Frequently Asked Questions
Please note, for your convenience we changed the text of the extra-important things to RED and sections pertaining to complex cases such as Fear, Reactivity, Aggression or Separation Anxiety, etc are in GREEN.
1. Will you send homework after each session?
YES!!! We will add notes, videos, and even blogs for you to read. The notes will be added to each and every Outlook Calendar Event (in the notes section of the event) Just click on the email notification and you will find them. If you do not see them, they have gone to junk or spam and you need to look for them or call us ASAP so you can review the things to work on. If you choose not to, you will fall behind and will not get your full value of the sessions. Let’s face it, if you are not going to practice the work, why hire the trainer???
In most cases of Fear, Reactivity, Aggression or Separation Anxiety the first session will be split into 2 video sessions to discuss questions, assign prep/homework. This may require the purchase of books, videos or equipment depending on the case and moving on to the in-person portion of the training will not progress until completed.
2. Am I really responsible for communication with the trainer to keep him/her informed of my progress between sessions? And does this really include me sending videos?
YES, yes you are! You are the key to the success in this process. It is our job to point you in the right direction, show you how to do the exercises and send you video examples in many cases to review. If you are having issues, we need to see the issues and instead of waiting for the next session. We want and expect you to send us small :30-second videos of your progress so we can help! If this seems like it might be too much work or something you are not willing to do, please consider this when you are deciding if we are the right fit for you as a trainer.
3. How long does it take to train my dog?
Training a dog is really more about training the owner, so it really depends on how long it will take to train you! If you are frequent and consistent in working the techniques and homework we leave for you, dog training becomes very easy. So, to answer your question with a question: How frequent and consistent are you willing to be?
4. How long are the sessions?
Sessions are approximately 1-hour but will only go as long as the dog or owner can handle. Anything less than 45 minutes will get shifted to a future session. Depending on the situation an additional trip charge might be charged for the additional trip back.
5. Why do you train owners, not dogs?
You want your dog to listen and pay attention to you, not us. Our job is to teach you DASL, or “Dog as A Second Language”.
6. Why do you charge a $50 Non-Refundable Deposit and require a Behavior History Questionnaire to schedule sessions or classes?
It takes the time and resources of both the trainer and office staff to call, discuss, answer questions and to get folks set up in the calendar or to reserve spots on class rosters. This non-refundable deposit will cover that time in the case of cancellations. So, it is critical that, if you chose to work with KISS Dog Training, you are as committed as we are to follow through with the training. If you have any questions, please call the office before scheduling your appointments. The balance of your training package is still due at the time of our first session, but will be reduced by the amount of the $50 non-refundable deposit.
The Behavior History Questionnaire is required for EVERYTHING (training sessions, even consults and phone calls). It helps us plan and know what issues the owner is having, as well as giving us insights into what things have been tried and where we will be heading in training. It is also part of our legal and insurance protocols to ensure we are prepared and ready to meet you and your dog! We greatly appreciate your cooperation. 🙂
Due to spam blockers and anti-virus software, some clients may have issues with submitting the Behavior History form online. If this happens, or you see a message that says it “looks spammy”, we recommend you take screenshots of the completed form (or take photos with your phone) and email those images to us. There is also a link at the top of the page for you to download the form to fill out by hand and then you will have to scan the document and email it back to us. (If you don’t have a scanner, you can also take photos of the completed form to email back to us.)
We will hold your spot(s) for the next 48-hours until your non-refundable deposit payment and Behavior History Questionnaire are received. After that, your scheduled session(s) will be re-opened and made available to our other clients.
Please note: If you fail to respond with your electronic agreement to our Fine Print & FAQs, your deposit payment will signify that you have read them in their entirety and agree to all the terms and conditions contained within.
7. Why do you charge a “Rescheduling” and a “Day of Appointment Cancellation”? What happens if you choose not to pay them?
If cancellations become an issue, we will require prepayment for services.
We understand that life does sometimes get in the way. However, they also create havoc on our calendar and our ability to provide timely and effective service for others. We not only have to pay office staff to reschedule and deal with the calendar, but we also have to pay the trainer for their time that they had already blocked off for those sessions.
Therefore, our policy for cancellations is simple: Any rescheduling will be charged a $20 fee to move their appointment, and any cancellation/rescheduling with less than 48-hours’ notice/on the day of an appointment will be assessed a $40 fee to reschedule.
If you choose to not pay the fees, you simply forfeit that particular session and it will not affect any of your other/future sessions.
8. Why do you charge more for Aggressive Dogs?
Aggression is a more complicated case than your average problem behavior, and thus more expensive. Our techniques with aggression are similar to our other ideas on dog training: it has more to do with training the owner than the dog. In our opinion, aggression cannot be fixed but rather it can be managed, modified or improved. You are the most important key to living with and understanding a dog with aggression issues.
