Sharon Mear's Training Cats and Dogs
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Dog Training Services

Basic Dog Training

Among the most important things you will do for yourself and your dog, basic training teaches fundamental skills beginning in a distraction-free environment. Setting up a learning structure that you’ll use for the entire course of his or her life, your dog will learn to listen to your direction, focus on cues, and respond to basic obedience commands. As the prerequisite for all good social behavior as well as for any future, more advanced training you may wish to do, basic training is the place to start.
My basic dog training program is structured to fit your own individual lifestyle, pocketbook, and schedule while providing the fundamentals that your dog needs.

Sign onto a program of one of my basic dog training packages, a series of 3, 4, 5, or 6+ sessions, or begin with a one-time consultation. Either way, I’ll help you structure a series that takes in your personal specifications and meets your dog’s needs. Call or email me and let’s get started!

Some of the Lessons We’ll Cover in Basic Dog Training

All About Puppies

Whether you’re just thinking about bringing a new puppy into your life or if you’ve already brought one into your home, there are literally dozens of things you’ll need to know. I can help you make the best possible choices for yourself and for this new family member.
My All About Puppies course covers everything you’ll need to be well-informed about puppy training and ready to raise a healthy, happy, socially-adept, and well-behaved dog.

Book a series package or begin with a consultation and then decide how you want to proceed. Call or email me, and I’ll help you put together a program that meets your needs and prepares you for those of your new puppy.

A Few of the Many Topics We’ll Cover in My All About Puppies Series Are:

Preparing for the New Puppy’s Arrival: 

Basic essentials like puppy-proofing your home and preparing the area(s) where your puppy will sleep, eat and play

Shopping Smart:
Which items do you really need for the pup’s arrival and soon after
Bite Inhibition:
How to teach your puppy not to nip/bite/mouth
Sensitization:
How to help your pup adjust to scary objects and loud noises
Nutritional Tips:
Food & treat recommendations
Toxic Substances:
Including foods, plants, and materials that are or may be caustic to your new pup
Early Socialization Tips:
The dos and don’ts about exposing very young pups to a wide variety of people, especially children, men, and strangers
Pancho Wearing His Frisbee
Teething:
How to ease your puppy’s discomfort when teething and thereby lessen the inevitable stages of puppy mouthing, nipping, and destructive chewing
Housetraining:
Including proper use of the crate, playpen, wee pads, and how and when to transition from wee pads to on-the-street elimination
Jumping Up:
Start your pup early on the road to good social habits like polite greetings, both in your home and out on the street.

When to Begin:

Soon after the dog arrives, training should start. This way, we begin with a clean slate and don’t have to correct negative behaviors.

Pre-Puppy Consultations

Matching a great dog to your own lifestyle and environment is no small feat. There’s much to consider in adding a new member to your family—realities that will make a huge difference in your life and in that of the new pup. I want you to make the best possible choice, and I encourage you, as a potential new adopter, to consult with me before selecting a puppy.
A pre-puppy consultation will give you insight and guidance about the most important information you’ll need, covering a variety of topics, such as these and many more:
What breed or mixed breed of dog is best suited to your family and lifestyle, based upon traits like temperament and activity level?
There are thousands of items in your local pet supply shop, starting with crates, gates and pens, bowls, toys, and different types of food. Learn which ones you’ll really need before bringing your puppy home, how to choose among them, and then how to best use them.
Caretaking: Can your puppy be left alone while you’re away all day at work? How about while you’re out to dinner? I’ll help you be prepared about how to give your pup the quality care he or she needs.
Making the Commitment: Adopting a puppy is a commitment to a relationship that makes you the caretaker for the life of that dog. Are you ready and able to take on the many responsibilities involved?

Behavior Issues

Sometimes, even the best-behaved dog acts badly, and often, this behavior seems to come “out of the blue.” But behavior never occurs in a vacuum. There are always contributing factors triggered by some outside event(s) or stimuli. As a trained, certified canine behaviorist working with all kinds of dogs for more than a decade, I can recognize and sort out what’s really going on.
With your input and through my observation and analysis, I’ll customize a series of intervention techniques designed for your specific situation. Then I’ll guide you through step-by-step instructions so you’ll learn how to comfortably and effectively redirect your dog’s actions and reactions, helping him or her feel less agitated or stressed.

While behavior problems can be difficult to overcome, there are almost always workable techniques that impact the situation and bring improvement. I can teach you to use effective methods that you will be able to use over time while working with your dog. Call or email me now to set up a consultation. Don’t wait! Troubled behaviors rarely just disappear.

