How to find a good dog trainer

jamie-with-dogs

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

Whether you want to teach your new puppy basic commands or help a rescue dog become more comfortable in his new home, it pays to do your research before hiring a trainer. With so many options out there –  big box stores,  boot camps, boutique trainers – trying to make that decision can make your head spin!  Here are some tips to help make the process easier:

Evaluate. What kind of dog do you have? A 10 week old Lab puppy will have different needs than a 10 year old rescue Chihuahua.

Start googling. Find trainers or training companies near you and see what they have to offer. Keep in mind that in-home trainers, whether they are independent or affiliated with a company, have specific service areas and if you’re too far away you probably won’t be able to book sessions.

If you’re feeling confused by the different types of training philosophies, such as positive, balanced, clicker, etc., click here for more information.

Check the qualifications. Most reputable dog trainers will have formal education and official certification. If you see CPDT-KA after their name, you know they’ve put in the hours to become a respected professional.

Get reviews. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, start checking the online reviews and social media outlets; you should also ask your friends for their recommendations or for references from the trainer.

Trust your gut. If you’ve done all of your homework and you just don’t like the trainer after you’ve met them, move on. If your dog shows unusual signs of stress or fear, take his word for it and find a new trainer.

Enjoy the process! Learning with your pooch is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your best pal.

Level up your dog training skills at FetchFind Academy

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

We’re halfway through Essential Training Skills here at FetchFind Academy, and this was the scene in our classroom the other day:

Essentials 1
I mean, honestly – how can you not love a class staffed by Golden Retrievers?

Essentials is where we really start to train dog trainers – everything they learned in Behavior Fundamentals Online is taken apart, examined minutely, expanded upon, and put into hands-on practice. This is where all of that theory starts to make sense in the real world, and where our students start to become professional dog trainers.

After two more months of practice and projects, our Essentials students will move on to Advanced Training Skills. This is where they will do a deep dive into working with people as well as animals, via a wide range of internships and simulated situations. At the end of four months, they’ll be ready to start their careers as highly sought-after professional dog trainers. We have FetchFind Academy graduates in the top dog training companies, social welfare/therapy/humane education organizations, and rescues/shelters in the Chicago area and beyond (including AnimalSense, Paradise 4 Paws, Anything is Pawzible, Canine Therapy Corps, Pet Partners, Soggy Paws, Hawk City K9, Chicago Animal Care and Control, Safe Humane Chicago, The Anti-Cruelty Society, ALIVE Rescue, One Tail at a Time, All Terrain Canine, and Touch Dog Training). It’s almost impossible to overstate how many doors are open for people with top quality professional education and training – you can work for established companies, join a start up, or start your own business.

Advanced Training Skills is also a fantastic stand-alone program for dog trainers who want to level up their skills and pick up CEUs.

No matter where you originally trained, it’s always a sound career investment to keep your skills sharp and up-to-date. (If you’d like to learn more about joining us for Advanced Training Skills in August, please contact Lynda Lobo at lynda@fetchfind.com.)

If you want to become a dog trainer, we recommend starting with Behavior Fundamentals Online – at only $49, it’s a great way to get your paws wet. And if you ever have any questions about how you can get started in any area of the pet industry, just shoot us an email at hello@fetchfind.com – we’re always happy to help!

 

The most important command you can teach your dog

Josh Feeney photography

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

Every day I see a handful of lost dog posts pop up on my various newsfeeds, and one of the things I’ve noticed is how many of those notices will say something like “don’t approach or try to call, he will run away”. Most dogs are going to be skittish and fearful in situations like this, but the lack of a recall command will make getting the dog out of a dangerous situation and back to his home even more difficult than it already is.  

So with that in mind, I’m going to give you the basics of teaching your dog a good solid recall. The premise for a recall is for your dog to choose to come to you over all the seemingly better available options: trash on the ground, kids playing with balls, or a dog across a busy street. Once your dog is able to respond reliably to you, you can reduce the likelihood that he will run off in the first place, and it will make it easier for others to approach and leash your dog if he does escape the yard when you aren’t looking.

The components of recall
  • Your dog becomes cognitively aware of your call.
  • His head turns towards you.
  • He makes eye contact.
  • He takes one step toward you (and another, and another).
  • He gets halfway to you.
  • He is almost there!
  • Your dog arrives and stays with you! Yay!
How to teach the recall
  • Have your dog on long leash.
  • Call your dog (“Fido, come!”).
  • Reward after each component of the recall.  Use praise for components like eye contact.

