All things in life should grow and develop. This applies to our relationships also. This also applies to our relationships with our puppies. Whether you have your furry companion and want to plant the seeds of a harmonious long-term friendship, or you have been living together for a while, and want to take your relationship to the next level, we all need guidance sometimes. And just like you’d go to a specialist if you wanted more from your relationship with your spouse, you’d go to a.. . Dog training school if you needed to work on your relationship with your dog.
The question is, how do you find a great specialist? Now, if you were just feeling under the weather, you’d probably visit a general practitioner. But what if you had a toothache? I bet you would visit a dentist instead! First, you want to decide whether you would like to work on overall obedience, aggression, separation anxiety, or maybe you want to take on therapy dog training or a protection dog training course. Then you got to read on because we created a list of local hidden gems in San Diego area that specialize in precisely the sort of dog training classes you want!
Now, what forms of dog training colleges are we going to look at exactly?
Dog Obedience Training
Aggressive Dog Training
Therapy Dog Training
Service Dog Training
We will also have a look at such training types as a dog training camp, group classes, in home dog training and internet dog training.
All these gems have 5-star evaluations on Yelp, tons of happy clients and they are local, oftentimes family-owned businesses, so you can make terrific friends one of your neighbors while doing some training as well!
First things first, there are plenty of options out there in regards to dog training. How can you know which one is good for you?
6 Tips For Picking the Correct Dog Training School
1. Know That the Dog Training Industry is Unregulated
That means that almost anyone could call him or herself a trainer, sadly. However, there are organizations and certifications that can help you identify those who really have the ideal designations and experience. Always check to see if the coach has a number of the following certificates: The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), The Academy for Dog Trainers (ADT), the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT KA), the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPAATB), or the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Being the key educational organization for trainers, APDT has a very practical resource called Trainer Search that allows you to find trainers in your area based on your city or zip code. Amazing tool! Notice that if a trainer is certified by the APDT it does not necessarily imply that he or she uses a specific training method, which brings us to the next tip.
2. Know the Training Techniques Used
Now, all coaches have different training procedures, but here are a few fundamental things that would help you swim confidently in the sea of coach jargon. There are currently 4 standard procedures of instruction that stem from behavioral psychology: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. Now, the words positive and negative aren’t representing the idea of”good and bad” here, they work more like they would in math, with positive significance addition and negative meaning subtraction of something. It will become clearer in a second.
This is the most popular method now, and, sure enough, you’re all familiar with it. Positive reinforcement has, at its core, rewarding a dog for desired behavior usually with a treat, a toy or play time, depending on what motivates your dog the most. The trick is to pick the right time: just as your dog does exactly the desirable behavior, reward him or her right away, and supplement the treat with a high-pitched”great dog”, to make sure your pet realizes how happy you are with this behavior. See the way the treat is added here? This is the positive part, also.
This technique involves taking something unpleasant away to reinforce the desired behaviour. That’s how electric fences work, for example. When a dog gets too near the perimeter, it gets a shock, but the shock disappears the moment the dog moves away from the boundary. This way, the dog learns to steer clear of the perimeter. See the subtraction here – the unpleasant sensations are taken away to reinforce a behavior, this is negative reinforcement.
With punishment techniques, the trainer is attempting to make a specific behaviour happen less often. With positive punishment, the coach adds some unpleasant stimuli to discourage a behaviour. With excessive barking, by way of instance, a trainer can add a spray bark collar to the practice, so that every time a dog barks, it gets sprayed. The dog will associate nuisance barking with being sprayed, and this will discourage them from barking all night long again. Can you see how with this technique a coach would add (=positive) something to discourage a behaviour (=punishment).
This technique means taking something away (=negative) so as to discourage a behavior (=punishment). A good example is if a trainer turns away from a dog that is leaping on him or other people to get attention. He takes the attention away from the dog to discourage undesired behavior. This method is frequently used together with positive reinforcement to reduce the unwanted behaviour and reinforce the desired behavior.
Ah, that was quite a bit of information, right? Did it become somewhat clearer what the different training methods do? Great. There is still much debate about the best training methods from the coaches’ world, but what you choose remains up to you.
Now that you have learnt more about the behavioral psychology, do you start seeing some similarities between how we train dogs and how the government trains us? On to the next tip.
3. Choose the Training Type
Group Classes, Boot Camps, In House Training or Skype chats – there is every sort of dog training you might need under the sun. Consider the benefits and drawbacks. With in house dog training the apparent advantage is that you will receive more personal attention. If your dog has some socialization problems, in home training will not be as effective as group dog training classes, where both you and your fido can learn to be around other dogs and work around a lot of tempting distractions. If you need your dog to have the experience of a full immersion, then a dog training camp is going to be the best choice. Whereas, if your budget is tight, online dog training might be the solution you’re looking for. Selecting the type of instruction you need will make the task of finding a good dog training school way easier.
4. Watch a Class Before You Sign Up
As soon as you picked a class or a coaching school, take some time to come to one of the training sessions and just watch. Focus on the following:
How large is the class size and if you will be getting enough attention,
If puppies and adult dogs are trained individually,
How many levels do the classes have (basic, intermediate, advanced),
How the coach interacts with the dogs,
How dogs respond to the training,
Whether everyone seems to be having fun and enjoying the process.
