We start a new session every two weeks. The first 2 days at the start (check-ins) and final 2 days at the end (checkouts) are set aside to allow individual appointments with every family. Regardless of which check-in and checkout days you choose - that is, whether your dog is here 12, 13, or 14 days - your dog will receive 12 days of training. Any days beyond 12 are just bonus play time.
This allows you to choose any combination of check-in and checkout days that work best for your schedule. The check-in entails a 1-hour consultation with a tour, and the checkout is a 2-hour lesson (3 hours with 2+ dogs) with the owner.
Why do we do it this way? When dogs come and go as a group we're better able to build consistent social groups and affect social behavior. On a personal note, we're also able to schedule a week (or a few weeks sometimes!) where we shut down operations to allow for dedicated family time. We do this because we work straight through weekends, holidays, and birthdays, often months at a time! Even our "office closed" days involve time-consuming care and interaction with the dogs currently with us. It's a crazy schedule but it works!
We can house and train up to 10 dogs. However, since we're a two person team on a schedule, and we meet with each client/family one-on-one, we have appointment space for only 8 check-ins at the start and 8 checkouts at the end. So if we sign up 8 dogs from 8 different families, then our schedule is full and the session is closed. But often we'll have a family or two sign up more than one dog. This means we could have 9 or 10 dogs in those 8 appointments. We draw the line at 10, though. This keeps our trainer-to-dog ratio low. The two of us, EJ and Heidi, each train no more than 5 dogs per session. We want every dog to get all the time they need!
Yes! The purpose of a board-and-train is partially to train your dog for you, but more importantly to establish a foundation of learning so the owner can maintain at home for the long term. We teach your dog to follow leadership and develop a mode of communication. Then we give you hands-on practice using the personalized approach that works best for your dog. We'll empower you to handle whatever comes your way once you leave our doors. You'll continue working with your dog for only 10 minutes per day, just 5 days a week, to maintain the commands, plus simply enforce manners daily as needed. Your dog will know exactly what you're doing!
Since our approach is focused on helping you to be a trusted and respected leader for your dog, we see beautiful results with any type of dog! We work with canine psychology and and equip you, the owner, to be successful without a trainer attached to your side. This makes our program ideal for puppies that simply need manners as well as challenging adults that need a fresh start.
We generally enroll ages 16 weeks to 7 years. The best age for training is around 4 or 5 months as this is a prime "sponge" age where a puppy more readily accepts new things and is old enough to take it all in. Plus, they grow up to simple accept structure and leadership as a way of life! The next best age range is 6-9 months. The third best age is before 18 months and a dog between 18 months and 3 years is still very malleable. And, of course, it's never too late! Once a dog hits 3 years change gets harder, but there is always the ability to improve from wherever you're currently at.
We accept medium-to-large-breed puppies as young as 13 weeks if they're current on their vaccination schedule with your vet, have had at least 2 parvo vaccinations after 9 weeks of age, and have had the bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine at least 5 days before check-in.
We accept some older dogs depending on the details and circumstances. Please contact us to discuss your situation.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (682) 283-1770 to get started! We can sign you up over the phone or send you a link to register online. All sign-ups go through Heidi. This ensures proper dialogue about your dog and situation as well as prevents overbooking.
We give a 15% discount to return clients as well as families that enroll more than one dog in the same session.
We would love to offer a million discounts! However, we're a small operation. Giving discounts to all the popular categories would mean that we'd have to raise our rates for everyone else. Oh no!
Unlike large companies, we don't have the ability to make up losses by taking in larger quantities. Training more dogs would detract from our personal service. Please understand that we love and support all professions and ages. We just don't want to charge anyone a penny more than what's necessary! We truly aim to be affordable while at the same time supporting our small quota. See our full pricing info here.