Each time you call your dog, you will reward him. Remember, you want your dog to choose to come to you. This will set your dog up for success by making running away seem like a much less attractive option, and it will also prevent you from having to use force to make your dog come to you.

If your dog still won’t come to you, try the following ideas. Remember that not every tactic will work for every dog, so you may have to try a few different techniques before you find one that works.

  • Run backwards.
  • Make interesting noises like whistles, handclaps, and high-pitched gibberish.
  • Turn around and walk away.
  • Gently reel them in with your leash.
  • Be more interesting and more fun than the environment. If the distraction level goes up, your effort and treat quality must also go up.
  • Use body language like crouching down, turning sideways, and averting your eyes.
  • Practice “watch me.” “Watch me” commands are like mini-recalls, and will keep your dog from getting distracted by interesting things across the street like squirrels, birds, and other dogs.

For example: Your dog is barking and digging outside. You call your dog to come inside the house, and he does! As hard as it may be to offer a reward for digging or barking, in the current moment, when your dog comes, you must reward for the recall. When your dog crosses the threshold of the door, all is forgiven and treats appear. (Make a mental note to train “quiet” on a future date.) Very important: always keep treats near the door.

Remember the basics
  • Reward: The reward must be extra special for recall.
  • Encourage: Verbally reward your dog many times during each component of the recall.
  • Communication: Give lots of feedback and use your knowledge of canine body language.
  • Always good: Recall should ALWAYS end as something good.
  • Lots of praise: It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it!
  • Leash: Use your leash as training wheels to ensure success and rewards.

Keep the sessions short at first, to avoid frustration on both sides. Keep the initial training components to 5 or 10 minutes at a time, and make sure those rewards are high value and utterly compelling.

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Photo courtesy of Josh Feeney (www.joshfeeneyphotography.com).

Want to learn more about teaching your dog basic behaviors? Subscribe to FetchFind Monthly Pro – only $59/month!

Walking reactive dogs: distraction to the rescue!

beagle

By Beck Rothke, former FetchFind Academy and dog*tec Dog Walking Academy instructor 

When I think about working with reactive dogs, I often think about the use of comic relief for intense moments. Essentially, I know that a door out or away from an intense or possibly intense moment is to find a distraction powerful enough to turn the dog’s attention to something else. It’s the same concept as a moment of comic relief and it serves the same purpose.

As a child of the 80’s, I grew up watching sitcoms. What I loved about sitcoms as a kid was seeing people going through hard and emotional experiences, but at the most critical moments, there would be a bit of humor to offset the drama of the hard stuff. By no means did it minimize the impact of the emotional moment, but it did make the moment a bit easier to digest. Incorporating comic relief in to my everyday interactions with other humans – making jokes when the tension is too high or finding humor in less than humorous situations – lessens the tension of the moment and serves to help us throughout our personal and professional lives. While we still experience the intense emotion of the moment, we do so in a more regulated way, allowing us to keep our true focus where it needs to be. It doesn’t ruin our day. The comedy distracts us and we move on. As dog walkers, we all know how well distractions can work and are familiar with the idea of using them to our advantage!

Let’s take a look at using distraction techniques to avoid or get out of hot moments.

Knowing your dogs – Making use of distractions to relieve a reactive dog from an intense situation relies on a full understanding of two important concepts for the dog: (1) what he is bothered by (or is reactive to) and (2) what he loves or is interested in (if the former isn’t too intense). For instance, when we work with dogs who are reactive towards other dogs, we can work to avoid running into other dogs to a certain extent, but not fully. Knowing a dog’s triggers (both the ones to be worried about and the ones that we can use to our advantage) can help immensely when negative interactions cannot be avoided.

Distraction tools – One reliable “go-to” as a distraction for dogs is treats. Most dogs like them and they are easy to have on hand. But what if the dog isn’t interested in the treats you have or is generally unmotivated by them? Indeed, sometimes the dog’s emotional state may render treats completely uninteresting. Well, it’s not as easy, but knowing the dog’s favorite motivators can help provide the right and appropriate level of distraction. One item I always carry with me is a squeaker from an old toy. I put mine in the side pocket of my treat pouch. It’s easy to access this way by just hitting the side of my pouch to squeak the squeaker. Some dogs are very tuned into the sound of crinkling. For this you can use an empty bag of chips in your pocket. Another good distraction might be simply the sound of your voice. Experiment with different pitches and volumes to see what the dog you are walking is most easily attracted to. Use of verbal praise or cues is quite effective in distracting a dog from tempting stimuli as well.

