At One Smart Dog we offer a complete range of behavior services. Our behavior consultants have extensive training and experience addressing a variety of issues and we put a focus on helping you build a strong, positive relationship between you and your dog, that will last a lifetime. These private sessions are suitable for any dog, from the new puppy to the senior, new rescues that need a bit of help adjusting to their new home, or established family members that need to work on a few skills to help everyone live in harmony.
We define behavior services in two categories, simple and complex. Simple behavior sessions may include life skills such as walking on a loose leash, polite greetings, stealing food, house training or dog-dog introductions. While complex behaviors will include dog-dog aggression, human-directed aggression, resource guarding, or separation anxiety.
Arrange a Behavior Consult
The first step is to fill out our intake form. Our behavior team will review the form and someone will reach out to you within 48hrs of submission.
At that time our team may have several recommendations:
- We may suggest a class. We offer a number of classes that will address simple behavior issues and sometimes a class environment is the most affordable way to address these. If you have a dog that needs a few simple life skills such as learning appropriate behavior when on a walk, our Trek & Train, might be the right program for you. If you prefer a private lesson for any reason of course our team will be happy to arrange that.
- We may suggest you visit your veterinarian first. Often medical issues can present as behavioral, and it’s important that we rule these out prior to training. For example, a dog that is in pain may growl when a human touches them, this is just one way dogs communicate that they are uncomfortable. It’s important that we meet the dog’s physical needs by treating the pain before trying to modify their behavior. If you’re at all unsure if the behavior you are seeing may have a medical cause we always recommend a vet visit to start.
- We may suggest an assessment. The first step in any behavior plan is an assessment, which may be in-home or at our facility. If your dog has recently been seen by a veterinarian, and either you prefer private training or the behavior you are looking for help with is not appropriate for a class setting our team will reach out by phone or email to schedule your assessment.
What to Expect
Your assessment can be at your home or our facility.
We will try our best to accommodate your requests, however, there are circumstances where our consultant may need to recommend a different location. As an example, your dog may be comfortable greeting strangers outside the home but jumps on guests in the home. In situations like this, the behavior may be specific to the environment. Your consultant will help you determine that and find ways to set your dog up for success within that environment.
You may need multiple sessions, we cannot determine in advance exactly how many.
Behavior services are tailored to meet the needs of you and your dog. For some dogs, this may mean we will recommend one or two sessions, and you may then have the information, skills, and confidence to address the issue on your own. However many issues will require multiple sessions over a period of weeks to months. Learning a new skill takes time and our goal is to not only teach you how to manage the situation but to help your dog develop healthy habits, so you can feel confident your dog will make the right choices even when you’re not by their side.
Your behavior consultant is there to support you along the way. They will provide both hands-on ‘homework’ and written information to assist you. The speed at which you progress and having a successful outcome depends a great deal on consistency and commitment to these new habits you and your dog are learning. If you are having difficulty implementing the plan they’ve outlined or have questions about it ask for help. We’re committed to your success!
For complex issues involving dog aggression, we will begin with a number of recommendations to manage the situation prior to training. Our goal is to keep everyone safe. If your dog has a history of aggression or if you’re at all unsure about how to safely navigate a situation please inform our team in advance. We may begin with muzzle training, leash training, or setting up the environment with barriers such as fencing in order to provide that extra level of safety so everyone can feel comfortable and work together.
What to Bring
For your first in-person session we ask that you bring a number of bite-sized delicious treats for your dog. We want them to see training as fun and exciting. Training should feel like going to a pizza party with your best friends – we want you and your dog to love it! Just like when hosting a pizza party it’s always best to have extra on hand than to risk running out of food, so when you’re preparing for your session grab extra, your dog will love you for it!
If your dog is on a special or restricted diet for medical reasons please inform your consultant on your intake form, and please include a few details about when they were diagnosed or when they last saw a veterinarian. As many medical issues can present as behavioral we want to ensure that we are following your veterinarian’s instructions and meeting your dog’s medical needs first.
Please ensure your dog is on a leash no longer than 6ft long and that the leash is attached to a flat buckle collar or harness. If your dog is a bite risk, difficult to handle on a flat collar or harness, or you feel there are safety concerns please include that in your behavior intake form. At that time your consultant may recommend a muzzle, using gates or fencing, or other ways to set up the environment so that everyone, including your dog, can feel comfortable and safe for their first meeting.
A treat pouch and clicker! When training we primarily use marker-based training, this is essentially a method to communicate with the dog when they’ve done something right. We “mark” the correct behavior and then offer a treat or something really fun to help build positive associations. This is what is commonly referred to as positive reinforcement training. If you do not have a clicker and would like to use one let us know, we have them available at the One Smart Dog store. If you’re uncomfortable with a clicker or unable to use one for any reason that’s no problem, your trainer can help you find a suitable alternative marker.
Have additional questions? Please see our FAQ or contact our help desk, we’re here to help!