Find a dog behavior specialist near you

Find a dog behavior specialist near you

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Find a dog behavior specialist near you

100+ near you

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Top 10 dog behavior specialists near you

Avatar for PackFit Lorton, VA Thumbtack
Avatar for PackFit Lorton, VA Thumbtack
6. PackFit
4.6 from 38 reviews
4.6 (38)
4.6 (38)
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We immediately booked an Initial Behavioral Assessment and Consultation (I.B.A.C.). The two-hour session that we had with Kimberly was amazing in that right away she could recognize where the deep-rooted issues were with our dog, as well as the deep-rooted issues in how we had learned to treat dogs in general. In our past we both had well adjusted, rather large doofy dogs who were happy to just lie on the floor and wag their tail whenever someone walked by. Daisy, on the other hand, is a high-energy speck that’s probably smarter than a fifth grader. Simply hugging away the neuroses wasn’t going to work, and it showed in her behavior. We opted for the Stay and Learn program so that Kimberly could rebuild Daisy’s foundation. Two weeks of doggy boot camp where we feared Daisy would wreak havoc inside the Casa de Artley. Wrong again. Kimberly sent us constant photos and videos showcasing our dog walking calmly on the leash rather than pulling. Sitting down next to another dog without snarling or nipping. Being walked by a child without having a total meltdown. Kimberly sent me a video of Daisy sitting down, calmly minding her own business while the dreaded vacuum cleaner was being run in the same room. Seeing our dog behave like this in such a short time gave us such hope that inside that tiny little weirdo was a well-adjusted little weirdo just waiting to get out. Her methods don’t just include the dog either. She has worked closely with us, answering all of our texts and emails with patience and informative guidance. Kimberly has been our best investment and I cannot recommend her enough. She has done what we thought was impossible: taken away a timid, obsessive dog and returned a confident, calm dog that no longer thinks our cat is the devil himself. She’s taken the hope we had for a happy fur-family and made it into a reality. A reality that involves work from us but work that we’re more than happy to put in based on the return we’re getting.
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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

Which dog training method is best?

The best type of dog training for both you and your dog depends on the outcomes you hope to achieve. If you want your dog to learn agility training, go to someone who specializes in those techniques. Regardless of whether you want your dog to learn basic behavior or competitive-level tricks, the majority of dog training is actually about training the owner how to communicate with their dog. Most professional dog trainers agree that a model of training based on positive reinforcement breeds a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog. The alternative to positive reinforcement training is using force or aggression techniques like physical punishment or shock-collar training to get the dog to do (or not do) a behavior. While the dog may learn how to behave as you direct, it is also learning to communicate with force and aggression, and will in turn use those behaviors on other dogs (or people) that are smaller or weaker than it is. Before signing up with a dog trainer, meet with the trainer and ask for references. Watch the trainer interact with your dog, and make sure they treat your dog with patience and firm kindness. Ask them questions about their training methods:

  • What type of training methods do you use?
  • What is your background and training, and how did you become a dog trainer?
  • How long do you expect that we will work together before we achieve the results I’m after?

How long does it take to train a puppy?

Dog training depends on the dog and how much homework the dog owner is willing to put in. Puppy training is similar to dog training in that the onus of the work depends on the owner learning new ways to interact with their dog. For a quick crash course, you can opt for a single, two hour smart-start puppy training consultation to teach you the ins and outs of being a new dog parent. You can learn how to manage potty training and what to do if the puppy experiences separation anxiety. As long as you’re willing to work on dog training a little bit each day, your puppy will quickly learn these new behaviors. If you’re not confident about training your puppy yourself, you can enroll in a 6- to 8-week puppy training course, with weekly lessons touching on everything from bite control to obedience. Puppies usually need to be at least three months old for group training classes. If you want more intensive one-on-one work, you can opt for private lessons. Some behavior problems can be resolved in one session if the dog owner learns and can implement new skills. In the case of more serious issues, 3 to 10 private sessions can typically correct challenges.

How old should a puppy be for training?

Dog training shouldn’t wait until you’re having behavior problems. If you get a new puppy, start from the beginning with professional training to give both you and your puppy the tools you need for a healthy relationship. Dog training is as much about teaching the owner how to interact with their new dog as it is about the dog learning to behave. Puppy training can start as early as eight weeks old. Trainers who offer puppy training programs may works specifically with dogs between the ages of 8 and 18 weeks old. Trainers can teach owners about potty training and how to deal with accidents, working with separation anxiety, and training your pooch out of destructive behaviors like chewing, biting and demand barking. Puppies will start to learn to walk on-leash and other basic skills.

In addition to behavior training, socializing your puppy is an important part of dog training. Socializing your dog means they become comfortable and confident in a variety of settings and have a great foundation for becoming a well-adjusted adult dog. After your puppy has had the proper vaccinations, you can start to introduce it to a variety of different dogs and people in safe settings.

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