It’s all about timing – As is true with comic relief, one very important factor in implementing distractions is timing. If you are too early, the dog might be attracted to the distraction, but it might not understand why, and worse, it may become bored with the distraction before you have a chance to make use of it. If you are too late, you may unintentionally reinforce behavior (if it’s operant/ learned) or miss the chance to make a difference (if it’s classical/ emotional). So how do we determine the appropriate timing? Take note of each dog’s trigger zone (i.e. where the scary or concerning stimuli is okay as opposed to not okay) and implement the distraction right before the point that is not ok. Practice makes perfect. Use your eyes and ears to determine the dog’s body language or any vocalizations that tell you the interaction (or stimuli) is not okay. Implement your distraction before the dog shows any signs of distress and you’re sure to be on time!

Walking dogs is exciting and rewarding. You can make it even more rewarding for all involved through purposeful, well-timed distractions to set everyone up for success.

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http://dogtec.org/dogwalkingacademy.php

Add some TTouch to your training toolbox!

Betsy Lane

By Betsy Lane, Founder of PetKiDoCertified Tellington TTouch Practitioner, and FetchFind Academy Instructor.

Tellington Touch (or simply “TTouch”) is a training method that goes far beyond the Sits, Stays, and Downs of basic canine manners classes. In fact, my own dog had lovely manners and a reliable set of basic skills when it became clear to me that something “deeper” was missing. Yep, even the dog who lived with the dog trainer and attended group training classes, agility classes, and weekly private AKC tracking lessons had missed perhaps the most fundamental “trick” of all: feeling calm, confident, and comfortable in her own skin. When a trainer-friend of mine mentioned something called “TTouch,” I was intrigued — and began the two-year journey to become a Certified TTouch Practitioner.

Here are five of the top reasons you might want to add some TTouch skills to your dog-training toolbox:

TTouch helps our dogs stay calm and focused — even in distracting, highly stimulating, unpredictable situations. I’ve seen TTouch help countless dogs make great strides in their ability to cope with everything from competitions (such as dog shows) to life in a shelter (where calm behavior can literally be the difference between adoption and, well, not adoption).

TTouch helps puppies retain their natural curiosity and their sense of the world as a great, fun, happy place to explore. While those of you who currently live with a puppy might wish your furry little buddy were somewhat less curious about the garbage, dirty laundry, and what’s under your prized peony, believe me when I tell you this is infinitely preferable to living with a puppy—or a grown dog—who’s too afraid to leave the house (or ride in the car, be nice to your mother, cooperate with the vet, or come out from under the bed).

TTouch helps dogs replace habits that don’t serve them well with habits that work a whole lot better. For example, we can help dogs learn to stop pulling on the leash or favoring a long-ago-injured limb and walk on a loose leash, in balance. We can also help a dog figure out that the neighbor’s dog isn’t actually worth getting so upset about, after all.

TTouch helps us keep our beloved older dogs engaged and interested in life for as long as possible. It also provides us with new ways of responding to our dogs’ changing needs over their entire lifetime.

TTouch helps us celebrate and connect with our dog as a unique individual. Even dogs from the same litter are individuals, just as we are not our siblings. TTouch helps us discover what makes our dog “one of a kind” in ways we love as well as ways that might frustrate us. Then, it gives us tools to address the challenges in an effective and respectful way that strengthens our sense of connection and partnership with our dogs — no matter what other positive training activities we pursue.

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Photo credit: Karin O’Brien Photography

This post was originally published on the AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior blog.  AnimalSense offers group and private classes throughout the Chicagoland area (and many of their trainers are graduates of FetchFind Academy!)

Troubleshooting during training

down dog
A proper “down.”

By Bill Mayeroff

The first time I tried to publicly teach a dog “down,” I bombed horribly.

It was before I graduated from FetchFind. Class that night was hands-on. Each student was assigned a couple concepts or behaviors to teach to a group of dogs and their owners that had gathered to simulate a group class environment. One of my assigned behaviors was down.

