” collars?
Modern electronic collars have evolved into a unique tool of communication that many people misunderstand. Most clients who have felt the stimulation categorize their sensation as “annoying”. The new technology enables us to create a direct line of communication to the dog in a conflict-free way. Instead of shouting or yanking the leash, we employ barely perceptible stimulation to get and maintain your dogs’ attention. In this way, we actually set your dog up for success instead of punishing him for failure. The modern e-collar’s technology makes it a versatile tool and one that has been successful in the training of the world’s top competitors in field trial events for retrievers and upland bird dogs as well as many other dog sports. We are more than happy to demonstrate their application so you can make an informed decision about their use. We don’t force people to use them. After over 40 years in the trade, we are more than capable of providing training that uses other methodology.
Do you use choke chains?
We use a variety of tools to help facilitate communication between dog and owner. We follow a policy of “the least path of resistance” with all of our training, regardless of tool use. A “choke chain” is simply a tool like any other. It’s principle role is to disable the dogs’ ability to escape or avoid something it doesn’t want to do. In layman’s terms, all this means is the dog can’t back out of it. We don’t yank on dogs or beat them up with collars, but enable them to discover boundaries in a thoughtful way. Eventually, as with any training tool, our goal is to teach the dog right action so we can fade the use of the tool altogether. We have several great videos that show the equipment we use and clearly the dogs are working happily. You can view them on our YouTube Channel.
Through the way we train, you are taught precisely how to get your dog free of tools that simply manage his behavior. We also use prong collars to help you if you are over-matched by the size of your dog. Think of it as power steering. With the appropriate guidance, any tool can be used safely and humanely.
Won’t prong collars and shock collars make my dog aggressive?
We are very familiar with aggressive behavior, whether fear-based, or overtly aggressive resource guarders, fence fighters and biters. It is not the tool that does the harm. It’s how the tool is used. Any tool is simply a means to control a dog in a precise way, so learning can occur. Electronic collars, prong collars and chain training collars have been used for decades as training tools for dogs. For over 80 years and counting, chain training collars are still the only training collar permitted in AKC competitive events.
Electronic collars have been in existence since the early 60’s and have revolutionized modern dog training. The contemporary prong collar has been around since the the late 1800’s and was designed specifically to work with as little pressure as possible. Decades of successful application has only been marred by inappropriate use.
As I stated before, every tool can be used safely and humanely. We demonstrate the tools we use so that you can see their application and make an informed choice about their use and how each may help you achieve your training goals. We have learned that when we demonstrate how we use these tools, we empower you to choose the right tool for you. You are more inclined to enjoy maintaining your dogs’ training after he leaves our care when you understand how each tool is effectively used.
We have proudly offered dog and puppy training throughout the central Maryland area since 1989
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Lionheart K9 Dog Training FAQs
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