If you ticked all the checkboxes here, and are comfortable with the surroundings, you have discovered a fantastic candidate.
5. Don’t Forget About Vaccinations
Safety first! Make sure your dog is properly vaccinated before you start any dog training and get the green light from your vet. Next, ensure that the training college requires every dog to be vaccinated and is asking for a proof. This way you can be certain that the safety aspect of your training is covered.
6. Ask About the Follow Up
Now, what happens once you have completed the program? Do you receive a lifetime membership and can come any time for future”tune ups”, or are follow up visits restricted? Maybe there are no follow up visits in case a problem does arise. Make sure that you ask the school or the coach about what happens once you are finished with their program.
Great, you are all set for the dog training school of your dreams. Now, we’re introducing you to the 10 hidden gem schools with 5-star Yelp evaluations that specialize in the type of dog training you are searching for. Go ahead and find the one for you!
Top 10 Dog Training School Hidden Gems in San Diego Region
The best time to begin training is when your pooch is between 3 and 14 months old, it does not indicate that your puppy doesn’t learn well afterwards, but it’s just the juiciest time while he or she absorbs new tricks such as a sponge, so take advantage of this if possible! The next stage where pet owners often require assistance is the 6 months mark, when pups transition into adolescence, and this time is similar to the teenage years we’ve all been through – demanding.
1. Woofingham Palace – Puppy Training San Diego
Woofingham Palace is our 5-star hidden gem for technical puppy socialization and puppy training in San Diego. It is a family-owned company run by Samantha & Jon Mears, who both immigrated from London 11 years back. Hence, the name of the dog training school. Samantha Mears is a certified professional dog trainer, who passed her CPDT KA (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainlines) exam with distinction. Samantha has worked with dogs daily for over ten years. She is also a Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and is a qualified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG).
Woofingham Palace offers plenty of different puppy training choices for you and your pooch all held inside a fenced training area in the shade of big sails. The classes are small, so you will get that individual attention. This dog training school places lots of emphasis on puppy socialization, and notes that pups who have been socialized young tend to show behavior problems in the long run than those pups who have not. The prices for group puppy training courses range from over $100 to over $300, so you have plenty of options.
559 Union Street
Encinitas. CA 92024
Now, an all 5-star hidden gem for dog obedience training in San Diego is Complete K9 Dog Training. Its trainer, Shannon, is a Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), and is CPDT Certified. She holds a BA in Psychology and started training animals in 1991 at Sea World. Total K9 Dog Training provides a range of classes, but specializes in dog obedience training, both novice and advanced.
Total K9 Dog Training teaches the owners how to become good leaders for their dogs without using any intimidation or domination techniques. They focus on building the trust and communication that would allow the puppy to follow the owner… even when he or she does not have that yummy food handy. Shannon puts a lot of focus of training the whole family on how best to work with their dog, as this strengthens the bond between all of the family members and ensures that what a puppy learns at school will be further strengthened at home. The prices of courses vary, but the overall range is between $100 and $165 for group courses.
3. Think Pawsitive Dog Training – Service Dog Training and Therapy Dog Training
Interested in Remedy Dog Training/Service Dog Training? An agency or therapy dog certification requires you to have numerous steps along the way. Think Pawsitive dog training school can assist you throughout the process. She’s been working with dogs since 2003.
What Think Pawsitive offers concerning service dog training and therapy dog training: it offers to help you with the whole process, from basic training to preparing and passing the CGC Certification and Therapy Pet Certification, which you must get in order for your dog to become a formal service/therapy dog. To initiate the program, your dog does not need to be a particular breed or size, it ought to have a calm, friendly character. You know, a therapy dog – boy, that patience! Therapy Dog Evaluations are $30, and Think Pawsitive offers extended discounts for referrals or recently adopted pets, so you can email Vanessa directly to find out more about the program and the pricing.
1273 Crest Dr.
949.533.4756Service area: San Diego + Orange County
Behave! – another hidden gem which specializes in aggressive dog training in San Diego. Its founder, Alexandra Gant, graduated from ACBDT animal behavior college, and since 2012 has been working with”unworkable” or”last chance” puppies who are on the verge of being euthanized or re-homed as a result of aggression difficulties. Alex focuses on teaching owners in need of dog aggression training how to train the dog by themselves, without relying on professional help. Behave! Trainers are knowledgeable about the various forms of aggression and believe that aggression is a symptom of a far deeper problem, so that they concentrate on fixing the issue, as opposed to simply the symptoms.
Behave! Realizes that dog aggression training is a big commitment, so it encourages all owners who work with them to consider packages instead of sessions. The classes are $80-$125 Per Day, and they now offer a 10% package discount.
5. American Canine Training – Dog Protection Training San Diego
So you were looking for guard dog training in San Diego? We found a hidden gem for this too, all 5 stars – American Canine Training. Chris Moredock is the head trainer, certified by APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) and the Pro-train institute of California.
