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Frequently Asked Questions

General

Q: Aren’t you the lady that made collars?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you still make collars?

A: No. My machine broke! It was too expensive to fix so I moved on to the next part of my business plan.

Q: Where are you located?

A: I don’t have a location yet, so I travel between Beckley and Lewisburg and the surrounding areas. 

 

Q: Do you travel to where I am?

A: Possibly! Send me a message, and we’ll find out.

 

Q: What makes you qualified to train pets?

I’ve spent the last five years working on my formal education and volunteering to train a variety of pets. Five years doesn’t sound like a lot, but my philosophy is to always continue my education, so you’ll always be getting the most up-to-date information for training and behavior. Also, training is more about teaching you to train your pet, and I have over 10 years of teaching experience with a variety of ages.

Training

Q: Do you train therapy dogs?

A: Not at this time. However, I do train the skills from the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test, which would be great preparation for participating in a therapy dog program.

A therapy dog is different from a service dog. If you need help training a service dog, I can help you train essential function tasks, but I do require that the dog has passed the CGC and already had at least one year of public access training before we begin.

I do not certify or endorse therapy, service, or emotional support animals. Misrepresenting a dog as a service dog in order to take advantage of related laws is a federal crime. I reserve the right to refuse to work with you on service- or therapy-related tasks if your dog displays fearful or aggressive behavior.

Q: X person is cheaper than you. Why is that?

A: Cheaper doesn’t always mean better. My programs include significantly more features than most, including phone and email support, a private Facebook group, a year of monthly brush up lessons, and more. I think you’ll find these features improve your experience and results compared to the typical one hour, once a week for six weeks class format that is most common.

 

Q: What is your training philosophy?

A: I am a positive reinforcement trainer, and I ascribe to the idea of “no pain, no force, no fear, no intimidation.” There are simple, effective, humane ways to train our pets, and I choose to use those to enhance our relationships with our pets. You wouldn’t smash a jar you like with a hammer if you could simply reach what you needed with a pair of tweezers. With positive training you get both the things you want–the unsmashed jar (your pet and their personality) and the thing you were reaching for with those tweezers (good, healthy behavior).

 

Q: What is positive reinforcement training?

A: Positive reinforcement training is where we reward good behavior to encourage more of it.

 

Q: What about the bad behavior?

A: You’ll find that “bad” behavior quickly vanishes when an animal realizes they can be rewarded for other behaviors.

Q: Does training with you mean I’ll have to give my pet treats all the time?

A: That depends on the level you take your training to and the “treats” your pet likes. In the beginning, you’ll use lots of treats, but you can work toward using play and toys as “treats” as well. The very dedicated among us can reach a level where they can have a “payday” at the end of the week, but that’s not necessary to enjoy life with your pet.

 

Q: Shouldn’t my pet just do what I ask because they love me?

A: When you were a kid, how often did you do things for your parents “just because you loved them”? We all have different things that motivate us. We get much faster results with food treats because food satisfies one of your pet’s basic needs.

 

Q: What’s a clicker? Do I have to use one?

A: A clicker is a small mechanical device that makes a click noise when you press a button. We can train our pets to understand that the click noise means that what they were doing when they heard the noise was correct and that they’re about to get a treat for it.

You don’t have to use a clicker if you don’t want. We can give the same meaning to any word or noise we want, so you can decide what works best for you.

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Brenda Ballast

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John Doe

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Behavior Consulting

Q: What is behavior consulting?

A: Behavior consulting is for when you have a problem with something your pet is doing like barking when someone knocks on the door, lunging at dogs while walking on leash, pottying in the house, cats scratching furniture or attacking your guests, etc. I help you manage the situation to make things livable while we work on improving the behavior through training and possibly some counterconditioning or desensitization. You don’t have to remember any of the terms though! I make everything easy to understand so you can just DO it and get back to a happy place with your pet.

 

Q: Why do you charge for behavior consultations? It’s just a consultation!

A: It’s never just a consultation with me! At very least, you’ll walk away with tips to manage your pet’s problem behavior (which sometimes is enough for owners!), and at best, you’ll be preparing to embark on a plan to improve your and your pet’s life.

However, I do discount 50% of the consultation fee from the cost of the package if you sign up for the package within a week of your initial consultation appointment.

 

Q: Why do you require a veterinary health check before we start on the behavior plan?

A: Some behavior problems can be attributed to pain or illness. I don’t want your pet to suffer unnecessarily or to waste your time trying to train away a problem that actually just needs a round of antibiotics, arthritis medication, etc. Getting the health check may save you money in the long run! Plus, if the behavior problem resolves after help from your vet, you can always join me later for some fun training like tricks or manners!

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