Congratulations on taking the first step to becoming a responsible owner!
In this section, we have come up with some tips to help maximize the benefits you will gain from our courses.
Have a read if possible :)
Things to prepare
Necessary items to get ready before the course:
1) Bite sized treats
Do get treats that are bite sized, or those can be easily broken down into smaller piece as we will be using them during lessons. Puppies may require soft treats due to teething.
Notebook is essential to take down important points as we will be covering on a number of areas as well as providing homework
for you and your furkid to practice. We have not met anyone who can remember everything without writing down notes, so please prepare a notebook for the lesson!
3) Collar / Harness & Leash
We recommend collar for walks, and harness for dogs that has health issues. For collars it should not be too loose, maximum looseness should not exceed 2 fingers spacing. For harness it should fit the body comfortably, we will recommend no pull harness/easy walk harness to discourage pulling. Leash should be comfortable in your hands, they should not be retractable.
For most of our courses, the first lesson will usually be theory based. Do prepare a space where we can have a honest chat about your furkid, it can be in the living room or dining table as long as you feel comfortable and sitted. We do not recommend having lessons when you are in a rush, so do make sure that you are comfortable with the appointment set with us.
During the first lesson we will have a chat with you to understand more about you, your furkid and your concerns, then help create a suitable routine for you to practice with your furkid, during this period we will also provide an estimated timeline to see improvements. This lesson is very important as it can help you understand your dog's personality based on our assessment of your furkid's lifestyle, behavior and response. During this lesson it will also be beneficial to start writing down notes as the information will be helpful later on in the course. Thereafter, following lessons will always start with a short chat to understand more about your progress, as well as for us to highlight what we are going to cover for that lesson.
Method of training
We may not recommend the same method for every single case. We will decide on a suitable method and routine based on your personality, your dog's personality, the lifestyle of your family and also the problems encountered. Which is why lesson 1 as mentioned above is very important. That being said, we try to use reward based training as much as possible. I have been handling dogs for over 16 years - 9 years of negative reinforcement and 7 years of positive reinforcement to understand what works best and what doesn't!
Do feel free to ask if you have any questions! We will try our best to help you and your dog but it will be very hard for us to do so if you don't voice out your feelings and ask questions. Most of our courses consist of just 4 sessions and this is the time for you to learn as much as you want, so just ask if you have questions! Of course we would also appreciate if you could take down some notes when we answer your questions, instead of having to repeat the same answers when you forget :)
Duration of lessons
The duration of lessons set on the course details are provided as an estimate, so that you can set aside enough time to learn what we have planned for you and your dog. However, we would rarely stick to the exact duration, and this is due to a number of factors - The dog's personality, health/behavioral conditions, energy, stress levels/threshold, owner's activity level, interest and questions asked during lesson. Bear in mind that our goal at the end of the lesson is to ensure that we have covered on the important areas for that session, as well as ensuring owners are able to understand and follow through with assignments. If the lessons had been covered before the estimated duration, we would not hesitate to end the lesson, same for sessions where owners have more questions to ask about their assignments, we would extend if we have extra time to do so. We have to take into consideration not just on how much information owners can absorb, but also observe the dog's response.
History of your dog
We will usually ask in depth questions about your dog especially for those going through Behavioral Conditioning course. We need to have a better understanding about the history of your dog as well as what you have gone through. Be it changing multiple trainers or even hitting your dog, it is important to be honest and share as much details as possible so that we can come up with the best solution to the problems faced. We will not judge what happened before so do not worry about this, we are solely here to help create a better future. Treat us as a friend, talk to us with an open mind, this is the time to set aside pride and be as honest as possible.
Follow lessons closely
We understand that some owners may have different opinions on the method of training for their dog. It is good to ask, but when owners start debating and challenging, it becomes very hard for us to help them. Owners need to understand that they had engaged professionals for a reason, and most of the time the reason is either because they are clueless about dogs, or learned that what they are currently doing wasn't effective. There are many methods to training a dog be it positive or negative, even if you have gone through trainers with similar methods, the result can be different. This can be due to many possibilities - the experience of the trainer, the trainer's willingness to help, the execution timing, owner's cooperation etc. A dog's behavioral problem doesn't automatically becomes the trainer's fault when you sign up for lessons, the trainer's job is to pass on the knowledge and experience to you so that you can understand what to do and work together as a team. Cooperation, willingness to learn, understanding of your dog's situation and time from you is very important, we are not typical trainers that tell owners good job every lesson and then leave their dogs hanging, we really want everyone to learn!
PS: Some owners may find that we look like students and may be inexperience, thank you for the compliments but we are already in our mid thirties. To this date, we have already trained more than a thousand cases throughout these 8 years :D
We want you to learn
As much as we want our lessons to be interesting, we also hope owners can understand that we sometimes need to push our students to ensure that they would be able to keep up with the course and help their dog overcome challenges. Some owners may think that our courses are provided as a service, similarly to selling a product, please understand that we are not providing a service, we are providing an education. As such, we sometimes need to be strict in what we teach for the sake of you and your dog, we expect you to do your homework and be ready when we conduct the next lesson. Do feel free to postpone lessons if you think that you need more time!
Preparing your dog before lessons
It is important to get your dog ready before every lesson, here are some notes to ensure that your dog is at it's best state of mind before lesson:
1) No feeding of meals or treats 1 hour before lesson.
We do not want your dog to feel bloated and lack motivation during lessons.
2) Minimal/No exercises before lesson.
No going to day care, no morning jogs or anything that could drain all your dog's energy away.
3) Ensure that your dog is not sick or injured.
No training can be done if your dog is not feeling well!
4) For aggressive dogs, please ensure that your dog be muzzled or at least leashed before we enter the premise. If you are not confident of being able to control your dog on leash, you can tie the leash onto a heavy object (pillar, pole, sofa leg, pipe etc.) before we enter.
Due to coronavirus, we are doing our part by practicing thorough hygiene to ensure that you and your family will be safe throughout the sessions! We both wash our hands and sanitize them before and after each lesson, we will also stop handshakes at this point of time.