At Wag The Dog, we offer a distinctly different kind of training from the average dog trainer - even the average positive reinforcement trainer. We employ social learning, cognitive psychology, and modern research on canine cognition in our positive, force-free, and science-based methods.We are educated, experienced, and certified. We do not need to resort to any form of force, fear, or punishment to get cooperation from the dogs we work with.
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.
While we encourage our clients to meet each other at online group check ins and fun bark-in-the-park sessions, and while our service dog clients sometimes participate in group field trips to help their dogs practice in the presence of other dogs, our training sessions are private.
We are the kind of trainers who support you 24/7. Our clients know they can reach out to us when they need us, not just during the one hour we are in your home. But we want to keep our training accessible to everyone, so we offer a variety of options to help our clients find the one that works best for their needs and their budget.
You can commit to helping your dog by paying in advance for a package of training sessions, thus committing yourself to the change. Most trainers offer this option, and we do, too.
But not everyone has the cash up front to pay for a big package.
Monthly memberships ensure two things:
1. A set monthly budget dedicated to training your dog.
2. A good deal! Memberships provide variety of ways to get your money's worth - from distance group check ins to training sessions at a price half of the listed price or less. A basic membership is less than the cost of a single training session, and yet it grants you two private sessions and hours of trainer-time on top of that.
Before the pandemic we had no idea how to work Zoom but we've figured it out now! Zoom has basically become a survival skill, hasn't it?
Wherever you are we are happy to have you join the Wag the Dog family and we will happily coach you by distance to the best of our ability.
If you are unable to make time in your schedule for us, we can refer you to another well respected trainer.
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.
Don't get us wrong - our goal is always to have polite dogs who quickly and eagerly do what their owners ask them to do. But to us, that's not obedience. That's etiquette, good friendship, and teamwork.
After all, if you ask your friend to help you move, and they show up with a truck and cheerfully lug furniture all day, do you describe them as obedient? Or awesome?
We want dogs to be awesome.
What you really want is a dog you can take for a walk and doesn't jump all over your grandmother when she comes to visit. Heck, that's manners.
You want a dog who comes back when you call them? That's about your relationship.
Plus we'd like it if your dog picked up their toys, sniffed out your phone for you, and could say "love you" with the push of a button, too.
Let's wag your dog.
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.
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.