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3. Perfect Poochies
Top Pro
from 71 reviews
  • 2 years in business
  • 129 hires on Thumbtack
"Choosing the right trainer is a difficult and overwhelming task. The following is my experience with Kathryn and Perfect Poochies. Summarized: Kathryn is amazing. I have a whole new skillset at my disposal. My dog is calmer, has less anxiety and if new issues surface, I am better prepared to deal with them. If you are a new dog owner looking for a starting point or find yourself struggling with any number of unwanted behavioral issues, she can help. Kathryn is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, versatile and patient. She was never condescending or judgmental while helping me understand areas I needed to improve. She has an uncanny ability to understand dogs and what makes them tick. Once she gets to know you and your dog, she will provide an honest assessment of what she considers to be the underlying issue(s) and lays out a plan for correcting or managing it. The love she puts into her work is evident in everything she does from designing your personalized sessions, her regular follow-up and her encouragement to reach out any time you have questions or issues. Detailed: I am a first-time dog owner. Our 18-month, 170-pound Great Dane, Odin has been part of our family since he was 2-months old. We immediately enrolled in the first two puppy training classes at Pet-Smart. Our family has consistently applied what we learned. Everything was going great with Odin until somewhere around 7-months of age. Odin would occasionally start barking at a person for no apparent reason. This behavior gradually increased to include anyone reaching into his face, unexpected fast movements and large groups of people swarming in on him. We solicited advice from our Pet-Smart trainer and studied tons of training materials – books, training guides, Internet. Some of the techniques we tried helped, but if Odin was truly upset, the only thing we could do was apologize and leave. Odin remained excellent with dogs and children but the number of adults that triggered his barking was increasing. During the summer, I was having work done on my car and I brought Odin because there were plenty of paths nearby. It took longer than expected for the car to be finished and when we returned Odin was exhausted. A young man approached, and I quickly warned about Odin’s anxiety and in his over-tired state, his behavior would probably be worse than normal. The man assured me that he had experience with dogs, and slowly bent down near Odin, leaving plenty of space and not making eye contact. He gave Odin time to get used to him and smell him and soon enough Odin was comfortable and enjoying being petted. Unfortunately, when the man was ready to leave, he jumped up which surprised/scared Odin who then also jumped up and started lunging, growling and barking at him. The man was very kind and understanding, but it was time to seek out professional help. I searched online for trainers and dog-behaviorists and there were a number of options. As we were trying to choose one, I remembered a friendly and outgoing woman who had hosted a free local dog training session. Odin seemed comfortable around her, so I reached out to see if she would be interested in private training sessions. The woman was Kathryn of Perfect Poochies. Not only did she offer private training, but she had ample experience with large dogs and the exact behavior I described. Our first training session involved getting to know our family and Odin. She asked questions about what we were experiencing and what we tried to mitigate it. Next, she analyzed our actions and body language as well as Odin’s behavior, response, reactions, attitude etc. She used this information to create a custom training plan for fear-aggression. We met once a week wherein she would teach me new techniques and verify I could perform them correctly. She would evaluate my actions and behavior and if anything I was doing contributed to his anxiety, she would help me find alternatives. At the end of the session, she always left me with several things to work on before our next session – as with anything in life, the key to success is repetition and consistency. Occasionally, she would introduce me to new products that could help with Odin’s training. The products were not a ‘company product’ or money-making gimmick - they were products she had success using with other dogs. If I wanted to try them, I had to find/order them. Following six sessions, Odin had less anxiety and I am able to successfully manage what remains. Odin now looks to me when he gets nervous instead of instantly reacting. By changing my leadership style, he obeys commands more readily and consistently. Before Odin would lurch and jump to get to anything that excited him (squirrels). Now, he just gives a light tug on the leash or stares. When he is told to “Leave It”, he settles down immediately. Previously, I would make large loops to avoid passing people. I was worried he might start barking at them. Now we can walk right by and all I have to do is tell him to “Leave It.” Odin’s responding immediately to my commands has increased my confidence, which in turn has decreased much of his anxiety. There are a couple of dog walkers in the neighborhood with whom I walk Odin. In the beginning of our training, Odin had limited contact with people and dogs. When I had the chance to meet up with them again, they marveled over the transformation in Odin’s behavior and how calm he bad become. Another technique she suggested is Odin wearing a bright vest that says, ‘In Training’ and lists a couple of items not to do around him (things that trigger his anxiety). The vest has helped make others aware of Odin’s ‘special needs’ well before they approach him. I have also gotten much better at recognizing things that may trigger his anxiety so I can avoid, prevent or discourage it. Thank you for reading my review. I am very grateful for the help I received from Perfect Poochies. It was worth every penny. Speaking of which, don’t stress about the fees, Perfect Poochies is perfectly affordable."
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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What does a dog walker do?

