Dog Training FAQs
Our Dog Training FAQs page featuring the most common questions we are asked
Why choose Lionheart K9?
Linda has been training dogs for the better part of 40 years, of which over thirty 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 “Character Change Through Obedience” workshops, while still creating 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.
Lionheart K9’s dog boarding and training school is fully licensed and insured which 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 considerable experience in 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 come out and meet us.
Do you guarantee your dog training?
Lionheart K9 guarantees that your dog has an understanding of the skills he has been taught, and can demonstrate those skills. We guarantee extensive support and follow-up if you continue to have problems, through email, video conferencing or additional private one-on-one lessons. We consistently see remarkable improvement in the dogs we train because our approach to training is as a team effort between you, your dog and us. Our clients make deliberate decisions about their dogs’ care and training. They do so with the understanding that their dedication to a resolution is the key element to a successful outcome. Our goal is to create an improved relationship with your pet that doesn’t end after your dog leaves our care.
Why don’t you travel to people’s homes to train their dogs?
Due to our obligations to our private and residency boarding and training clients, this service is not currently available. Although people are inclined to believe that the location the training is conducted in 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 have always been a mainstay of our dog training programs since we started our very first one, back in 1979. Unfortunately, as time has marched on, 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 crop up 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 have due to family or work obligations. After 28 years, enrollment began to dwindle and we limited offering group classes in 2007 to only a few times a year. Lionheart K9 offers group classes 4 times a year for students who wish to participate in training facilitated by an instructor to help foster a positive relationship with their dog
What is Private Training?
Private training is an excellent alternative if you wish to be a part of the training process and learn how to train your dog yourself. It is an appropriate choice if you are experiencing problem behaviors like aggression. Private training is also an excellent choice if you have the availability to put in the time. Having to create the time to put in the work can be difficult, but the pride you feel having shared your experience in a productive, beneficial way will be incredible.
Individual training offers many benefits; one-on-one instruction with a professional trainer who 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 in a reasonable time-frame. Lionheart K9’s private training programs teach the basic skills of walking on leash without pulling, to sit, lie down and stand on command, to come when called, to retreat to a location and remain there until released, to keep feet on the floor, mouths closed, and to leave things ‘alone’ on command, plus many other useful training skills. 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!
Do you work with children?
Unfortunately, we do not work with minors due to insurance/safety reasons. As a parent, I played an active, aggressive role in my son’s education, so I made it a point to constantly monitor his school work and activity. As a result of my own parenting experience and observations throughout the years, I see it as far more beneficial for children to learn from their parents. They tend to take the lesson more seriously and parents can attach consequences to their success or failure that we as instructors cannot. 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?
Boarding and training may be an option if you are busy with travel and don’t have the time to train your own dog. Being busy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the pleasant company of a well-trained dog. Boarding and training programs are a natural choice if you are too busy with work, travel or family obligations to provide the consistent reinforcement needed to train your dog. It is also a natural choice if you own a dog who may be engaging in behaviors that you find difficult to control or difficult to live with. Residency boarding and training is an excellent choice if you wish to have a well-trained dog but are either uncomfortable with or not available to do the training yourself. One of the biggest benefits to our boarding and training programs is that your dog lives in a home instead of a kennel, where he is is exposed every day, all day, to life in a real home, just like yours. This enables us to advance your dog’s training at an accelerated pace. Having your dog trained through any of our boarding and training programs involves working around distractions including other animals besides dogs, people, and working through many of the same types of distractions he would experience in his own home.
Will my dog ‘forget’ me? Won’t he only listen to you?
Of course not! Have you forgotten your first love? Dogs don’t either. Dogs have a remarkable capacity for remembering “their” people as a result of their amazing sense of smell and how it influences memory. Besides, our residency boarding and training programs include private lessons with you to assure a smooth transition from our training to you. We provide periodic updates while your dog is in training via email and often upload video clips of your dogs’ work to our FaceBook page or YouTube channel. This enables you to see your dogs’ progress, and actually helps demonstrate how to handle him successfully, without the emotional stress of having to ‘do the heavy lifting’ yourself.
Lionheart K9 encourages active participation from you throughout the training, and extends availability for additional visits once your dog is returned to you. This enables you to understand how to maintain your dogs’ training after the residency has been completed.
What does my dogs’ day look like if he comes for boarding school or boot camp?
Our day starts early and ends late. The day starts before 6 am and ends sometime after 10 pm! We provide multiple training sessions per day here at our training facility in Finksburg. Since the dogs live in the house with us, they get plenty of opportunities to learn how to behave around our cats, many other dogs, teenagers and all of the things a busy household has to offer. Every dog enrolled in our boarding and training school is given the opportunity to stretch their legs with other social dogs in daily supervised play groups while learning how to come when called, to walk politely on and off leash and to sit, down and stay. We practice recalls and basic skills with each dog as they play to keep training engaging and fun!
What can I expect my dog to know at the end of training?
Your dog will have been introduced to several basic obedience commands, like Heel, Sit, Down, and to come when called, as well as other cues designed to help control mouthing, jumping and other annoying behavior. The duration of the residency training determines how fluently your dog performs these exercises for you. Your continual daily practice once your dog goes home will help him develop lasting memory. Lionheart K9’s residency training programs vary in length from 14 days to 3 months and can be customized to address specific behaviors or skills. The less time your dog spends in training, the more practice he will need afterwards. The more time your dog spends in training, the more refined his skills will be. As with any learned task, what you don’t use, you lose, and it is the same with dogs. Persistent practice of the things your dog has learned on a daily basis will help keep him sharp!
I am going on vacation soon, can I have my dog trained while I am gone?
Depending on the age of the dog and your training goals, quite a bit can be accomplished in a short training program. An evaluation would need to be conducted to see which program would meet your training goals. Our 14 day Dog Training Camp can be looked at as a place to send your dog where they will get 24/7 supervision in order to reinforce training they may already have, or as a “Boot Camp” to address basic manners training . It is a very popular program for young, untrained dogs and for dogs who need a training tune-up. It is not designed as a program for serious behavior problems like aggression or anxiety. An evaluation is the best determination of what program is the most suitable for your dog.
Do you use treats?
Yes, we do use food. We also use anything that has value to the dog, like toys or games. We tend to fade the use of food as a motivator 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 satisfies their goals and expectations.
The intelligent use of reinforcement to motivate willing cooperation creates thoughtful, well-trained problem solvers who 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 used them 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, we employ a very low-level 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 hunting dogs, as well as many other dog sports. Lionheart K9 demonstrates their application at every evaluation we conduct so you can make an informed decision about their use. We can’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 positive environment. 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 our teaching process, 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 70 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 apt to enjoy maintaining your dogs’ training after he leaves our care when you understand how each tool is effectively used.
How much does it cost?
Cost will be determined by either an in-person evaluation or a phone consult. The variety of services we offer reflect our ability to provide you with the greatet value for your dollar, not the cheapest price. Our prices are competitive for our area, for services provided, and for the extraordinary degree of knowledge and skill we are internationally recognized for. Our prices are also subject to change due to additional operational costs and other expenses. Although we are certainly not the cheapest, we are proud to be one of the best, and one of the oldest contiguously operated dog training operations in the Mid Atlantic region.
We accept cash and all major credit cards.
Lionheart K9 Dog Training FAQs
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