We get a lot of similar questions in our contact emails and on the phone, so we through we would put the answers to those questions in one accessible place. (Click a question to move down the page.)
How long will it take someone to get back to my message?
Everyone at Kindred Companions is pet professional, therefore we have to take time out of our busy schedules to respond to your important messages. We are usually able to check messages 2-3 times a day but to give your requests proper attention, and a thoughtful response, it can take us upwards of 24-48 hours to respond. Email is responded the quickest. Phone messages are usually called back between 9-11am M-F. Our office is closed on weekends to allow our staff to compete and attend seminars and conferences. If you leave us a message on the weekend, please be patient, and we will get back to you Monday morning.
What type of training do you do?
All of Kindred Companions dog trainers use a methodology called LIMA. To quote the IAABC, "LIMA requires that trainers and behavior consultants use the “least intrusive, minimally aversive technique likely to succeed in achieving a training [or behavior change] objective with minimal risk of producing adverse side effects.” It is also a competence criterion, requiring that trainers and behavior consultants be adequately trained and skilled in order to ensure that the least intrusive and aversive procedure is in fact used." For more information about LIMA an our commitment to only the best and most effective training available, visit IAABC's LIMA Position Statement.
What goes on at a consultation?
Consultations are 90 minutes long. To make your session as efficient and successful as possible we will ask you to please have your pet away when we arrive. This protects your pet from getting loose, being destructive, or injuring other people, pets or our trainers prior to the start of formal training. Please do not leave your pet out to "show the trainer your problems". Your trainer will set up appropriate scenarios to see behaviors if necessary.
When your trainer arrives, they will ask that they sit down with you and go over any questions they may have from information collected in our pre-session questionnaire. After the this brief information gathering period, your trainer will ask to meet your dog. Please follow any instructions they give you. Once they have met your dog and assessed what training will take place, they will immediately begin instruction you on the exercises to be used to work on the behavior problems. At the end of the session your trainer will discuss if any additional training is recommended and if so, what that would entail.
What are your classes like?
Kindred Companions offers a wide range of classes. We offer family pet classes, skills classes, sport classes, and behavior modification classes. Family pet classes cover puppy and basic obedience, as well as advanced obedience for public spaces, Therapy Dog training, and the AKC Canine Good Citizen exam. Our Skills classes cover specific themes such as "Come When Called" or pulling on leash. These classes are 4 week intensives. Sport classes open the door to a whole new world of training and interacting with your dog. We offer classes in Scent Discrimination, Competition Obedience, Rally, and more! Our Behavior Modification classes are for dogs dealing with aggression or fearfulness and owners who need more structured opportunities to practice.
All Kindred Companions classes are held in public or semi public environments. We do this on purpose. Too often dogs take a class in a sterile school or teaching area away from real life distractions. While this can be reinforcing for the owner to see their dog immediately shine, it doesn't teach the dog much except how to behave in a completely sterile space. Instead we teach dogs how to behave in real life immediately. Owners also learn how to maintain and build on class experiences so their dog can behave anywhere.
What is day training?
Day training is the solution for the busy dog owner. For owners who can't put in the practice to train their dog throughout the week, we will come do the training for you. Training is done for one hour in your home or place of business, 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks. Day training is only sold as a package along with one-on-one coaching sessions to keep you informed and up to date with your dog's training.
Do you offer pet sitting or boarding?
Kindred Companions no longer offers pet sitting services. On very special occasions some of our trainers offer board and train services but we do not offer general boarding.
Do you offer board and train services?
On rare occasions when one of our trainers is not scheduled to compete or be away at a conference or workshop, they may be available for board and train services. These services are offered on a very exclusive case by case basis. All board and train candidates must be crate trained, sleep through the night, and show only mild aggression towards people or other dogs. All board and train stays must be for a minimum of two weeks.
What can I expect from training?
"You get out what you put in." - Molly Sumridge - Head Trainer
We will teach you the industries best techniques for both training new behaviors and modifying bad ones. However it is up to the owner to comply with training instructions, practice regularly and to communicate with their trainer when a problem arises.
My dog bites. Does that exclude them from training?
Not at all! Our head trainer Molly Sumridge specializes in working with dogs who react aggressively or have bitten people or other animals. Dogs with bite histories are also welcome in classes once they have received individual training and are approved by their instructor.
My dog is fearful, excitable, rude, hyper, etc.
Does that exclude them from training?
All of our trainers are sensitive to the many behavior challenges dogs can have. None of these characteristics exclude a dog from private training. Our classes are also a fine place for dogs with many of these challenges but we recommend inquiring prior to registering to ensure the environment is appropriate for your dog's needs.
My dog is very friendly. How can I make them a therapy dog?
A lot of work goes into creating a therapy dog. It is much more than a sweet, loving, temperament, though that is important. A therapy dog starts with a calm or outgoing dog who likes people. If your dog is fearful of people we do not recommend to seek out this work for your dog. After temperament is taken into consideration, the next factor is manners and obedience training. Your dog must be comfortable performing obedience skills in a public place as well as demonstrate calm manners with people and other dogs in variety of situations. If your dog does in fact like people but needs work on the elements, that's okay! We offer classes to teach your dog the obedience and manners required for therapy dog work. If you think your dog is ready, we recommend you check the test here to make sure your dog knows all the elements. We offer testing quarterly and when we have a testing date available it is listed in our events calendar.
My dog is super smart. He doesn't need training, does he?
We think it is fantastic your dog is super smart! We love smart dogs! But regardless of whether a dog is smart or not, all dogs benefit from training. Training has come a very long way in the past 50 years. Methods thought tried and true have fallen by the wayside. Some ideas that were popular just 5 or 10 years ago have been found to be not as good as once thought. So there is a chance if you are training or even interacting with your dog the way you have in generations past, we have some amazing new stuff for you! Plus, FYI - Less than 5% of dogs receive professional training yet 60% of dogs are surrendered to shelters for behavior problems. That's over a million dogs given up for behavior problems. Remember - Training is super valuable even if you don't think you need it right now.
I've taken puppy or basic class.
Does my dog really need more training?
It's totally up to you. If you plan to keep your pet in your home 99% of the time and never take them out in public and never have people over, than you're probably fine. But if you want to enjoy this huge world we live in together, going to the pet store, the vet, a town festival, the dog park or even a boarding kennel, than yes, more training will be worth it.
A friend told me dog training is unregulated.
How do I know you are a good trainer?
Your friend is right. There is no federal, state, or industry license for dog training. All titles and certifications are either made up or awarded by industry organizations. Some titles and certifications are quite impressive while others are red flags. Dog trainers with the letters CDBC have past some of the most rigorous testing in the industry. The letters KPA-CTP, CPDT-KSA, and CBCC-KA also hold high industry standards. CPDT-KA is the base that all professionals should by trying to obtain. Almost anything else are either letters from a vocational type school, single course certificate program, or made up. Buyer beware of anyone calling themselves a "Behaviorist" or a "Master Dog Trainer". The former should be reserved only for veterinary behaviorists and those with a Master or Doctorate in a behavior or ecology field. The latter doesn't mean anything and anyone can call themselves any version of it.
All Kindred Companions trainers are either CDPT-KA, CPDT-KSA, or working to obtain it within their first year of employment with our company. All trainers working with aggressive or fearful dogs are CDBC or are working under the observation of one. All our staff are required to attend continuing education programs yearly, maintain their professional certifications, and find opportunities to expand their knowledge through either dog sports, therapy work or search and rescue. All helpers are direct apprentices of our Head Trainer - Molly Sumridge and have no contact with client dogs unless directly supervised.