Frequently Asked Questions

What are your rates?

Our prices for each program are given on the page about that program. To find the rate for our puppy program, for example, simply read the page about our puppy program and you will find the rates at the bottom of the page. You can find a list of our available programs on our home page.

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Where are you located?

Our Lower Mainland trainer works out of Port Coquitlam and covers most of Greater Vancouver. Our Fraser Valley trainer is located in Hope and serves Chilliwack as well, but she is on maternity leave right now!

Are you a positive reinforcement trainer?


More specifically, we are ethical, humane, science-based, force-free trainers. We know that dogs are sapient beings with their own feelings, personalities, and rights.

We know from long experience that dogs can be reasoned with and taught with compassion and empathy, and that we don't need to use pain, fear, or coercion of any kind to enlist their cooperation.

We go beyond behaviorism to examining the dog-human bond and working on the connection and communication between the two.

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 attachment theory, social learning, cognitive psychology, and modern research on canine cognition in our positive, force-free, and research-based methods.

We are educated, experienced, and certified. We are AnimalKind accredited by the BC SPCA's world-renowned program - a rare example of regulation in a largely unregulated field.

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Can I call you on the phone and get you to tell me how to train my dog for free?

We no longer return unscheduled phone calls from prospective clients. We receive enquiries every day, and calling everyone back became an unpaid second job which took a lot of time away from our families and paying clients. 

However, you can email or text us from our Contact Us page, or if you are interested in a particular program you can schedule a time to talk to us about it so we can find out if you are a good fit for it.

Which Program Is Right For Me?

Which statement below fits you best?

"I am getting a puppy/I have a dog under 4 months of age."

You want our Puppy Prodigy Program. This will help give your puppy the best possible start during this crucial time of brain development.

"I have a teenage or adult dog who I am hoping to train as a service dog."

You want our Owner-Trainer Foundations Program. This will prepare you and your dog for Service Dog Certification Preparation, for which the Foundations Program or our Puppy Program are prerequisites.

"I have a pet dog who is misbehaving."

Please check out the list of excellent trainers on the AnimalKind website to find a trainer in your area.

Do you do video sessions?

Does a dog roll in bear poo? Of course we do! 

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.

What are your hours?

Excellent question! Carol and Amelia are trying to achieve a goal known as "a day off", but we aren't always successful at it. We are both parents, and keep most evenings to spend with our families. We are therefore generally available during "school hours" and at least one day on the weekend. Our availability fills up quickly, however, so please do plan ahead and try to book a month or so in advance to ensure you get the dates that work best for you.

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I work the same hours and days as you do. Can you make an exception for me and fit me into an evening?

We're really sorry that your work schedule doesn't mesh well with ours. Unfortunately our trainers need to maintain a work-life balance that fits our families' needs.

If you are unable to make time in your schedule for us, we can refer you to another well respected trainer. 

Can I just do group classes with you without private sessions?

No, sorry.

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.

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I want basic obedience but can't find it on your site.

We aren't big on obedience.

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.

Currently we are focusing on puppyhood and service dogs, but there are plenty of excellent dog trainers out there for your basic needs :-)

Can you really teach my dog to talk using buttons?

Absolutely! We love helping dogs communicate with their owners better and recordable buttons are a great way to do that. They aren't the only way, though. We can also teach your dog to answer yes or no questions, identify people and objects from pictures, and more.

Can you certify my emotional support 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.

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Can you help me train my Alaskan KleeKai to be my Mobility Support Dog?

Okay, so this SPECIFICALLY isn't a frequently asked question, but we DO often get asked some variation of "Can you help me train my very unsuitable breed to do task this breed would hate doing/be physically incapable of doing?

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.

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What breed of dog should I get?

This question isn't asked as frequently as we would like. People tend to contact us after the fact to ask us why their Australian Cattle Dog is nipping at their kids, why their Belgian Shepherd is snapping at people, or why their Husky keeps pulling on leash walks.

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.

Am I Safe With You?

The only thing we don't tolerate is intolerance. We love our queer, trans, indigenous, and disabled clients.

We believe that all people deserve respect and empathy. We abhor violence both verbal and physical, and will never use it or tolerate it in our interactions with humans or dogs.

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We work on land which was taken from the nations who had lived here for thousands of years. They are still here and they are still waiting patiently for us to stop being jerks about it.

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