Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I have been told that your methods are very similar to those of Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer, how does this differ from other methods?
Answer: Although I've received my certifications at the San Francisco SPCA's Academy for Dog Trainers, I met Cesar years ago before he became as huge as he is today. What I learned from his methods and experience about the "Dynamics of a Pack" became the foundation of my method. Like Cesar I rarely use food, treats or clickers to rehabilitate dogs.
I am truly grateful to Cesar, who as a skilled Dog Whisperer, provides hope for dogs and owners who otherwise feel there is no hope! Cesar Millan "gets" dogs and understands the importance of balance and calmness in the lives that dogs share with humans. Cesar has been a tremendous influence in my training, education and overall approach to dealing with dogs, dog owners and their problems.
Question: Can you tell me about your Experience and Education?
Answer: I have always loved animals... always! particularly Dogs, Wolves and Horses. Growing up I had almost every domestic (and not so domestic) animal you could think of. In the late 1990's I made the commitment to work with dogs and their owners professionally. After years of field study I attended the San Francisco Academy for Dog Trainers which is part of the Renowned San Francisco SPCA. After finishing my requirements there I recieved my Certification in Behavior Counselling. I then completed my Dog Aggression Internship Program also at the San Francisco SPCA where I received an additional Certification and Specialization in Dog Aggression.
I have been retained by the San Francisco Department of Child Protective Services to evaluate, train and make recommendations on the safety and risks of re-uniting problem dogs and their families. I have appeared in TV Special Segments and can be seen on National News specials and Local News programs discussing dog issues ranging from Police Dogs that Bite Civilians to the rehabilitation and re-homing possibilities of Convicted NFL Quarterback Michael Vick's Pit Bulls.
Question: What are your Areas of Expertise?
Answer: Although I do teach Dog Obedience at all levels, I specialize in "Unacceptable and Problematic Behaviors". Specializing in the field of Dog Aggression , most of my cases involve Dog Aggression (human and canine), Separation Anxiety, Fearful behavior, Phobias and Disorders, House Training, Barking, Uncalm energy, Chewing, Growling, Guarding, Jumping and Obedience problems.
I deal with a lot of the dogs that other trainers won't or can't deal with! I deal with many dogs that bite humans and attack other dogs. I Have Specially Trained Dogs that I use to Counter Condition these Negative Associations. If you want to address Dog Aggression, you have to be willing to get your fair share of Bites! I Get Bit Often! Most dog trainers and dog behaviorists simply won't do this.
Question: Do you use Food and Treats with your Training Method?
Answer: No! I do not use food or treats as rewards. This is a personal preference that is often debated. I am a Positive Reward Based dog trainer who practices a method of "Pack Dynamics". I strongly believe that the way Canids lived thousands of years ago and still live today in the wild is what is best for our young (14,000 years) domestic dogs. I know that a well balanced and well trained dog will perform and do his part to keep the pack a well functioning social group. In our country Dog Obesity (like human obesity) is on the rise at alarming rates, I blame this in part on our dogs addiction to treats for every performed behavior. I compare the constant "Bribing" with treats to the child who is given money every time he does his homework or doesn't beat up his little brother. Children and dogs who are shaped to learn this way often develop a "What's in it for me Attitude" and may not respond if the "Expected" reward is not present.
If you don't think you can Get a Dog to Perform Perfectly without Treats... ask to see my dogs.
Question: Do you come to our home or can we send our dog to you?
Answer: Since most behavioral issues involve a lack of Clear Communication and Leadership, both the dog as well as the owner/handler need to be involved in all Training and Counter Conditioning Processes so the training is almost always done at your home. I do accept dogs to my "Rehab Resort". More information about the Rehab Resort can be found at the Board & Train page, Having the whole family involved is always required . Your home is supposed to be a calm and quiet sanctuary that may be compromised by any unwanted behaviors your dog may be doing. Home is the nucleus of "The Pack", respect of the home and all invited guests is important. As highly social animals, it is at home where the pack recharges their bodies, minds and souls, it is where they eat, rest and strengthen the bonds and hierachy within the group.
Question: Do you have Flat Fees? Do you charge hourly or per session? Do you provide a Guarantee?
Answer: Rather than charge by the hour or per session, I charge a Flat Fee to Train your Dog or to Rehabilitate or Counter Condition your Dogs Behavioral Problems and Negative Associations. This is usually done in two sessions, the first visit is 3 hours long. The follow up visit is 2 hours. In between these visits we stay in contact regularly by phone or e-mail so I can hear your feedback often and make changes and adjustments as needed or neccessary. After the second visit I provide Lifetime Support for you, your Dog and your Environment. Dogs are animals that are extremely sensitive to even the most minute changes to their environment! The human environment Never stops changing! with these changes there are often behavioral ramifications. When there is Never a Charge for Live Support with me, you'll be more likely to call at the first sign of problems or unwanted behaviors. This is important because the sooner we address these new behaviors, the quicker they start to regress and disappear. I would estimate that I spend between Six to Nine hours on average with each client for One Flat Fee based on your particular situation and challenges.
Your dog ages at a much more accelerated rate than humans. Developing new behaviors (both good and bad) are an ongoing process throughout a dogs life. Understanding exactly how to Stop the behaviors you don't like and encouraging your dog to Repeat those behaviors you do like will make the relationship between your dog and your family more Manageable as well as more Rewarding.
I feel that to Guarantee Results without seeing a particular dog and its problems would be a disservice to my clients, I will say that it is very rare that I cannot Completely Rehabilitate or Drastically improve most Behavioral Problems. I will also let you know prior to taking your case if I feel that your results or goals might be difficult to acheive.