That night, each of us got a chance to teach in front of two groups. One group came at the beginning of class and the second came a bit later. I wasn’t supposed to teach down until the second group, but an owner in the first group asked about it. So I, being the enthusiastic student, jumped in and said “Hey, I can talk about down!” And my teachers called my bluff and gave me the go-ahead. Confidently, I dove into my demo.

Technically, I did pretty much everything right. I got the dog into a sit. I held a treat to their nose. I slowly pulled it down and then out, hoping the dog would follow it to the ground. When that didn’t work, I pulled the treat down and slowly pushed it in toward the dog’s chest, hoping the pup would kind of settle backwards to the ground.

The dog was having none of it. That dog just would not put their belly on the ground. It was a blow to the ego, to be sure, especially since I had been so confident and sure of myself going in.

But it was so much more than that. In fact, that incident taught me what has become one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my short time as a professional trainer:

At some point during a class or training session, everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

You can’t prevent those moments. They’re going to happen when you least expect them. Everything can be going great when you’re teaching and all of a sudden, you have a dog that won’t respond to you or a group of dogs that won’t stop barking or something else entirely.

What matters is how you handle those moments. You can’t let them disrupt you or the flow of your class. You just have to roll with them, keep the class moving and make it work.

If that sounds overly simple, it’s because it is. But the strategy works. I’m living proof. Just a few weeks back, I was teaching down to another class. But this time, it wasn’t a mock class. It was a real, honest-to-goodness class of dogs and their owners.

I was using a big, beautiful pittie mix as my demo dog and I was going through the motions of teaching down. And just as before, the dog wasn’t buying what I was selling. He would get close, but he just wouldn’t put his body on the ground. But instead of getting flustered, I just went with it. I acknowledged that it wasn’t working (as I kept trying to make it work) while still explaining how it should work.

And much to my surprise and delight, the dog eventually responded. That’s right, folks. I got the dog to go down. And the class loved it.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro trainer or a first-time dog owner, at some point during the training process, stuff will go wrong. But as long as you don’t let it frustrate you and are able to troubleshoot on the fly, those little setbacks can easily be overcome.

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Look at these two handsome gents.

After five years as a newspaper reporter in western Illinois and two more as a freelancer in Chicago, Bill Mayeroff‘s life has gone to the dogs in the best way possible. These days, Bill lives in Chicago with his terrier mix, Chester, and works at a small, no-kill animal shelter. He recently graduated from FetchFind Academy and is a Junior Trainer at AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. Bill also blogs about his two favorite things – dogs and beer – at Pints and Pups. 

Basic training, part 4: Watch Me

husky watch me

By Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA

In part three of my Basic Training series, I talked about the command, “Down” and how to use it in everyday life. In part four, I am going to talk about the command, “Watch Me.”

“Watch Me” is one of the first commands I teach my clients. It is one of those commands that I find so easy to incorporate into everyday activities and life. Plus, I love how it helps build trust and a connection between owner and dog. It is a lovely command.

Below are some ways that I recommend using it in your everyday life.

Before meal times I like to ask my dog to sit and wait while I get their food ready. Then I wait for them to make eye contact (watch me) before I release them to enjoy their meal. It teaches them self-control and polite behavior.

On walks when I see another dog or person approaching, I like to work on having my dog pay attention to me instead of greeting every passerby. I will stand to the side of the sidewalk, and ask my dog for a “Watch Me” until the dog/person walks past us. Then I will release my dog and continue on our walk. This prevents any dog-dog interactions and people getting annoyed by my dog wanting their attention. It also makes our walk much more enjoyable because I am not spending the next part of my walk trying to get my dog’s attention again.

Playing fetch, I like to get eye contact before throwing the ball. Once they bring the ball back and drop it, I wait until I receive eye contact and then throw the ball. I do this every time they want me to throw the ball.

Elevators can be very crowded and if you live in a high rise, they can be full of other dogs. When I step in the elevator, I ask my dog to sit and watch me. This keeps their attention on me and helps prevent dog-dog interactions. Once we get to our designated floor, I release my dog and we go on our way.

So now, let’s talk about the steps you should follow to teach your dog “watch me”:

  • Hold a small, smelly treat in your hand.
  • Show it to your dog by bringing it close to his or her nose.
  • Move the treat from your dog’s nose to your nose.
  • Your dog’s eyes will follow the treat.
  • At the moment your dog makes eye contact with you, say “Yes.”
  • Give your dog the treat.
  • Practice this four or five times.
  • When your dog reliably makes eye contact, say “watch me” (or whatever you want to call it) before moving your hand towards your eyes.