If you should choose to train a dog that falls into this category, or one that has a bite history, you accept all responsibility for the actions of this dog. Be sure you are willing to put in the time, attention and practice with the dog, not to mention the civil and legal responsibilities. (See our Fine Print page for more info.)
9. Why do you charge more for Private Sessions on Saturdays or Evenings?
All of our staff have other commitments outside of KISS Dog Training, and weekends and evenings are the time we get to spend with our families.
10. Why do you sometimes choose to split 1-hour sessions into half hour sessions?
In cases of aggression, anxiety, fear or shyness, some dogs will not be able to handle a full hour of training (same goes for the owners). In some cases, we might make sessions 30-minutes vs. 1-hour. We will simply increase the visits to make sure the agreed upon training time is met. So, three 1-hour sessions might become six 30-minute sessions. There is an additional charge for the extra sessions…we charge an additional 1/2 price of the regular package to cover the extra mileage and time. This actually gives the dogs additional time to practice smaller amounts of work, which with dogs like this is extremely helpful! This decision will be made with the client and only done if client agrees.
For example: The Gold Package is $350 for three 1-hour sessions. To split this into six 30-minutes sessions, the split total would be $525 ($350+$175=$525) to cover the additional three 30-minute sessions. The Platinum package is $470 for five 1-hour sessions, so to split this into ten 30-minute sessions, the total would be $705 ($470+$235=$705) to cover the additional five 30-minute sessions.
11. Why don’t you allow choke chains or prong collars?
We are positive reinforcement trainers, and our job is to teach you these skills without having to resort to punitive techniques!
12. Why is it you feel that aggression cannot be truly fixed?
In almost all cases, aggression is based on fear, and is a defense mechanism to make the scary or anxiety-producing thing go away. As with most defense mechanisms, they never truly go away. We can improve, modify and/or manage behavior, but we can never say it is 100% fixed. If the dog is pushed past the newly created threshold, it can and may resort back to what has worked in the past. In a sense, we can put aggression in remission but never truly say it is gone. We believe that clients knowing and understanding this is critical to learning to live with a dog who has learned to deal with stress, anxiety and/or fear with aggression. There are those with other ideas and techniques; you must pick the ones that are the best fit for you.
If you should choose to train a dog that falls into this category, or one that has a bite history, you accept all responsibility for the actions of this dog. Be sure you are willing to put in the time, attention and practice with the dog, not to mention the civil and legal responsibilities.
13. Are you a certified dog trainer?
Mike Deathe is certified through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers, and his credentials are “CPDT-KA” (“Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed”). Karen Engwall is certified through CATCH Canine Trainers Academy, and her credentials are “CCDT” (“CATCH Certified Dog Trainer”).
Currently, there are no restrictions on folks becoming dog trainers or what they need to do beforehand. We feel strongly that if you are going to hire a trainer, that person should have taken the time and pride to educate themselves, certify themselves with a governing body, and be required to get yearly continuing education.
14. Are you insured?
Yes, we carry full dog training insurance for our trainers and the company through The Hartford Group. This is not only to protect our trainers and the company, but you and your dog(s) as well. Again, if you are going to hire a dog trainer, they should be professional enough to protect not only themselves, but their clients, with insurance.
15. Are there cheaper options out there for my dog and me?
Yes, but keep in mind, in many cases, you get what you pay for. Here are some things to think about…. Are they full-time or part-time? Do they come highly recommended? What is their experience? We suggest calling and talking to at least three trainers and interview each one before deciding. You must pick the trainer you jive with both philosophically and personally; after all, they will be training you, not the dog. 🙂
16. What is the most important thing in picking a dog trainer?
You and the trainer must connect not only on a personal basis but also on a technique/philosophy basis. We will not be the right trainer for every person out there. In the end, you want a trainer that can help you and your furry friend get back on speaking terms. Here is an article that our owner/trainer, Mike Deathe, wrote several years ago on picking the right trainer for you.
17. Is it true that from time to time you will “fire” a client?
Yes, from time to time I find that the owner is not capable or willing to do the work. I do not want to waste your time or mine. I make every effort to let you know my training philosophies and expectations and hope that you will learn about my personality through reading through the Fine Print & FAQs and watching the videos I have made publicly available on You Tube. However, there are some times where personalities just do not mesh, and it is in the dog’s best interest to terminate the sessions so you can move on to another trainer that is a better fit for you and you do mesh with. But in most cases, when I do actually “fire” a client it is because the client is consistently not prepared, doesn’t have the time or are just simply not doing the homework. I hate to even put this on the website, but as we always strive to be as transparent as possible, I want you to see this here before deciding to hire us to work with you to learn how to train your dog.
Good luck and please call us with any questions!
Mike Deathe, CPDT-KA