At Wag The Dog, we offer a distinctly different kind of training from the average dog trainer - even the average positive reinforcement trainer. Our training is not mere operant conditioning. We employ social learning, cognitive psychology, and modern research on canine cognition in our training.
That doesn't mean that we are good fit for every person. Please feel free to read through our site and our articles to get a better idea of who we are and how we train. You can also check out our review page. If we feel right for you - then great, please do apply for our programs. If not, don't worry.
There are lots of great trainers in BC. You'll find the right one for you.
We recommend one of two solutions:
1. Try to rearrange your schedule to fit us in, the way you would with any other professional appointment. We often book up a month ahead of time so you'll have lots of time to prepare.
2. Ask us for recommendations for other trainers in your area who might have a schedule that fits with yours better. It's our loss, and we'll take our lumps and send you to another respected professional without complaint!
Our group classes are more like field trips - they exist to let our clients practice what they've learned in new places and with other dogs, plus as an opportunity to socialize and meet other dog guardians. The trainer's attention has to be split between three or four different people.
We cannot teach you new skills properly in such a high distraction setting, without neglecting the other members of the class.
1. Due to high demand, we've had to prioritize our service dog clients over pet dogs.
2. We're still taking puppies because the puppy period is such a vital time - we want every puppy to get the best start possible. Puppies can't wait. Adults can.
3. There are TONS of fantastic trainers in our area! We can refer you to someone closer to you, who is perfectly capable of helping with barking, leash manners and so on. But there aren't many who can help your dog learn to predict your migraines or tell you what they'd like to do today, so we focus on those things.
We are not a certifying body. While we wish the world were more dog-friendly and that you could have your dog in your condo or in the cabin of the plane, we can't help make that happen.
What we do is help disabled people train their own service dogs to the point where they are able to be certified by the BC Government.
Many of our clients have psychiatric or neurological disabilities, and their dogs perform a wide range of vital tasks to help them, from predicting psychosis to interrupting self-harm.
This goes far beyond the role of an "emotional support dog" to a vital medical aid. That's what we do and we can help you teach your own dog.
Look. We are very good dog trainers. We aren't going to mince words about it. We also love to be wrong. Carol told a client that her Great Pyrenees/Probably-Wolf-Hybrid puppy was unlikely to be sociable enough to do service work, and he turned out to be a total love bug.
Dogs are individuals.
But genetics do matter. We also don't take money from disabled people for funsies.
If we think your dog is not going to enjoy the work you want from them, we won't help you work towards it. If we think it is possible, but will take an extraordinary amount of patience and work on your part, we will be clear about it. Also, when our client roster is overflowing, we will prioritize applicants who are most likely to succeed, which means we may pick the person with the Golden Retriever Wheelchair Dog over the person with the Anatolian Shepherd Therapy Dog.
We hope this FAQ page will help you out. If you think we might be a good fit for you, please submit an application. If you want to schedule a phone consult let us know and we'll help you schedule that into our workday.
If you are looking for advice on what breed of dog is best for your family we would be delighted to help you. Many of the dogs who end up in shelters are not bad dogs, just didn't end up with the right family. There are no good and bad breeds, only bad match-making.
When you are considering breeds, think about what that breed was bred to do and ask yourself if you are looking for a dog to do that thing. Sheep herding dogs are going to chase things. Sheep guarding dogs are going to be suspicious of anyone who isn't in their immediate family. Retrievers are going to carry the leash in their mouths. Huskies are going to run for miles, and if you don't let them, they'll escape your ten-foot-tall fenced yard and run themselves.
Without knowing you or your situation at all, our best recommendation to you would be either a Golden Retriever or a Standard Poodle. These versatile dogs can fit into virtually any situation with a little help and patience. Beyond that... get in touch with us and arrange a phone consult. We want to help.