Frequently Asked Questions

How to start a training program?

Should my dog start in group or private training?

The dog must be able to focus on the handler and take food in the presence of new dogs and new people in order to attend group classes. If the dog is reactive, excessively barky, fearful, or aggressive around dogs or people, they are not a good candidate for group classes and should start their training program in private training.


If the dog is a candidate for either option, it is up to the handler to determine if group or private would be more appropriate for their situation. Group classes are on a set schedule and use a syllabus that covers basic obedience and general manners. Private sessions are catered to the individual client and are able to be scheduled at a variety of times in a variety of locations.


I got a new puppy, where do I start!?

Check out the Puppy Culture Program! Click here to shop. All new puppy owners should watch the Puppy Culture series. Kelsey recommends watching the videos before bringing home a new puppy, but the material is relevant for all puppies up to 6 months old. This program works very well in conjunction with the Pawsitively Trained program, and can be implemented before, during, or after training classes. 


When can my puppy start classes? Should I wait until they are vaccinated before starting classes?

It is highly recommended to start puppies in puppy classes as early as possible. Kelsey prefers the puppies to start the Pre-K level group class between 8-12 weeks, but they can attend the Pre-K level up to 16 weeks of age. When enrolling a puppy online, enroll in as many of the 5 weeks as you can before the dog reaches 16 weeks old. You will receive all of the information for the entire 5 week group course by completing the online course, included in the group course purchase price.


Even if the puppy is not finished with vaccinations, as long as they have had their first set of shots, they can come to classes in the Studio. Because the Studio is a controlled environment with small classes, the disease risk is very low. However, puppies that are not properly socialized before 12 weeks of age are significantly more likely to develop behavior issues as they mature. 


Starting classes early is always recommended, but puppies can also start with In Home Private Sessions at any age, if you prefer.

Requirements for training?

What vaccinations are required for training?

Puppies should have their first set of vaccinations prior to the start date of group classes to give them some immunological protection. At 16 weeks of age, puppies should receive their final DHPP vaccine, and by 6 months of age, they should receive their Rabies vaccine. Adult dogs (over 6 months) are required to be current on vaccines or present titer results excusing the dog from receiving the DHPP or Rabies vaccine. It is required that all clients update their vaccination information on their online account profile.


Is my dog too old to start training?

No dog is too old to be trained. The earlier the dog starts a training program, the better, but any age is still acceptable. The only class with age restrictions is the Puppy Pre-K class (maximum age of 16 weeks). The other group classes have age suggestions, and private training is available for any dogs.


What should I bring to classes?

Please bring a collared and leased dog to class. Retractable leashes, prong collars, choke chains, and/or E-collars (shock collars) are not appropriate for class. Instead, please bring the dog on a 4-6ft leash and standard buckle collar. Body harnesses and/or head halters (Gentle Leader) are preferred. Also, please bring many pea sized, high value treats to class. Treat pouches are recommended, but a sandwich or quart sized ziplock full of treats will also work. Additionally, bringing a high value chewie, like a bully stick or stuffed Kong, will help keep dogs busy during the lecture portion of class.


Can I bring other family members/children to training?

Yes! I highly recommend bringing all of the adults who work with the dog regularly to the training sessions. This allows for everyone to receive the information and be on a the same page when working with the dog. It is up to the parents discretion as to whether or not bringing the kids to class will be beneficial. The hour class session is about 70% lecture and 30% hands on practice. Adults should always do most of the hands on training while the dog is learning, then the children can practice with the dog for a few minutes per exercise. Some parents feel that the kids may be a distraction for them and/or the dog, others prefer that the children are involved in the sessions. Who comes to class is up to the preferences of the client.


Location?

Where are classes held?

Group classes will be held at the Pawsitively Trained Studio (20345 SW Pacific HWY #106, Sherwood, OR 97140). The studio is in between Progressive Fitness and Paws for Elegance. On occasion, group classes will be held in new locations, but owners will always receive notice via text or email prior to class time in these scenarios. Private sessions may be held in the Studio or in the client's home, depending on the type of private session purchased.

Scheduling?

How do I schedule classes?