Some Common Behavior Issues and/or Traits

New Baby

With the arrival of a new baby, life as you know it will be changed for everyone in your household, including your dog or cat. Your attention will be occupied as it never was before. There will be new smells, new sounds, new routines, and likely, new priorities. Your dog or cat may become confused, fearful, agitated, upset, or simply interested. But in any case, he or she will need to understand and learn what the new rules are and what is expected.
Easing your pet into this transition before the baby arrives is a wise thing to do. It ensures less anxiety all around, avoiding troublesome reactions and offering everyone the opportunity to get used to the new organization in daily life. Dogs adjust more quickly to new situations when they are introduced to them gradually, so it’s a good idea to ease your dog into this new arrangement and help minimize an already stressful situation.

A dog that understands the rules is much safer and happier. If your dog is not well trained, don’t wait. Get started as early as possible. If your dog is trained but doesn’t always listen, consider a refresher series or consultation. Call or email me, and together we can figure out what your household requires and put a workable plan in place.

Gus On a Couch

Advanced Dog Training

Advanced training increases your dog’s ability to respond to you regardless of distractions in any given environment or situation. The course begins with a review of your dog’s basic training skills and concentrates on correcting any problem areas. Once these are handled, I teach you how to increase your dog’s focus and response to you, using real-life situations along with the disruptions, interruptions, noise, and interferences that everyday city living presents.
During our sessions, no matter the circumstances in the immediate environment, your dog will learn to listen and respond to your commands, becoming better at filtering out distractions.
With practice, you will see her/him become more comfortable with street noise and activity and less concerned about the approach of dogs and strangers.

Some of the Lessons Covered in Advanced Training Include

Outside Exercises:

Training Tips

Coming When Called, Nipping and Jumping

Q

My dog doesn’t listen to me when I call her to come, especially if I bring out the leash. I don’t understand this because she loves to go out for walks but runs away when I bring out the leash, leaving me no alternative except to chase her. I don’t understand why she’s acting opposite from the way I know she feels.

A

First of all, never call a dog for anything she will find unpleasant. Help her associate being called with things she loves so she won’t resist, and she will respond by coming. Most dogs love to go for their walks, but they don’t like to be leashed, so instead of chasing your dog, do this: When you are ready to go for a walk, don’t call your dog. Instead, either go to her and simply put on the leash, or alternatively, wait until she is next to you, then just slip it on. Do not chase your dog as she will see this as a game and run away, sort of like playing tag.
Additionally, begin making positive associations with the leash. For instance, when you bring out the leash, give your dog a treat and then put the leash down for a moment or two. Each time the dog comes toward the leash, give her something she enjoys – a toy, a belly rub, and/or a treat. After a while, your dog will begin to look forward to having you put the leash on.

Q

My new puppy always nips at my ankles and pants when I walk around. I tell her a firm, “No,” but he only gets more excited and goes after my legs more aggressively. What can I do about this?

A

First of all, stop using the word “No.” By itself, “No” is overused, and it’s not very effective. What’s much more useful is to teach your dog specific words for each task. For example, you might teach your dog to “drop” or “let go.” Teach these easily by trading one object for another. The trade should always be for something of greater value. For instance, your dog loves to play tug with his rope toy, but his blue squeaky toy is his favorite. Start the lesson by playing tug with the rope toy, and when he has a good grip on it and is really excited, let go and pick up the squeaky toy. Make sure to make the squeaky toy much more fun. Say “drop,” and when he drops the rope toy, immediately reward by giving the squeaky toy. After a while, when he grabs your pant leg, you can say “Drop” and trade for something of higher value.
If a toy doesn’t work with the pant leg, try using higher valued treats, like fresh chicken, turkey, or cheese. If you are prepared by having these things close at hand, you will be able to seize the moment your dog misbehaves.

Q

When new people come to our door, my dog goes crazy and jumps on everyone as they enter. What can we do to get him to stop behaving like this? We want him to happily meet and greet people, but to do it without jumping on them!

A

Practice meeting and greeting by the door, both on-leash and off-leash. To start, make sure that no one comes in unless your dog stays seated. Literally, don’t let people enter your home until your dog cooperates and responds to your commands to Sit and Stay. Whenever he does sit without jumping up, reward him with treats and praise. If you absolutely cannot contain the dog at the door, try putting him in another room until the guests come in and are seated. Then bring the dog out, on-leash if necessary, and ask him to sit and stay. Instruct your guests not to pet your dog until the dog stays seated as asked.
As long as all four paws remain on the ground, reward your dog by allowing your friends to pet him and give him treats. Do this systematically, practicing often and always when people come to your door. Never encourage your dog to jump on anyone.

Virtual Training

The Pandemic has changed the way we live. Whether you live in an area I don’t travel to, or if you are concerned about your health. Virtual Training provides a safe way to address your animal’s training or behavior issues. I will let you know if your circumstances benefit from Virtual versus in-person.
Virtual sessions are 90 minutes and include a follow-up 15min consultation by phone up to 4 months after the initial consultation. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for more details.