Are there any special ways that you use watch me with your dog?

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Erin Schneider 250x300Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.

 

 

Basic training, part 3: Down

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By Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA

In part two of my Basic Training series, I talked about the command, “Sit” and how to use it in everyday life. In part three, I am going to talk about the command “Down.”

Down is a very common command and most people will teach it to their dog right away. But surprisingly, a lot of dogs have a hard time with this one. I will go over how to teach the command to your dog, but first, I want to share some ways you can use down in everyday life.

When guests come to the door. Nothing is more annoying than going to a friend’s or family’s house and having their dog jump all over you as soon as you walk in the door. Most people don’t like having dogs paw all over them, but this is even worse if you are a young child or scared of dogs. Instead of allowing your dog to jump on people, I like to ask them for a down. If they are laying down, they can’t jump. Simple as that.

Eating dinner. Some dogs love to beg and some are very good at it. But not everybody loves Fido’s head in their lap as they are trying to enjoy their meal. Instead of allowing your dog to beg, give them a special place they can go to during meals. This place can be a mat on the floor, a bed in the room, a crate, or anything. Ask them to go to their place, lay down and then give them something to chew on such as a bully stick or a Kong stuffed with their favorite filling. This gives them something to do instead of annoying you and your dinner guests.

Kids are in the room. With two young kids in my house, safety is always a priority. First of all, kids are never allowed unsupervised in a room with a dog. I don’t care how good your kids or your dog are, things can happen and they can happen quickly. I like to set up gates and have my dog to go behind the gate with something yummy to chew on. This allows my kids to be safe and allows my dog to be part of the family, but not be put in a situation that makes them uncomfortable. I ask my dog for a down and he can hang out with no issues.

Car rides. I love taking my dog on car rides, but it is very unsafe for a dog to be walking around the car. It can be a distraction for the driver and if there was an accident, the dog could get thrown from the car. I like to put on a special harness made for cars and ask my dog to lay down. This is also good once you open the car door. Instead of the possibility of them jumping out the door without a leash on, asking them to lay down gives you time to get their leash and harness on.

So now, let’s talk about the steps you should follow to teach “down.” I even include some help when your dog is struggling or a little hesitant.

Start with your dog in a sit position.

Hold a treat in your hand close to your dog’s nose. Very slowly, lower your hand towards the floor, staying close to your dog’s chest, and allowing your dog to lick the treat. As your hand reaches the floor, between your dog’s front paws, slowly move your hand forward. When your dog’s belly touches the ground, praise (“good!”) and reward with the treat.

If your dog is hesitant, slowly progress through the following steps, rewarding each time your dog:

  • Lowers his head
  • Stretches out his leg or paws at the treat
  • Stretches out both legs, and finally
  • Touches his belly to the floor.
  • Repeat each step a few times before moving on to the next. If your dog “pops up,” simply return to a sit position and start again, moving very slowly.
  • Avoid using your hands or the leash to physically pressure your dog into laying down, as this can make your dog uncomfortable with this position and possibly even afraid of your hands.

Next, start with your dog in a sit position, say “down”, and then make the same hand movement (hand close to your dog’s nose, then slowly down towards the floor, between the front paws) but without the treat in your hand. When your dog’s belly hits the floor, praise and reward with the treat.

Repeat four times.

As you practice, gradually stand in a more upright position, and modify your hand signal so your hand starts close to your dog’s nose, then makes a pushing motion (palm down) towards the floor.

Finally, start with your dog in a sit position, say the cue word “down,” and wait to see what happens! If needed, use your hand signal to help your dog get into the down position. Praise and treat!

Practice alternating between a verbal cue and a hand signal until your dog is proficient with both.

Are there any special ways that you use down with your dog?

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Erin Schneider 250x300Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.

 

 

 

 

 

Basic training, part 1: Touch

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By Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA

I have been a trainer for over 7 years and as much as I enjoy a challenge, I still get pleasure out of teaching basic skills to dogs. By far, my all-time favorite skill to teach is called “Touch.”