American Canine Training has a number of different choices when it comes to dog protection training. You may choose Security Alert Training, which will teach your dog to watch out for strangers and warn you if they’re up to something spooky. It will also teach your dog to stop aggressive answers in your command. Or you could go for a Personal Protection Training (on and off leash), which will teach the dog to guard his or her humans and property, learn”assault” and”release” commands, etc.. There you go, you’re on your way to getting that cool police-style dog you’ve always wanted.
Serving area: the entire San Diego County
6. Legends Dog Training – Behavior Modification Dog Training/Dog Separation Stress Training
If your pooch requires some professional behaviour modification training, this is your local 5-star professional dog behaviorist – Legends Dog Training School. They specialize in dog separation anxiety training, training for dogs with impulsivity problems, fearful response to other dogs and a number of other behavioral problems.
Alyssa Rose (Lapinel), the founder of Legends, is a CPDT-KA certified Canine Training and Behavior Specialist with 15 years of experience in the area of behavioral studies. She is also certified by the Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and by Triple Crown Dog Training Academy. She applied her degree in Phycology to work with children and adults diagnosed with severe disorders like schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder, and later used this experience to start working with animals. Alyssa designs behavior modification dog training programs that address the origin of a behavioral issue and provide a systematic framework for improving communication and strengthening the bond between the dog and his/her proprietor.
One consultation costs $150, but it is included if you decide to pursue a training package with 5 courses for $575. Mind you, different options are available, so check Legends site and see their contact info below to learn more.
7. Pawtopia – Dog Agility Training San Diego
You have sure enough heard about this dog training school – Pawtopia. But did you know that they had a technical dog agility training class? Yep, this one also made it to our hidden gems list. Its creator, Colleen Demling, is a licensed coach with 16 years of experience. She’s an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, is licensed by the CBCC-KA and CPDT-KA, in Addition to IABBC. Colleen also designed the Temperament Evaluation for the Naval Medical Center’s Therapy Dog Program here at San Diego. Colleen is actively involved in several professional organizations, including the International Association of Canine Professionals, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance.
“Fun with Agility!” Is the class Pawtopia offers for dogs of all levels of training, so don’t look away if you’re not interested in competing – that is dog agility training course for all those who just want to have fun, run through tunnels and jump through hoops, no pressure! The price is $170, and you can learn more on the Pawtopia site.
8. Devotion to Dogs – In Home Dog Training
For those looking for in home dog training, Ben of Devotion to Dogs offers just that, and takes a place in our listing of hidden San Diego gems. He also works with local rescues and believes that every dog can be trained and successfully rehabilitated. His specialization is in home dog training: a private, one on one type of training which enables him to assess the environment and find the appropriate solution. And allows you to save time on commute of course.
Devotion to Dogs offers a variety of packages. The starting package includes a 2-4 hour in home session in addition to a 1 hour follow up session, which goes for $500. Call Devotion to Dogs to Learn More.
Garfield Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020
9. Tully’s Training – Online Dog Training
If you will need some flexibility or are on a budget, Tully’s Training offers not just private in home training and group classes, but also basic obedience positive-reinforcement online dog training – through Skype.
Tully’s Training group is comprised of coaches with experience in exotic, domestic, and marine mammal training, allowing it to look at animal behaviour from other angles. One of the most titled trainers is Meghan McLeod, who allegedly trained with a range of well-recognized behaviorists like Karen Pryer and Dr. Ian Dunbar. Meghan is also a certified CGC evaluator. Check out Tully’s team of trainers with an entire array of different backgrounds here.
According to Tully’s, online dog training has been working great for them and their customers, as they are able to get that same individual, one on one session that you would get in person for a fraction of the price tag. Thus, if online dog training suits your needs, this is the school for you. Training packages are highly customizable, so get in touch with Tully’s for more info.
10. Specialty Dog Training – Dog Training Camp San Diego
Were you looking for a dog training camp in San Diego? It is a family-owned dog training school founded by Graham Bloem, a professional dog trainer with 17+ years of experience and a recipient of numerous awards, including American Red Cross Real Heroes Award and the Honeywell Life Safety Award presented by Larry King himself. Graham’s team is made up of variety of seasoned professionals that collectively have accumulated a lot of accreditations, including certificates by IACP, APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), NADOI, ABSCDT and others. Graham and his wife, Kyrie, also actively support nonprofits, shelters and rescue organizations.
Specialty Dog Training focuses on using positive reinforcement and discipline in their own training. Their dog training camp, i.e. in-kennel training, dog board and train or a boot camp is a structured environment where your dog will be taught all the obedience basics he or she needs to be a excellent companion. Being away from the regular environment is a good opportunity for your dog to”reset”, while the trainers can work on their own behavioral issues in a controlled environment.
Specialty Dog Training provides plenty of packages, they also have a Boot Camp Special for the month of March, with 25% off pet training camps. The purchase price varies between $1575 (with the discount) for a 2-week app with 2 private sessions, to $5400 for an 8-week program with 2 private lessons.
Pacific Pet Resort, 2909 San Luis Rey Rd Oceanside CA 92058