Oh my goodness, yes!! Healthy training does not alter your dog's personality or break their spirit. Training isn't about beating your dog into submission, it's about establishing leadership and opening up communication. With dogs, leadership does require you to be firm, but this is natural. We are very fair and humane with our discipline, and even more generous with our praise! Though it's true that not all dogs love the training process (I mean, really, who likes being bossed around all of a sudden?), we take the extra steps to keep spirits up and show your dog that they are loved. Your dog will see that it's only the behavior that is disliked, not themselves. You'll find it to be a bonding experience and everyone is happier in the end, especially your dog!
The flip side of this is that training does not alter a dog's personality even if you want it to. Cocky dogs will stay cocky! Goofy dogs will stay goofy! Dominant dogs will maintain their dominant nature (just not dominant over you!). But you can have more control over your dog's behavior. That is the key! We will help your dog be their personal best.
So you've heard that board-and-trains don't work? Man, those people are missing out! We LOVE the service we offer, and have come to dedicate ourselves to this after many years of private lessons because of the higher success rate. A board-and-train is just an avenue of educating your dog. Yes, you will still have to take the time to earn your dog's respect, but that's a lot easier with a dog that already knows everything! We can make sure that your dog learns efficiently and correctly, without confusion or user error along the way.
It's also not true that dogs have to be trained in their home environment. To limit a dog's intelligence to a geographical location is greatly underestimating their minds. If your dog knows how to sit on command at home, then they can do it at the park! If they won't, then we need to help you earn a higher degree of respect as well as give your dog a stronger foundation in the fundamentals and a lot more practice. Anything your dog knows can be applied in any situation or location under the guidance of an established and respected leader. This is our goal for you!
We teach and maintain potty training during your dog's stay the same way that we would instruct you to do at home. We help difficult potty trainers get on track, and keep newly potty trained puppies from regressing. You would receive personalized instructions to follow at home that are designed to meet your dog's needs and your schedule. Potty training is a process that can take many months, so we'll be sure you know how to proceed on at home!
Understand that we cannot say your dog will never have another accident at home. We will work out a plan that fits your schedule helps your dog succeed, and you will need to continue this work at home. We'll make sure you know exactly what do!
If we can safely handle your dog, then yes, we can train him. We take on most mild-to-moderate aggressive cases. We do no work with severe aggression or with any dog actively looking to cause injury. We require a consultation for many potentially aggressive or reactive dogs. Please contact us with your details!
Are you concerned about your dog being near aggressive dogs? No worries! We do not attempt to socialize dogs with a history of dog aggression. We aim to help owners achieve on-leash control so that they can have peaceful walks and vet visits. These handling skills are critical for their peace and happiness as well as keep your dog safe when you're out and about. Dogs with any possible risk receive private play time with a trainer and will not be in a social group.
*sniff* we're not enough for you?... ;) Just kidding! But seriously, there should be no need for advanced training! Advanced training is just a way of segmenting training into multiple classes or lessons. We don't do that here. You get it all the first time! What "advanced training" even means varies depending on who you talk to. Most people mean off-leash, so let's go with that.
You'll earn your dog's respect and faith by demonstrating your authority and confidence. So think about it...if your dog already understands the commands, and respects you, what's stopping them from doing it off-leash? Just keep practicing regularly at home, on-leash for a while to prevent mistakes, and your dog should evolve into off-leash training naturally. Bear in mind that not all dogs are geared for off-leash, especially if you don't start training as a puppy, but most can achieve at least some level of reliability around the home and yard.
We just ask that you don't do it too soon! Attempting off-leash before your dog is ready is the biggest killer of that goal. We will walk you through the steps, personalizing them based on your dog's personality and needs.
Let us know! We can answer most questions over the phone, email, or text. You're also welcome to return for more one-on-one instruction. Follow-up lessons are unlimited and free! Oh, and don't forget to watch your dog's video again and again and read that very detailed book that goes home with you. ;)
Please note that follow-up lesson are at our site, our home in Burleson. Going to a client's home and back can take half a day! Yikes! But don't worry! It is rare to actually have to be in your home to resolve problems. The vast majority of problems start with you and your dog's relationship, which can be addressed anywhere. Focusing on that relationship is what has made our program so successful!
