Private Puppy Training
Enjoy an easier puppy today – and a great dog tomorrow.
At Project Potential we have 3 goals:
Goal #1. Reduce Fear
Fear is the main cause of aggression. Once we train to alleviate fear the aggression disappears with it.
Goal #2. Prevent Fear
It is much easier to prevent fear in puppies before it has a chance to develop as they age.
Goal #3. Educate our Community
Dog training is an unregulated, messy industry with tons of misinformation. We only use scientifically proven methods to prevent or alleviate fear to therefore reduce aggression.
4 Common Types of Aggression
Why do some dogs growl, snarl, snap or bite?
Growling, snarling and snapping serve as warning signs when a dog is scared. It is as if the dog is trying to say, “You scare me, please don’t come any closer. I’d rather not have an interaction with you, go away.” Dogs will often bite if their request for distance by growling, snarling and snapping is ignored.
4 Types of Aggression and how to identify them.
1. Resource Guarding: Aggressive behavior while the dog is eating or is in possession of an item (toy, bone, or stolen item).
2. Stranger Danger: Aggressive behavior towards humans that the dog is unfamilar with, usually anyone not living in the same household.
3. Body Handling: Aggressive behaviors when someone attempts to touch or pick up the dog. The feet and neck area tend to be problem areas for many dogs however some dogs will not tolerate being touched anywhere.
4. Location Specific: Aggressive behaviors near their favorite resting spot (couch, bed or kennel) or places such as the car or Vetrenarian’s office.
Although this behavior is largely genetic there is a very good track record of successfully changing it with the correct training protocol. If dogs were left to their natural behaviors in the wild an instinct to guard their food and bones would serve them well in the challenge of not starving to death.
“But my dog has plenty of food so why is he still so uptight?” Great question! He’s got some left over software in his brain from his ancestors that drives him to protect his favorite things regardless of his current situation.
“So how can we get him to chill out about his food?” With the help of a professional trainer who can identify his specific emotional triggers we can come up with a training plan that will show your pup that Food + People = Even better food! This will make your dog happy which means he is no longer concerned you’re going to steal his favorite things and he can finally relax and stop being aggressive.
Location Specific Aggression
Dogs tend to see their favorite resting spot as a prized resource and my act aggressively if anyone attempts to disturb them in their favorite spot. This is also an old software program in their brain left over from their wild days. We can devise a training plan to get them to willing leave their resting spot or show them: Resting Spot + People = Food/Chews so they happily anticipate the next human visit while they’re resting.
Just as many humans hate visiting doctor’s and/or dentist’s offices, dogs too can dread certain scary locations. Unfortunately dogs do not understand that Vet and grooming visits are in their best interest so they may act aggressively to try and save themselves from a repeat experience. We can train dogs to actively participate in their own grooming and vet care. This helps dogs feel in control of what happens to them and therefore less scared of these painful procedures. We can also teach dogs that these locations predict good things (treats and praise) too, not just scary people and painful procedures.
Strangers of the human variety
Many breeds of dogs have been selectively bred to find unknown humans as a threat and with any threat you’d prefer they keep their distance. The only way a dog has to tell you to keep your distance is to act aggressively! This is especially the case for live-stalk guardian dogs who see it as their job to prevent thieves from loading up all your cattle. On the other end of the spectrum is the lovable Labrador whom no one would trust to guard anything!
“So can we teach our wary pup to like new humans?” This one is a tad more complicated as social dynamics tend to go but depending on the severity of fear along with some other key factors in most cases significant progress can be made to get Fido more comfortable with strangers and therefore more easily manageable around strangers.
Body Handling Aggression
There can be many reason why a dog might prefer not to be touched. Some dogs may be scared of being touched by strangers specifically while others won’t even let family members touch them. Some dogs don’t like specific body parts being touched such as their feet, neck, or tail. This might be because they expect it to hurt or it just plain scares them! If they’ve been handled roughly in the past by a child or perhaps the groomer or veterinarian they may have issues with people who remind them of their past experiences of pain or fear.
Fortunately the why is not an important factor when building a training plan to help a dog feel comfortable with being touched. We can devise a training plan to teach him that being touched is safe and enjoyable. Once he feels safe while being touched there’s no longer a need to be aggressive.
