Frequently Asked Questions
What type of training do you provide?
We teach and practice positive reinforcement training methods using a clicker device (i.e. a bridge marker) and food rewards (i.e. a primary reinforcer) in addition to reward removal for undesirable behavior (i.e. negative punishment). We are committed to humane, science-based training methods.
Our approach is collaborative (training works best when we are able to work together) and directive (meaning we provide you with the communication tools needed to help you reach your training goals outside of sessions.
What makes you qualified to work with my dog?
Our trainers are graduates and certified training partners (KPA CTP) of the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA)for Animal Training and Behavior at the Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois, part of the University of Illinois in Chicago, and have completed rigorous education and testing in animal behavior modification. In conjunction with the strict legal and ethical behavioral protocol and continuing education requirements of the KPA certification board, we are committed to staying up-to-on new developments and research in animal behavior.
If you aren’t sure if our expertise fits your needs, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss it with you.
Why choose a Karen Pyror Certifeied Trainer?
Isn't dog behavior related to "pack leadership" or dominance?
Traditional dog trainers and self-proclaimed “dog experts” are abundant among us, justifying their punishing practices with pseudo-scientific explanations about pack leadership and dominance, a theory based solely on studies performed on a pack of wolves in the 1940s. Fact is, domesticated dogs and wolves are separated by thousands of years of evolution, and that study has since been renounced by the very scientists who conducted it.
Like us, dogs are resilient creatures. They may face very painful feelings of anxiety, frustration or anger, often times a result of communication barriers and being subjected to punishment-based training methods. I feel privileged and determined to help dogs and their people move beyond such communication barriers using humane training methods based on up-to-date research.
Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement: The Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior modification of Animals.
Isn’t dog training for difficult, aggressive or fragile dogs or those that have come from horrible backgrounds?
Dogs of all ages, backgrounds and personalities can benefit greatly from positive reinforcement training. In addition to modifying dog behavior, my science-based communication techniques can help you deepen your relationship with your dog.
I've had dogs all my life. Why should I seek out professional training?
Professional dog training is fairly new, and for some the idea of enlisting help for behavioral concerns may carry a certain stigma. Perhaps you pride yourself on being able to train your dog on your own. However, living with even the most minor behavioral problems or pretending they do not exist just prolongs the freedom that comes with conquering them. Whether you are experienced or new to owning a dog, our goal is to give you the communication tools and solutions needed to achieve your training goals.
What's the advantage of small group classes?
Often times traditional group dog training classes can be overly distracting, overcrowded and stressful for you and your dog. Our small class sizes - of just 3-4 dog/owner teams, enables your dog to learn and practice manners with controlled distractions, while ensuring you receive personalized attention to help reach your training goals.
Do you work with agressive dogs?
Dogs that display signs of aggression, fear, anxiety, or those with a bite history will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Our training methods can be highly effective in calming aggression and giving a fearful dog confidence. When needed, we collaborate with and refer to veterinary and veterinary behavior professionals to help dogs overcome specific behavioral challenges.
Why do you refuse to work with bark, prong, shock and choke collars?
These types of collars are marketed to unsuspecting dog owners as a “quick fix” for behavioral issues and a fast way to "train" and control your dog. Fact is, these punishing methods only suppress behavior, they do not eliminate it, and they can have very serious side effects (e.g. injury, depression, fear, anxiety).
Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement: The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modifications for Animals.
Shouldn't my dog be trained in my home, where the behaviors occur?
In most cases, we encourage owners to attend group training sessions with their dogs. Our small class sizes, of just 3-4 dog/owner teams ensures more focus on your individual training goals, while allowing your dog to practice and learn with controlled distractions of other dog/owner teams. Between sessions, teams are provided with behavioral protocols to practice training at home.
While a group class is best for puppy socialization and for learning with controlled distractions, private training may be a more appropriate option for dogs with specific behavioral problems or for families who have unique scheduling or physical limitations that make attending classes difficult. When necessary, private sessions can be conducted in your home, or at our Waukesha location. We collaborate with veterinarians and veterinary behaviorists, and when needed, refer clients to them to diagnose and treat certain canine behavioral problems.
How should I prepare for group classes?
Prior to your first training session you will be given specific instruction on feeding and any preparations or supplies needed for class.
Who should attend training sessions? Who should practice with our family dog?
Together with your dog, we can work with family members individually and together. However, if possible, we welcome the entire family, adults and children, be a part of training sessions. Relationship growth and training goals with your family pet are best met when everyone in the household are working collectively to improve it.