Need help with something location specific? Send us a video! Many of our clients move far away or travel long distances to work with us and we still help with follow-up care!
No much! We'll break it down for you...
#1: Your dog's food. We don't want any upset tummies! Dry food can be brought in its original bag or the container you use at home. Wet food can be brought in the original cans. No additional preparation is necessary. If your dog is on any fresh or cooked food, or food that requires preparation, please have it all cooked and prepared, ready to feed, in single-serving baggies - one baggie per meal. We have a fridge and freezer for dog food storage and we'll defrost a few days' worth at a time. We do not feed uncooked meats.
#2: Supplements or medication. No additional preparation is usually necessary, unless it's complicated. We do not charge a fee to administer supplements or medication. If your dog is on medication for a contagious disease, please contact us to reschedule the training for when he's well.
#3: Proof of current vaccinations. We require Bordetella with 1 year. Rabies and a Parvo/Distemper combo are required to be current within 3 years. We need printed documentation from your vet, or labels on paper with a date. Handwritten records, including those cute folded cards from your vet, are not sufficient unless the vial labels are attached and dated. Most vet receipts have the date last given or next due summarized at the bottom, which we love.
#4: Flea control information. We need to know what product you're using. We have Frontline Plus available for $20 (or $15 each for 2+ dogs), but prefer they're on something before coming in. You can often obtain a free sample from your vet. Any product acquired through a veterinarian is acceptable. The only over-the-counter products we accept are Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, and Pet Armor. We do not accept flea collars or budget brands. Capstar is not acceptable since it kills fleas on a dog for immediate relief but has no lasting effect. We are very firm on this policy, even if you know your dog does not have fleas. This is for every dog's safety, including yours.
#5: You're welcome to bring a disposable item from home that smells familiar for your dog. This is optional. We recommend old rags and t-shirts since these items are thrown out at the end of your dog's stay. They can get pretty stinky after being slept on for almost two weeks! You are welcome to bring most other items, just please not too much and nothing of sentimental or monetary value.
#6: For giant breeds: This refers to mastiffs, great danes, and similar large and boney body types. We have blankets for bedding but encourage giant breed owners to bring a thick bed or elevated cot to keep their sensitive joints more cushioned. This especially applies to great danes and mastiffs, but any dog owner is welcome to bring something if they want to. Please understand that we do our very best to keep things in good condition, but the dogs and the washing machine don't always cooperate.
Nope! Treat-based training sounds great and can be a lot of fun, but unfortunately it puts all control in the dog's hands (paws?). This is not a good method for obedience training. With treats, your dog learns to check what you have before they listen. You also have no recourse if your dog cares more about what they want than the treats, or is too distracted. And it's not even natural! Have you ever seen an alpha dog bribing his pack members with cookies to follow him?
However, we do use a few treats for only the first few days. Treats have a place in training, but it should be temporary. They help the dog to like and trust us quickly and they enable us to easily identify when a dog understands what a word means. If they'll do it for a treat, then we know the command is understood. But once the dog knows the vocabulary, the treats disappear, before we develop a dependency. Some dogs always turn up their nose at treats, which is fine too. We don't really need them!
Where treats are great is with "fun behaviors". Go ahead and use treats to get your dog to play dead or spin in a circle! We would never require these things, so it's fine if the dog chooses not to do it.
We use all four principles of Operant Conditioning. The one you always hear about, Positive Reinforcement, is only one and was never intended to be used alone. The other three are Negative Reinforcement, Positive Punishment, and Negative Punishment (which isn't as bad as it sounds - sending a child to their room is an example of Negative Punishment). Operant Conditioning isn't actually a method, rather it scientifically identifies how animals learn. There's a great behavioral psychology article to tell you more about it here.
