September 11, 2012
Rover-Time loves AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior because they help pet owners live peacefully with their dogs. And really, what’s better than that? Their Director of Operations, Andrea Miller, provided some great answers to the several questions I had about this fantastic dog training company.
Group Classes: AnimalSense provides a variety of group classes to rival the number of breeds, ages and temperaments of dogs who take them. From puppy basics and socialization to building confidence in shy dogs, to canine sports like agility and Nose Work – we can help you find the class that best fits you and your dog’s needs. No matter which class you select, you’ll benefit from our limited class size that enables you and your dog to get a great deal of one-on-one attention from our experienced trainers. In fact, most group classes are led by both a Senior and Junior Trainer so that you receive individualized attention throughout your lesson. With over 30 weekly class offerings in 9 training locations throughout Chicagoland, we have a class for everyone. AnimalSense is the area’s fastest growing dog training company!
Private Lessons: If you and your dog thrive on personal attention, AnimalSense’s Private Training packages allow the luxury of training in the comfort of your own home. Work without distractions and address challenges that don’t always present themselves away from home. You and your dog will learn to develop the loving, cooperative relationship you desire at a time that fits into your schedule. Offered seven days a week during daytime and evening hours, our experienced private trainers will work with you one-on-one in your own environment.
Behavior Consultations: AnimalSense can help you to identify serious issues and learn how to avoid potentially dangerous situations with your dog. We can help with aggression, fearfulness, anxiety, resource guarding and conflicts with other pets. Our professional consultation includes an in-home evaluation of your dog(s) by our animal behaviorist, a written detailed explanation of findings, identification of the likely reasons of the behavior’s onset and treatment recommendations. Additional services include a follow up with the dog’s veterinarian and follow up and training sessions with the behaviorist. We have four different packages available to suit your needs.
Free Assessments: Our assessments are an opportunity for you to meet our experienced trainers and get direction on training. We’ll help you decide which type of training is the right fit for you and your dog. We offer free assessments in our Chicago office Monday through Friday.
Baby & Bowser: For most dogs, a new baby means a major life change. But training and preparing for baby’s arrival can prevent parents from having to choose between canine and kid. In our Baby and Bowser class, prospective and new parents learn how human and canine offspring can happily coexist. For years, AnimalSense has worked in conjunction with Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital to educate parents about how to help their dogs adjust to the new family member. This two hour seminar is held at the hospital and taught by a senior AnimalSense trainer and mom. You will learn how to teach even old dogs new behaviors that will make them safer, happier and more like baby’s best friend.
Pre-Pet Consultations: Welcoming a new pet into your home is one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences you will ever have. But sometimes, the fairytale of dog ownership doesn’t match up to reality. Too many animals are re-homed because pet parents don’t have enough knowledge before selecting their new family member.There are many factors to take into consideration before choosing the dog that is best for you and your family. Sometimes that cute face you see at the shelter or during a visit to a breeder may not be the best choice for you. But how do you know what’s in store for you? AnimalSense offers a unique service for all potential pet owners: our Pre-Pet Awareness Consultation.
2.) What are the most common reasons people seek dog training?
People seek dog training with AnimalSense to improve their relationship with their dog and live more peacefully with their dogs. Having a well-trained dog makes life more pleasant!
3.) What are the most important reasons to train a dog?
Training strengthens the bond between a dog and his pet parent. It builds communication, understanding and mutual respect. As you work with your dog, he will be more focused on you and therefore more responsive. In the unfortunate event your dog is ever in a life-threatening situation, obedience training could also save your dog’s life.
4.) What are the differences between a trainer, a behavior consultant or behavior counselor, a behaviorist, and veterinary behaviorist? How do people decide who hire?
A dog trainer uses techniques based on fundamental scientific principles to modify an animal’s behavior for the benefit of both the animal and the owner. Behaviorists are specially trained and skilled in recognizing more serious problems such as aggression, fearfulness, anxiety, resource guarding and conflicts with other pets. Veterinary behaviorists also have a veterinary degree and can therefore prescribe medication. Clients need to do their research and ask lots of questions before hiring someone.