We all know our dogs love going on long, adventure-filled walks, but jobs and family and commuting can make it difficult to give them the leash time they deserve. You can hire a professional dog walker to make sure your furry friend gets adequate exercise and outdoor time each day. A professional dog walker may be an individual contractor or work for a dedicated dog-walking company. In either case, you want to make sure the pro has the appropriate insurance in case of an emergency. Some people opt to give the dog walker a key to their house; others to have them pick up the dog from the yard. Dog walking can happen as often as multiple times per day, or just a few times a month as needed. Here are some questions to ask when you are interviewing a new dog walker:  

  • Will you or someone else be walking my dog?
  • Do you have a backup plan if you can’t make it for a scheduled walk?
  • Will you walk my dog by itself, or do you walk several dogs at once?
  • What are your different walk routes?
  • When will you pick up and drop off?
  • How will we communicate?
  • Do I have to commit to a schedule or are you flexible?
  • What’s your cancellation policy?
  • What’s your response plan if my dog gets injured or becomes sick?
  • How and how often do I pay you?
  • Do you offer package pricing if I buy multiple dog walks up front?

What is included in a dog grooming?

Dog grooming is so much more than giving your dog a bath. Dog grooming is a broad term that covers all aspects of canine cleanliness and hygiene. The services included in dog grooming will vary based on your needs and what you choose to pay. Unless they are rolling in cowpies or playing in mud puddles, most dogs are okay getting a shampoo bath only as needed. You’ll know when they need it if they smell bad or are bringing dirt into the house. Some dogs, like shepherds and shih tzus, have thick coats that can get matted and tangled without regular care. Pro dog groomers can deftly blow dry a dog’s hair after a bath so that it is shiny and smooth. Dog grooming can include brushing that detangles dog hair and also thins the undercoat to minimize shedding.

Dog grooming also includes hygiene services such as toothbrushing and ear cleaning. Clean teeth are important to the health of your dog, and the pros have the patience and proper technique to get it done. Regular dog grooming can stave off tear stains, those reddish stains below your dog’s eyes. Anal gland expression is something not many people want to do on their own, even if they love their dog. A dog groomer can safely and efficiently release any blocked anal gland fluid. Other dog grooming services include nail trimming and clipping. Nationally, dog grooming prices range from $60 to $80. Most dog groomers offer discounts to customers who purchase monthly packages or bundle multiple grooming services at one time.

What is a dog groomer?

Keep your family dogs happy, healthy and clean with regular dog grooming. A dog groomer is a business owner or employee of a dog grooming business who specializes in dog hygiene and grooming. To find a reputable dog groomer, research reviews, ask for references and confirm that the groomer has good standing in the dog grooming community.

A dog groomer should be comfortable and competent working with dogs of all breeds and temperaments. Typically a groomer will have trained with other groomers and taken educational courses to keep abreast of the latest safety information and techniques. There are brick-and-mortar dog grooming businesses, as well as mobile dog groomers who bring all their equipment and provide their services at your home or location. In some cases, brick-and-mortar businesses will also pick up and return your dog for an additional fee.

What is a dog groomer?

A dog groomer is a service professional who provides dog grooming and basic hygiene care for your dog. Dog groomers are typically animal lovers who are competent and comfortable working with a wide range of dog breeds and temperaments. Dog groomers are knowledgeable about the care needs for different kinds of dog coats. A poodle will have different haircut needs than a shih tzu, for example, so it pays to have a trained pro provide the proper cut. Good dog groomers know how to safely clean your dog’s teeth, bathe your dog, and cut their nails without going too short. They understand how to trim the hair from around your dog’s face, express anal glands, and clean your dog’s ears. Many people who choose dog grooming as a profession also pursue other dog services such as attending veterinary school, running a doggy day care center, working as a professional dog walker, and more.

How much does it cost to groom a dog?

Dog grooming costs depend on the service your pet requires. Nationally, the average price for dog grooming ranges from $40 to $100, varying by location. Not surprisingly, dog grooming on New York’s Upper East Side costs nearly double what it costs in a small town in Montana. Dog groomers typically handle every aspect of your dog’s beauty and hygiene, from tooth brushing to hairstyling. One potential way to save is to have your dog groomed at your doggy daycare — sometimes they offer discounts on dog grooming prices for clients. Here are some examples of average dog grooming costs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please note these prices would include transportation fees for picking up and dropping off your dog to your home:

  • Nails: $30 a la carte or $20 when bundled with another service
  • Toothbrushing: $30 a la carte or $20 when bundled with another service
  • Tooth scraping (removal of plaque from teeth to prevent infection), with anesthesia: $600
  • Tooth scraping, without anesthesia: $400.
  • Wash and dry: $60
  • Ears: $30 a la carte or $20 when bundled with another service
  • Grooming package: $130 — includes wash, nails, teeth, ears, gland expression and haircut
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