If we had to name what we do, it would be what many trainers now call Balanced Dog Training. Balanced Dog Training is Operant Conditioning, it just sounds more modern! But we really like to say that we simply work with each individual dog, get to know them, find what makes them tick, and go from there!
Yes! And we don't hide it from you. We love training collars! They're awesome! We excited about training collars! It's a simple tool that just works! Training collars enable you to correct your dog on a physical level in a humane way that they instinctively understand. They give you results, and are so much nicer than yelling at your dog and getting nowhere! They keep correction objective rather than emotional. You are simply telling your dog they're wrong, not getting mad. Isn't that great??
Despite the stigma attached to many of them, used correctly, no training collar should injure your dog. We mostly use the ugliest one of all, the prong collar. A high quality prong collar should have smooth movement that doesn't pinch your dog's skin and rounded tips that are not sharp or pokey. We give you a Herm Sprenger to take home since they're the best. Prong collars are effective at mimicking a corrective snap from another dog. There is almost no teaching involved - the dog just gets it because it's so natural. We teach you to pair the use of the collar with a verbal signal, like "No" or "Ah Ah". This enables you to eventually be able to simply say the word without having to use the collar through the process of associative learning (a major aspect of operant conditioning, see previous question).
The best part is that a training collar further enables you to earn your dog's respect and keep it. You're establishing leadership in a way they understand. Dogs do not give each other treats to establish authority, or drag each other on leashes, or yell at each other. They growl, posture, and, when needed, bite. The bite is not hard enough to break skin, but rather just enough to say, "Hey, I mean business." This means that eye contact, tone of voice, body language, and cool confidence are all essential aspects of our training.
Occasionally we'll come across a dog where it's evident that a prong collar is too intense. In this case we would use a martingale collar. A martingale is essentially a prong without "teeth." However we would need you to leave it up to us to choose what is best for your dog. A martingale on the wrong dog will require a lot of force to have any effect, which is not safe. Since a prong collar is about the feel of teeth, not force, they can be safely fitted and used on dogs as small as three pounds (they make tiny ones!). Little dogs function with the same psychology as big dogs. They are all canines on the inside!
We do not typically use electric collars (e-collars). We are not opposed to them, and actually think they're great, but they don't give you that personal feel that you get with a prong or martingale. They are also not a natural sensation, so some dogs don't handle them well. Forcing an e-collar on the wrong dog can actually be traumatizing. We do often recommend e-collars to clients under certain circumstances, if we think it's appropriate for the dog, but never as a replacement for a prong collar.
We do not offer specific training for ESA or medical services. We can help you to have a well-mannered pup which some our of clients use as a starting point for their support dogs. There are no specific requirements for support dogs other than your dog is well-mannered in public and under your control.
Service dogs, as protected by the ADA, are not the same as companion dogs or emotional support dogs (ESA). We do not offer any specific task or service training to meet ADA qualifications. However, if your dog can perform two tasks that you have taught or plan to teach, and you just need good behavior to qualify for ADA, we're happy to be of service to you.
It's important to understand that there is no official certification for companion or ESA dogs. Be leery of companies that promise this since it is not an ADA qualification and is unregulated. There is no paperwork to prove your dog is ADA qualified. Certificates that you can "qualify" for and purchase are false. Some people chose to get these anyway. They're easily purchased online and give your dog a more official look. Yet they're unofficial and a business owner can still refuse your dog entry. The closest thing to official you can get is a letter from your doctor.
Temperament plays a significant role in your dog's ability to be a companion dog, emotional support dog, therapy dog, or an ADA qualified service dog. Though training can have some effect on a dog's genetically based temperament, it does not guarantee necessary changes. Not every dog is cut out to be a support dog.
Our training also helps many dogs meet the requirements to be certified as a therapy dog. Please refer to tdi-dog.org and petpartners.org for more info on therapy work. Many of our clients have successfully gone through these two organizations after training with us!