5.) What are the qualifications of a good trainer? What is a certified dog trainer anyway? What do all the letters after a certified trainer’s name mean?
A good dog trainer listens and works well with people. After all, we are actually teaching you about your dog. Dog training is an evolution based on art and science and we strive to make your training practice both productive and enjoyable. With over 75 years of collective training experience, our staff provides the highest level of training services you as a dog owner crave and deserve. Our trainers are proud to be members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), a professional organization of individual trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through education. We regularly attend seminars and conferences to bring you the latest developments in the world of positive reinforcement training.
You’ll often see the initials CPDT-KA after a trainer’s name. The Certified Professional Dog Trainer (KA=Knowledge Assessed) program is an internationally recognized certification program for professional dog trainers based on humane training practices and the latest scientific knowledge related to dog training. CPDTs have earned this credential by demonstrating their knowledge and experience in dog training. Certified Professional Dog Trainers maintain their credential through continuing education by attending workshops, conferences, and hands-on seminars for professional dog trainers. This continuing education requirement ensures that CPDTs are knowledgeable about the most current thinking, research, and techniques in the field.
6.) What are the most common myths about dog training?
- If a dog can’t learn a behavior, he is either stubborn, dominant, stupid, or a combination of the three.
- My dog knows he did something wrong because he looks guilty.
- A puppy has to be at least six months old to be trained.
- Positive reinforcement training only works with small/happy/regular dogs, not tough/large/obstinate/stubborn dogs.
- Using food in training is bribery.
7.) How do you feel about dog trainers on TV?
It depends on the trainer! We are fans of any trainer who employs positive reinforcement techniques and helps to educate people to the world of dog training.
8.) What training methodologies does your staff practice with its clients?
AnimalSense uses positive reinforcement training, a scientifically proven method of operant conditioning. This means that we focus on teaching your dog by rewarding appropriate behavior, instead of constantly correcting your dog for mistakes. Food rewards paired with praise are used during the acquisition phase of learning and the food reward is slowly phased out as the behavior becomes more reliable; thereafter, we maintain the behavior with praise, life rewards and occasional food rewards. Training based upon physical punishment or fear is NEVER an option at AnimalSense. Our methods give you other options to successfully train your dog without the use of devices such as prong, choke or shock collars.
9.) How does food training affect relationships between dogs and their owners?
We use food as part of the learning process, first to elicit new behaviors and second to reward for performing the behaviors on cue. Once a new behavior is learned, we will teach you how to pair the food reward with praise and then “fade” the food reward, so you are relying less on treats and more on praise. We will still use treats occasionally to reward well-established behaviors in order to maintain those behaviors. Unlike punishment-based methods, reward-based training with food will not damage your relationship with your dog; to the contrary, your dog will learn quickly to earn good things by complying with your requests.
10.) What is “food motivation” for dogs?
Experience has taught us that most dogs will work for especially tasty food rewards, although dogs who are not hungry, are very stressed or have a medical problem may be less receptive to food. Keep in mind that any reward you choose must be interesting enough to your dog to compete with distractions in the environment. This means that your dog may need tastier treats to focus at class or during private training than the treats you use for training in the living room. If your dog truly is not food-motivated or has dietary restrictions, we will use other rewards including toys, praise, petting, and life rewards to motivate your pup.
11.) What are all your locations?
- AnimalSense Office Old Town (Chicago)
- Chicago, Avondale: Central Bark
- Chicago, Logan Square: Soggy Paws
- Chicago, Uptown: Soggy Paws
- Chicago, West Bucktown: Canine Crews
- Glenview: Glenview Animal Hospital
- Oak Park: Pet Vets Animal Hospital
- Palatine: Biscuits and Bows
- Wilmette: The LaundryMutt