Our Training Team: Knowledgeable and Certified
Green Acres boasts a training staff that includes four Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA), who collectively possess over fifty five years of combined training experience. To be eligible for certification as a CPDT-KA, trainers must accumulate 300
hours of instructional experience, submit a written reference from a veterinarian, colleague, and training student, and pass a written exam. The exam content covers the science of training, canine behavior and health, and elements of successful human/canine instruction. We have been voted the region’s Best Dog Trainer by Market Surveys of America every year since 2011.
Green Acres’ training team is led by Don Hanson, BFRAP, CDBC, CPDT-KA. He is a past Chair/President of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), the world’s largest dog training and educational organization. All of Green Acres’ training staff are professional members of the APDT and as such are committed to continuing their own education within the field of dog training. Each of our introductory training classes has no more than five students and is typically co-taught by a lead and assistant trainer, thus ensuring you’ll receive ample individual support and assistance.
Real Life Training for Real Life Dogs
A happy, well-mannered dog does not occur overnight or without the investment of time and effort on the part of the family. The environment in which the dog lives, as well as every other person a dog interacts with influences what it learns and how it behaves. It is our mission at Green Acres to help you manage what your dog learns, helping you to teach behaviors that you like and prevent behaviors you don’t like. By doing so we hope to help you and your dog become best friends for life. We look forward to assisting you and your canine companion as you embark on this journey together.
Five central principles are at the core of our training program:
• Understanding and Respect
• Reward Based Training
• Improving Communication
• Critical Thinking Skills
• Managing for Success
Understanding & Respect
At Green Acres, we strongly believe that the key to having a great relationship with your dog begins on the premise of understanding your dog and working with their natural talents and abilities rather than against them. Our classes will help to bridge this cultural divide by educating you about what is normal canine behavior, what is not normal behavior and why dogs behave the way they do. Through education and understanding you will be better able to meet your dog’s needs, train for success and manage some of the more challenging behaviors.
We do not adhere to the dominance construct or punishment in dog training as it has been proven to be severely flawed and is counter-productive to a positive relationship. We encourage you to read our Position Statement on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogs on our website.
Reward Based Training Methods
To have a happy dog and develop a healthy relationship, it is imperative to interact in a positive manner when training your pet. Green Acres prides itself in using dog friendly methods to help our canine companions learn to reside peacefully in our homes and lives. Because our style is one of teaching with kindness and compassion, we encourage all family members, including children, to become involved in the training process.
Dogs, like all other creatures perform and repeat behaviors that are rewarding to them. We will use this to our advantage in classes by rewarding behaviors we like and ignoring and managing behaviors we do not like. Through the use of a clicker or verbal marker and rewards, dogs can be taught an infinite number of behaviors. Not only is clicker training scientifically proven, it is the most effective, humane training method and allows for a fun, relaxed atmosphere. We strive to help you to understand the process behind the training so that you will be able to teach your dog virtually anything you wish.
Good communication is critical for teaching a person or an animal; however, the reality is dogs and humans speak two very different languages and our relationships are often fraught with misunderstanding which can negatively impact training. We’ll discuss how dogs communicate in an effort to help you to better understand what your dog may be feeling and how that is impacting their behavior. We’ll also discuss what you are trying to communicate to your dog, how you are expressing your message and how that may be affecting what your dog is learning.
Realistically, your dog already knows how to sit. The goal of training is not to teach your dog to sit, but rather to teach your dog to sit when you cue the behavior.
In training, timing is everything and the use of the clicker more clearly communicates to your dog the exact moment when they have performed the desired behavior. Reading our dogs’ body language and knowing what they are feeling will also help us in our effort to train them. Our emotions affect our ability to learn and by being able to recognize our dogs emotional states (anxiety, over excitement, etc.) we can more effectively plan our training.
Critical Thinking Skills
One of our biggest mantras about training is …What is your dog learning right at this moment and is it something you want them to learn? Our dogs are constantly learning, from you as well as everything in their environment and it is up to you, the owner, to determine what they learn. To be able to do this you must think critically when you are working with your dog. One of our major goals at Green Acres is to help you become skilled at stepping back and questioning what your dog is learning at all times and determining ways to trouble shoot problematic behaviors.
Managing For Success
Easily one of the most overlooked components of training is the management of the dog’s environment and what behaviors they are inadvertently learning and practicing. A dog that is allowed to practice jumping on people will learn to jump on people. The key is to learn how to prevent the environment and others from rewarding behaviors that you do not want and to set your dog up to be successful in progressive steps.
APDT C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills)
All of the classes in our training curriculum are based upon the three levels of the C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills) program created by the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers).
At the heart of the C.L.A.S.S. program is the strengthening of relationships between humans and their canine companions through education and the use of positive reinforcement training. We will focus on basic behaviors with a real world twist. Things such as sitting and waiting at doors, coming when called, remaining by your side while you converse with someone, lying down by your side quietly, leash walking, leaving items upon request and giving up objects when asked are just some of the behaviors we teach. It is our goal that student and handler teams will be prepared to take the corresponding C.L.A.S.S. evaluation after they have completed each level should they wish to do so. For more information on the APDT C.L.A.S.S. program, checkout the website http://www.mydoghasclass.com/
Class Requirements & Registration
The primary handler in our classes must be at least 14 years old, or have been pre-approved by the instructor.
All dogs attending our classes need to be current on vaccinations for distemper, rabies and canine cough (Bordetella). You will need to provide a copy of your pet's most recent vaccination record before the first class. Due to their age, puppies are not expected to have been vaccinated for rabies.
Classes are held indoors at Green Acres. We also hold some classes outdoors when the dogs are ready for extra distractions and as the weather permits.
Our classes are small and fill very quickly, so we suggest you register as soon as possible. To reserve a place, fill out the appropriate registration form, sign the waiver of liability on the back, and return it with the class fee. Please indicate your second choice for class dates and times, in case your first choice is not available. If you would like to observe a class before registering, please give us a call at 945-6841 to make arrangements.
Your registration will be confirmed as soon as we have payment. You may withdraw from a class and receive a refund (minus a $15 handling fee) anytime up until 14 days before the first class. After this time your registration fee becomes non-refundable.
Please call 945-6841 if you have any questions.