Paws for Praise
Professional  Dog Training & Behavior Modification

  






 
   



      
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LIFE WITH DOGS - MADE HAPPIER!

Paws for Praise offers safe, family friendly, modern training.
The best dog you ever had might already be living with you!
Let us help you bridge the frustration gap by embracing the real science, rather than the pop science of training!
It's fun, it's easier than you think, and your dog will love you for it.
Email us today at anne@pawsforpraise.com or use our message line at 978-356-7667

Well behaved graduates Boo, Rosa, Jenny and Wilson with some of their friends at a charity walk.


FIRST, A WORD ABOUT CONSUMER PROTECTION...

We use force free training, based on the latest science of how animals learn in the real world.
Our methods reflect the highest standards in the industry today, and carry much fewer risks than methods involving discomfort, startle, fear or intimidation.  We want you to have a great dog with less stress on both of you.  We specifically do the following:

  • Set your dog's environment up to help him achieve success
  • Use positive reinforcement training to get him to do more of the things you want
  • Teach the dog behaviors he can do in lieu of the things you don't want him to do
  • Change the dog's reaction to things he finds scary or disconcerting by creating a safe environment and pleasant associations with those stimuli.
You have a right to know exactly what will happen to your dog when using our training methods.  Thus

1. WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS WHEN YOUR DOG GETS IT RIGHT?
  • We tell the dog, using a marker word or signal, that he got it right, then we follow up quickly with a reinforcement (paycheck). Dogs repeat behavior that works for them, so we make it worth the dog's while to do the things we want him to do.
  • The  "paycheck"  might be food, a ball, a toy, a privilege (such as getting to play with another dog, or go outside, or praise, but it's something that the DOG is interested in.
  • We pay after the desired behavior, so that your dog isn't being bribed.
2. WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS WHEN YOUR DOG GETS IT WRONG?
  • The dog simply doesn't earn the desired reinforcement.  The trainer may or may not use a signal that tells the dog no reinforcement is coming, such as "Try again" or "Oops" - in no case is the signal used in a harsh tone, as it's just information, not a punishment.
  • The trainer re-evaluates the training plan to see if the dog can benefit from simply getting another chance to get it right, receiving a brief time out, or changing the difficulty level slightly by lowering or maintaining the difficulty level until the dog is ready for the next criteria step.
  • The trainer might even give the dog a rest period to "sleep on it" - which is an effective tool, used properly.  It is especially helpful in not "over facing" young puppies, for example.
  • The response might just be ignored - dogs do less of the behaviors that don't result in success - as defined by the dog.
3. ARE THERE ANY LESS INVASIVE TECHNIQUES TO WHAT THE TRAINER IS RECOMMENDING?
  • No, Paws for Praise is already at that plateau.  We are a founding member of the Pet Professional Guild and thus we reject the use of harsh collars, or any other forms of punishment that work because they elicit either pain, fear, or avoidance.  We want animals to develop positive associations with the humans in their lives, and to enjoy the training process.
  • Competent, educated trainers understand the high risk side effects of inappropriate punishment and they avoid using methods associated with the development of fear, aggression, and learned helplessness.  
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO GET STRAIGHT ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS?
  • Training is an unregulated industry. Even trainers with certifications of one sort or another may be legally free to use methods of their choice that are of the high risk variety.  They know that most people don't want their dogs hurt, so they may use clever marketing language to cover up their use of pain or intimidation.  We use standard nomenclature and will be clear with you about any of the humane equipment options we might suggest (we will never use choke, prong or shock collars on your best canine friend).  
For more on transparency in dog training: 
FINDING THE RIGHT DOG TRAINER
IT'S HARDER THAN YOU THINK -  LEARN MORE


OUR TRAINING HALL IS GATED FOR OFF LEASH TRAINING

You may pay less for classes at the big box store, but will they give your dog off leash experience and your puppy adequate socialization playing with other pups?  Off leash play is one factor in preventing puppy nipping.  Puppy classes at Paws for Praise focus on: house training, creating a soft mouth, no jumping up, enjoying attention from strangers, giving things back nicely, loving the groomer and vet, and of course the usual sit, down, stand, leave it, come, and learn to walk nicely on a leash. You're not likely to find a safer and more comprehensive curriculum to educate a great family dog.


OUR INSTRUCTORS HAVE COLLEGE DEGREES IN BEHAVIOR SCIENCE

Dog training is currently an unregulated industry, with no license required.  Anyone can hang a shingle, and consumers have no guarantee of competency.  However, our trainers are well educated with traditional university educations in psychology and behavior science, as well as having apprenticeship experience.  They also pursue continuing education at seminars and workshops with nationally known trainers, and with the Academy for Dog Trainers.

WE ARE RECOMMENDED BY MANY LOCAL VETERINARIANS

We are grateful that many local vets have adopted AVSAB standards for puppy socialization, and for recommending against referral to dominance based trainers.  As people of science, we respect each other's professions.  We enjoy providing a service to veterinary practices by helping pet owners create more dogs that enjoy their medical visits more, through conditioning and training that is designed to make them more at ease when they visit the clinic.

OUR PUPPY TRAINING IS DESIGNED TO SOCIALIZE PUPPIES IN TIME TO DEVELOP GOOD SOCIAL SKILLS AND PREVENT AGGRESSION

Our class for young puppies is designed to prevent the three most common causes for aggression: social deficits, body handling issues; and resource guarding. The best time to socialize puppies is early.  Learn more about vaccinations and socialization.  

WE ARE FAMILY FRIENDLY

From long experience, we find that children over the age of 7 do best at class. If your children are younger, you may want to bring another adult to supervise, as we do not interrupt class once it starts.  All adult family members are welcome, too, and we have an occasional dog that brings his/her dog walker, which is fine with us!

NO DOG IS TOO OLD TO TRAIN

We train puppies, young adolescents, adults, and even geriatric dogs.  While it may be too late to "socialize" an older dog, we can often make things better for those of you whose dogs are "reactive."  

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