Dog Training Frequently Asked Questions
Dog Training Frequently Asked Questions

Got Dog Training Questions?

We’ve got answers!

Welcome to Courteous Canine, where we are committed to providing you with the best dog training and pet care available – and it’s all about positive reinforcement!

We specialize in aggression, fear related problems, barking and house training. We work with dogs of any age from puppies to mature adult dogs. Your problem becomes our problem and together we find solutions.

Below are the most frequently asked questions that we have come across. If you find that we haven’t addressed a question you have about dog training or anything else, please contact us.

Where are your dog training classes located?

We have group training classes at our Tampa dog training campus located at 3414 Melissa Country Way, Lutz, FL 33559

How am I billed for pet care and when is it due?

As soon as we have finished the free in home initial visit, you will receive an email confirmation that also details your charges for the pet care services you desire. Payment is required prior to services being performed.

Can you provide references?

Pet Care Technicians can provide references from many of our clients. Please ask your sitter to provide them to you during your Free in-home initial visit.

What does a Professional Pet Care Technician do?

Each of our Pet Care Technicians are required to pass rigorous training in pet first aid and canine communication. Many are also certified dog trainers extremely capable of ensuring your pets are cared for in the most professional manner available. We care for the emotional, environmental, and physical well-being of your animals while you are away.

How do I get started with Courteous Canine?

We recommend that you contact us! You don’t want to wait until you are in the midst of planning your big holiday or you are assigned a last minute business trip. Establish a relationship with us when you do not need us so things will be that much easier when you do need us. It costs you nothing to get set up.

If I cannot make it for a private training appointment, what should I do?

Please cancel your private appointment as soon as possible; we prefer 48-hours notice so we can schedule other clients who may be waiting for an appointment. If a client no shows for an appointment or our trainer arrives to the appointment at your home and you have not notified them that you are unavailable then the appointment rate will be charged.

If I have a puppy in my home with other, older dogs do you still recommend Puppy Class?

Yes! Socialization is much more complicated than just exposing your dog to its own family of dogs. Ideal socialization means ever widening exposure to new and varied objects, places, people, dogs etc. Come join the puppy class fun!

Do you sell Gift Certificates?

Yes, we do sell gift certificates. Click below to order. We can then print a nice gift certificate that you can give to a friend or family member.

Click here to order Gift Certificate

What do you do in case of an emergency?

It depends on the type of emergency. If something was to happen to your regular Pet Care Technician, we have fully qualified backup Pet Care Technicians that can take over. If an emergency occurs with your pets, we will first, according to your instructions, notify you or your vet and transport them to the vet if necessary. If there is an emergency with your home we will contact you immediately and provide services per your instructions.

Which training class is right for my dog?

This question will depend on your dog’s age, experience, previous training history, your goals, schedule, budget and family situation. We have a dog training program for you that offers the training you need, when you need it.

Contact us today for a FREE Email Consultation & learn more about how we can help you.

When can I expect to meet my Pet Care Technician?

Once you have made your initial inquiry either by phone or through our website, we will contact you within 24-hours to schedule an appointment.

Can we contact you while we are away? Or will you contact us?

Yes, you can contact us as often as you’d like and we will set up regular communications to you as frequent as you like. As part of our service we provide our pet care clients with texts, e-mails or voice mail. Just let us know how often you would like to receive updates. After all, we are here to serve you and give you peace of mind while you are away from your pets.

What is a ‘clicker’ and do I have to use one if you work with my dog and me?

A clicker is a tool used to tell your dog ‘yes, you got it.’ It’s an excellent way of marking the precise behavior you want. A clicker is the equivalent to a whistle used in animal training. You can also use the word ‘yes’ instead of a clicker. Some people find clickers hard to coordinate with a treat bag and a leash and a dog. We also use the lure-reward method of training; it is fun, highly effective and great when involving children into the training process. While we encourage the use of a clicker we are force-free for both dogs and people!

I can’t make it to a group class, what should I do?

If you cannot make it to class then please contact your trainer directly. Unfortunately we can’t offer make ups as classes are in high demand. If you or your dog is sick we can freeze your group class and restart you when you are better. We can also freeze your attendance if you have an emergency. You can pay an extension fee for an extra class session for puppy class and basic manners. Please speak with your instructor directly.

Can we bring the whole family to a private training session or a group class?

We are currently allowing two handlers per dog to attend group classes. If you would like to have more family members or friends participate in training, we recommend signing up for Private Training Sessions! Multiple handlers are welcome to attend private training sessions at this time.