I will go through the steps below, but first I want to explain ways that you can use Touch. Touch is basically a hand target and is a great way to get your dog’s attention. It can be part of your everyday routine, just like Sit or Down. Below are some of my favorite ways to use Touch:

Use it instead of using a recall word, such as “Come”; use the Touch command to get your dog to come to you. I especially like using this when at a park or in public, because the dog has to come right to my body and I can easily grab them if they are loose.

Use it on walks. When a dog or person is approaching you, instead of allowing your dog to go up and greet every passerby, turn those moments into a training exercise. Step to the side of the sidewalk and ask your dog to touch your hand multiple times. Make it into a game. This will keep your dog distracted long enough to let the dog or human pass by, and then you can continue on your walk.

Use it if your dog puts on the brakes when out for walks. I have many owners tell me that their dog will just stop and refuse to budge while on walks. If this happens, don’t pull your dog, which will only make them want to stay put even more. Use Touch to get them walking again.

Use it to redirect a barker. If you have a dog that is always barking at the door or window, Touch can be a great way to get your dog’s attention away from the distraction and redirect it onto to something more appropriate.

By now you are probably thinking, “I get it, Erin, but how do I teach my dog this fabulous command?” Well, here you go.

Start with your dog in a sit or stand position.

Have several small pieces of treat in one hand.

Hold out your other hand close to your dog’s nose. When your dog touches your hand with her nose (no teeth allowed!), say “yes!” and give one piece of treat. If your dog is unsure what to do, you can get your dog’s interest by rubbing your touch hand with a treat to entice your dog. Repeat several times.

Next, at the same time as your dog touches your hand with her nose, say “touch” and give a piece of treat. Repeat several times.

When your dog is intentionally bumping your hand with her nose, hold out your hand and say “touch” then reward with “yes!” and treat. Practice by moving your hand into different positions and asking for a “touch.”

And there you have it. One of my favorite – and most used – commands!

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Erin Schneider 250x300Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.

 

 

Got the 9-to-5 blues? We have the solution!

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If you’ve taken Behavior Fundamentals Online, you already have a great foundation in canine behavior, communication, breeds, and evolution. If Fundamentals has whetted your appetite for all things dog and you want to learn more – or even ditch the cubicle and change your career – then FetchFind Academy is the logical next step!

FetchFind Academy is an eight month long, in-person training program that will teach you everything you need to learn to become a dog trainer. Our graduates are highly sought after for professional positions throughout the pet industry. The program consists of two, 4-month long sessions – Essential Training Skills and Advanced Training Skills.

Essential Training Skills

This is where we really start digging into topics such as associative learning, canine intelligence and emotion, classical and operant conditioning, anxiety and arousal thresholds, and nuisance behaviors. On top of that, you’ll begin to learn the basics of positive training (that’s where it really gets fun)!

During the four months of Essentials, you’ll have one instructor – the excellent Betsy Lane, founder of PetKiDo (pictured above, bottom row center, with the 2016 Academy class). This single instructor format promotes a sense of intimacy and camaraderie with your fellow students that lasts long after class work is over. This is where you start to build your network; these will always be the peeps who knew you when you were first starting out as a trainer, and it’s a valuable, lifelong bond.

Dates: Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:30 pm, April 18 to August 8

  • Prerequisite:
 Behavior Fundamentals Online and placement exam
  • Program length:
 4 months
 / 
120 hours
  • Time spent:
 50% classroom
, 50% hands on
  • Apply here.

Advanced Training Skills

After you’re done with Essentials, graduates can move on to Advanced Training Skills. (If you’re already a dog trainer and want to further your career and hone your skill set, you can sign up for Advanced after passing a placement exam.) This program is a very hands-on, and includes many simulated and actual situations that face dog trainers today so that you can work through solutions with the guidance of our team of expert instructors and veteran dog trainers. You will learn how to create treatment plans, interact with clients. and identify all types of behavioral issues, including fear, anxiety, and aggression.

Dates: Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:30 pm, August 15 to December 5

  • Prerequisite:
 Essential Training Skills or placement exam
  • Program length:
 4 months
 / 
65 hours
  • Time spent:
 25% classroom
, 75% hands on
  • Apply here.

We hope you’ll join us!  If you have any questions about the program, please contact Lynda Lobo at lynda@fetchfind.com.

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The first step to becoming a dog trainer is signing up for Behavior Fundamentals Online. It’s only $49, and throughout the month of February we’ll donate half the purchase price to Best Friends Animal Society!