Pricing and package details:
Our 30 minute phone consultation is free and will help you decide
which package is right for your dog, situation, and personal goals:
2 Week Board and Train: For puppies or dogs needing basics manners. Includes
2 transfer training sessions in your home: $700-1000
4 Week Board and Train: For Dogs with fear and or aggression issues: Includes
4 weekly transfer training sessions, 2 during boarding and 2 in your home: $1700-$2000
Puppy Personal Care: Training to like car rides, baths, nails trims, teeth brushing,
breed specific grooming, Vet office and staff, Groomer and salon. Includes 6 Sessions to be completed in 3 weeks. For green puppies only. $500
Dog Gone Fraidy-Cat : For adult dogs with fear and aggression issues ranging from food/bed guarding to stranger aggression. 8 One-hour sessions. Location will depend on fear type and what is most helpful for your dog’s training needs. $400
One-on-One coaching sessions: $65/Hour
Day Training Enrichment Visits: $80 2/week
Puppy Personal Care Package: $500
6 One-hour, In-home Training Sessions + 3 Training Field-Trips to the Veterinarian and Groomer.
- What your puppy will learn to love
Hair cuts (breed specific)
Veterinarian’s office lobby and scale (if available)
Veterinarian staff (if willing to participate 3-5 min per visit)
Grooming salon (If groomer allows access to space)
Groomer (if willing to participate)
- How old does my puppy have to be?
Ages 7 – 25 weeks old are welcome. Starting this program at 7 weeks old is ideal because your puppy will still be in the socialization phase of brain development and positive experiences will be remembered for a lifetime.
- What if my puppy has already been to the veterinarian?
Ideally we can arrange for your puppy’s first veterinarian visit to be done in conjunction with this training package. If schedules don’t allow or your puppy has already visited the veterinarian for a routine wellness check and vaccines they still qualify for this package. They will still get a lot of benefit from this training package and the non-medical visits to their veterinarian’s office that are included.
- What if I already gave my puppy a bath or nail trim and now he is uncooperative or scared?
$500 Pricing is only for puppies who have not yet experienced these activities. Training a puppy who has already had scary experiences with these activities is much more time intensive than for puppies who are new to these activities. Depending on their age and severity of fear they may still qualify for the program for an additional cost.
- What if my current veterinarian or groomer do not want to participate?
I will attempt to coordinate with your Veterinarian and Groomer on your dog’s behalf. While training of this type might be a new concept to some veterinarians and groomers they are all too familiar with adult dogs who don’t like or tolerate the needed procedures therefore posing as bite risks. If your veterinarian or groomer is not willing to help your puppy be more comfortable with them I highly recommend shopping around for a professional who has your puppy’s best interests in mind. Some professionals may be willing for an additional charge which will be the owner’s responsibility in addition to the package cost. Veterinarian offices usually have open lobbies that we can visit with no interruption to their business and minimal time is needed from staff for some happy talk, treats and petting. Because groomers tend to run by appointment only there may need to be special arrangements made to have access to the salon. If this is not possible I will still work with your puppy on loving the equipment used by groomers for hair cuts and nail trims.
- Do I have to be home and participate in the training and am I expected to go on the field trips?
Owners do not need to be home or participate for the first 4 training sessions, past granting access to the puppy and bathtub. I ask that owners participate in the last two training sessions and field trips so that the training continues to work for the owners and not just the trainer.
Dog-Gone Fraidy-Cat Package: $400
8 One-hour Training Sessions
- What types of aggression are covered by this package?
Food, bone, toy or bed guarding
Body handling aggression
Location and scenario specific aggression
- Where will training sessions take place?
Location of training sessions will be decided based on what is most beneficial for your dog’s training progress depending on aggression type and severity. Resource guarding and body handling sessions will take place in home. Stranger aggression cases will vary depending on the severity of fear and how close a stranger can get to your dog before they become fearful. If needed stranger aggression cases can be done remotely via video chat until your dog is ready to have a stranger in their presence. Cases specific to groomer or veterinarian offices will be done at the problematic location.
- What training methods will be used to help my dog?
Only scientifically based training methods will be used to help your dog overcome their fears that feed their aggressive behaviors. Classical conditioning is used to help change emotional pathways in the brain and operant conditioning is used to change behavior patterns that provide relevant consequences for the dog. As a fear free trainer I only use positive association pairings to change the emotional state of the dog. Once the dog is in a better emotional state positive reinforcement is used to build more appropriate behavior patterns surrounding the problematic situations. If undesired behaviors still linger after the emotional state is changed then negative punishment is used to deliver an undesirable consequence for the dog, for example: social interaction halting or food/toy momentarily disappearing. I am careful not to elicit fear or pain at all times during training as this causes negative emotional states which motivate aggressive behavior.
Puppy Personal Care is available for puppies starting at 7 weeks old. Puppies must have their first round of puppy vaccinations a minimum of 7 days prior to their first travel session to the vet and groomer.
Board and Train guests must submit proof of vaccinations before arrival. Rabies, Distemper, Parvovirus, and Hepatitis vaccines are required. Titer testing will be accepted. Flea and Tick medicine type and last application date is required.
A community approach to puppy raising
Our mission is to build great canine community members through active, fun, science-based puppy raising. We try to be great community members ourselves, too. In every group of 5 puppies we help train and socialize you’ll find a foster puppy—a future PDX canine citizen who hasn’t yet found her forever home. By learning alongside our client puppies, these fosters become ready to step successfully into their new families when their perfect person comes along.