How Long Will It Take to Overcome My Dog’s Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety training is unlike many other types of dog training because it requires treatment of an emotional response, rather than simply teaching a new behavior or trick. Much like a human seeing a counselor for help with a fear or phobia, there’s no way to predict a timeline for a “cure.” Each dog is different (as are owners and their abilities to carry out the training exercises), so progress can start to happen within a few weeks or not for months. While separation anxiety is a highly treatable disorder, the rate of progress is slow, particularly in the early stages. Thankfully, learning begins to accelerate once we’ve made careful initial gains. You can affect the rate of your progress by being consistent and devoting time to the process.

Is my personal information kept confidential?

We respect and protect the confidentiality of all our clients. We will never share any of your information with a third party unless you give us specific permission in writing to do so.

How do you screen your Pet Care Technicians?

We take the recruitment and development of Pet Care Technicians very seriously. We perform background checks on all of our Pet Care Technicians before we begin their extensive training. We obtain a minimum of two reference checks and ensure they have no criminal record or history of drug abuse.

What is your cancellation policy?

For Behavior and Training consultations we have a 48-hour notice cancellation policy. Drop in group classes do not require cancellation notices.

My puppy is deaf. Can we still attend a group class and do your methods work?

Yes! If a dog is only partially deaf then we can still use the clicker or the word ‘yes’. If your puppy or dog is completely deaf, then we use hand signals or a flash light or other visual cue to teach them desired behaviors. We love working with all dogs including those that have unique challenges.

Do your trainers say they are Positive dog trainers?

As it is used in dog training, the term “positive” can be very misleading and confusing to the pet owner. In the context of learning theory, the science behind how we all learn, the term positive means the addition of something. Positive reinforcement means you are giving the dog something it likes whereas Positive Punishment means you are giving the dog something it does not like.

At Courteous Canine, we use the least aversive and minimally intrusive training methods possible. We work to minimize stress and maximize fun! Dogs do not seek to avoid or escape the methods we use, so yes, we are positive trainers. We NEVER inflict mental or physical harm on any dog. Courteous Canine’s methods are educational, instructional, effective and efficient and most importantly they are user friendly. Friendly for the dog and friendly for the owner.

What is the length of Behavior Change Plan?

That depends on the length of the dog and the client. Working with separation anxiety is different from regular obedience dog training or other behavior modification programs. The trainer invests considerable time creating specific, individualized plans, reviewing video regularly, giving feedback, and adjusting the written criteria based on reading the dog’s body language and assessing his progress. The parent needs to make a commitment both to the program and to not leaving during dog alone during the behavior change plan. Alternatives to leaving the dog alone are making use of daycare, or neighbors, or family or friends or pet sitters who stay with the dog. 

The only potential additional cost in treating separation anxiety is the purchase of an inexpensive webcam (if you don’t already have one) and a checkup with your veterinarian (if necessary).

Can I observe a dog training class?

Because of the pandemic we currently can not allow anyone to observe group classes.

How much notice do you need for a cancellation?

We request a minimum of a 48 hour notice on cancellations. If clients are unable to give us this notice we will charge for the visit.

How can I find the right dog training group class for my dog?

Select the ideal group class for your dog by setting goals for your dog’s training and then browsing our site. If you are interested in basic manners, control and obedience our Basic Manners class will be ideal. If you are looking for training for your puppy, sign up for our AKC Star Puppy Kindergarten group class.

If you are interested in Pet Therapy we offer a class for the AKC Canine Good Citizen that also includes Pet Therapy information.

If you just want to have some fun or increase your bond with your dog consider one of the many dog sports we offer:

  • Agility
  • Dock Jumping
  • Fun Scent Games
  • Lure Coursing
  • Trick Training
  • Disc Dog

If you have a dog that is being reactive barking, lunging or being unruly around dogs or strangers, sign up for our My Dog Has Issues program or schedule a behavior consult!

If you are still not sure please contact us for a FREE Email-Consult

Why Does Remote Training Work?

Unlike many training protocols, separation anxiety doesn’t require the physical presence of the trainer. In fact, the trainer’s presence can actually inhibit progress by changing the normal, everyday circumstances your dog is used to.

The “trainer effect,” as it’s called, often produces false results—dogs seem to be getting better, but only while the trainer is there. Once she leaves, it’s back to anxiety-as-usual.

Will you ever share my information with any other company or individual?

Absolutely not! Your privacy is very important to us. We hold ourselves to the highest standards and value the trust you place in us. If you have any questions regarding the information we gather about you and what we do to protect it, please feel free to contact us.

My dog is very noisy, how do I keep them quiet during class?

Our trainers are experienced in handling noisy dogs and provide visual barriers and food stuffed toys to minimize barking. Please do not be embarrassed, all our dogs have funny quirks! WE recommend using epecially delicious treats like hot dog and cheese help to keep dogs focused and quiet

May I offer a gratuity to my Pet Care Technician?