To schedule group classes: create an account on the site, find the appropriate class level, enroll in 5 consecutive weeks of class through the group class schedule accessed through the online account. Make sure the schedule tab under the account page reflects all 5 weeks of class. Also, make sure that all 5 weeks are held at the same time/day of the week. If the schedule is full, the system will not allow more enrollments. Email [email protected] for more information or help enrolling.


To schedule private sessions or training walks: create an account on the site, then email [email protected] with weekday availability to see when the next appointment is available. Private training is held in home or in studio, depending on your location.


Typically, it takes at least 4-6 weeks to get onto the training schedule, so set up your training program ASAP!


When do group classes start?

Since group classes are on a rotating schedule, there is no Week #1. Group classes can be started anytime there is availability. Once started, be sure to enroll in 5 consecutive weeks to receive all 5 topics.


Topics always are held in the same order: Positions, Out & About, Impulse Control, Come & Calm, Social Skills


If your first session lands on Impulse Control, for example, then Impulse would be Week #1 and Out & About would be Week #5.


What if I can't make it to a class or private session?

For group classes, it is important to attend all 5 classes in a row. Always notify Kelsey via text or email if you are unable to make it to a scheduled class session. Refer to the Review Material available through the Additional Materials link in your receipt email, to view the topics and information covered in each group lecture. Online courses are available for the Pre-K and Primary group classes, and thoroughly cover the class lectures: utilize these as makeup sessions for those courses. If Kelsey needs to cancel a class for any reason, you will be rescheduled to another time.


For Private Sessions, please notify Kelsey via text or email if the session needs to be cancelled. Keep in mind that the schedule fills up about 4-6 weeks in advance, so it may take time to reschedule a session.


Can I attend group classes on different days of the week if it's the same class level?

Unfortunately, the topic schedules are different in the different class offerings throughout the week. The best way to receive the 5 topics is to take the classes at the same time and weekday for 5 consecutive weeks.


How often should I book private training?

Most clients prefer to space sessions once every two-three weeks. This provides enough time in between sessions to practice but still keeps up with a consistent schedule. Since every situation is different, weekly sessions or monthly sessions may be more appropriate. The flexibility of private training allows for many different options to best fit the needs of each client.


How long will it take to train my dog?

It depends! It depends on the training goals for the dog. It depends on the training foundation the dog starts out with. It depends on how often the training exercises are practiced in between sessions. Etc. For dogs that are appropriate for group classes, Kelsey recommends starting in Puppy Pre-K and continuing through the 300 level courses - this would take around 6 months to a year to complete.


How do I access the online courses?

Check out the Online Training page to view online course options. If you have purchased the Primary School 101 or the Puppy Pre-K group classes at the studio, you have free included access to the corresponding online course. Contact us for the coupon code to start the online course for free. To enroll in and purchase the online courses, you will need to click the link for the courses and create an account login. This login is through a separate portal than your in person training program, it will not be connected automatically.

Training Methods?

Do you use prong collars, chains, or shock collars for training?

No. These tools are not needed to create behavior change and have a successful training program. Because these tools are not necessary, Kelsey feels that it would be unethical to promote the use of these products.


Do you use clickers for training?

Clickers are allowed and even encouraged, though Kelsey does not typically use a clicker in training sessions. Kelsey uses a verbal marker ("yes") instead of a click, so the clicker training method is the same, but the clicker itself is not needed in class.


What style of training do you do?

Kelsey is a positive, rewards-based, science-based trainer. This means that positive reinforcement (typically with food reinforcers) is always the preferred method when teaching any type of animals new behaviors. Though occasionally there are negative consequences, like withholding good things, adding punishment is avoided. The main focus for positive trainers is teaching the animals how to make good choices, as opposed to being afraid of making mistakes.


My dog does (_____________), is that something you work on?

Kelsey has worked with hundreds of dogs and a plethora of behavior challenges over the years. Dogs that are fearful, reactive, aggressive, anxious, over excited, hard to control, etc. are all welcome to sign up for training. Kelsey highly recommends having a thorough vet check before starting a training program to rule out any potential health factors. Things like allergies, intestinal issues, endocrine issues, pain issues, etc. can all effect behavior and should addressed prior to starting a training program.

Please contact Kelsey with any questions, comments, or concerns! Congratulations on helping your pup become Pawsitively Trained!