Yes, you may offer it directly to your Pet Sitter or you can mail it to us Attention to the Sitters Name: Courteous Canine, Inc. 3414 Melissa Country Way, Lutz, FL 33559.

I Hear Treating Separation Anxiety Involves Using Food, But My Dog Won’t Eat When I’m Gone.

Alone-time anorexia is a common symptom in dogs with separation anxiety. The goal of treatment is to get your dog to a place where he’s comfortable when left alone. It may surprise you to learn that food use is not the cornerstone of working with separation anxiety, if it is used at all. Using food in most types of training is paramount, but it works a little differently with separation anxiety.

I have used traditional dog training methods in the past, why should I change my methods now?

Because you can! Some of the more traditional dog training methods use corrections as the main form of communication. These methods were popular before we knew as much about dog behavior and training as we know now. The dog training industry has progressed in many areas over the last 20 years. We want dog training to strengthen the dog-human relationship and we want dogs coming back to learn more with a happy demeanor and a wagging tail. Force based methods also have hidden consequences. With force, dogs learn to fear us and this can cause avoidance and escape behaviors and even lead to aggression. It is easier and more effective to use fun to modify behavior and train your dog.

What do I need to bring to a group class?
  • A mask
  • For the first class you will need to provide your dog’s vaccination records, although ideally email them to ahead of time.
  • Soft and small treats, size of a fingernail – we recommend chopping up low fat hotdogs, string cheese or any other soft treat that agrees with your dog.
  • A hungry dog. Please don’t feed your dog for at least 4 hours before class. If you have a highly food-motivated dog then your trainer may advise you to give them half their food rations before class.
  • Bringing a mat or your dog’s bed may also be very beneficial to give your dog a “station”.
  • A standard (non-flexi) leash and nylon collar or body harness. **Please no choke, prong or shock collars.**
  • If you are already using a Head collar then bring that too. If you are planning on using a head collar please do not put it on your dog for the first time just before class. Your dog will spend the first session feeling uncomfortable and trying to remove it.
  • A squeaky toy that can be used to get your dog’s attention. You can also bring a tug toy.
  • A water bowl and water. Training makes a dog thirsty. A stressed dog can also get thirsty and don’t forget water for yourself too.
Which shot records should I have for my dog or puppy?

For any of our puppy classes, puppies must be up-to-date for their age, with at least the first set of DHLPP shots, usually given between 6-8 weeks of age. Because socialization is so important and needs to begin as early as possible we do not usually recommend waiting for the full three sets of puppy shots. Veterinarians will suggest different guidelines for your puppy, so please take their advice into consideration. If your veterinarian tells you that your pup must have ALL vaccinations before attending a puppy class then he or she may not be current on the latest protocols for puppy socialization and vaccinations. We also require bordetella, lepto and flu shots.

At Courteous Canine, Inc., we agree with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s Position statement -“In general, puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first de-worming. They should be kept up to date throughout the class.”

For non-puppy classes all dogs must have:

  • the full sequence of DHLPP (usually an annual booster for adult dogs)
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Bordetella
  • Leptospirosis
  • H3N2 canine influenza vaccine

Your dog’s shot records may be anything from a vet receipt to a shot-vial sticker to a note from the breeder or a checked-off list with the shots on them. We have to work a bit on the honor system, but we do want to make sure the puppies are all safe

Can a dog trainer or behavior consultant come to my house?

We do offer private dog training classes. Private dog training lessons are available in individual lessons or as packages. If you have a dog behavioral problem such as fear, anxiety, dog aggression, human aggression, resource guarding or other problem behavior, your trainer will make an initial appointment to conduct a full behavioral consultation. After the initial consultation your trainer will be in a better position to advise you on the Behavior Change Program needed and how long it will take to reach your goals.

What is the rain policy for outdoor dog training classes?

For private training and group instruction that is held outdoors, we will make every attempt to contact students at least two hours before if we are canceling class. Please note that Florida weather is known to shift within minutes so we will do the best that we can.

Generally classes are held during light rain, if there is lightning classes are cancelled. If you see lightning during your class please let your instructor know immediately.

If you don’t hear from your instructor your class will occur as scheduled.


Let us help with a free email consult

Great place. Great facility. Our dog loves loves going to Courteous Canine. She gets to play with so many people and other dogs. She even had a few swimming opportunities. The best part is that she sleeps for about two days when she gets home because she played so much!

Lisa Sappenfield, Google

I’ve had nothing but positive and extremely helpful experiences with Courteous Canine. Monica and Alex are awesome. My pup absolutely loves class, and we work on the tactics we’ve been shown at home with all positive results.

Kara Wade, Google

I had a fantastic experience with Courteous Canine.i needed to consult with an expert about an ongoing behavioral problem with my dog. They were responsive and professional, and helped me to better understand my dogs perspective. Highly recommended!

Brad S, Google
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