Our Dog Training FAQs are a valuable resource if you are considering enrolling your dog or puppy into one of our training programs. If your question isn't answered here, please feel welcome to contact us.
In-board training is a method of training, where we board your dog at our facility for the duration of the training process. Our programs enable your dog to learn commands quickly and effectively. Having your dog participate in daily training sessions is a key component to the success of our training. With consistent and countless repetition of commands, we accomplish much more than a once-per-week program.
It is the most efficient and effective method of dog training. When a dog is going to perform a critical task such as guide dog for the blind, detection for explosives/narcotics, and other important tasks - the dog is trained by a professional and then turned over to their handler with training. It is highly successful and the same process we use for boot camp training. Our trainers will train more dogs in a month than the average person will own in a lifetime. Our experience of training dogs and coaching owners is time proven. In a four-week program, your dog will participate in over 60+ training sessions ranging from obedience, confidence building, physical conditioning, and etiquette/manners training. It would take 15 months of weekly private sessions and cost $7,700* to complete the same amount of training. In an eight-week program, your dog will participate in 120+ sessions.
It would take 30 months and on average costing $15,399* to complete the same amount of training in a private training class. This also means you the owner would be investing hundreds of hours of your own time, gas, and efforts with the possibility your dog will not obtain your goal or objectives. *Cost comparison is an average taken from 3 separate dog training companies in Minneapolis, MN; as of January 2019.
We use all four quadrants of operant conditioning. Two complementary motivations play a role of instrumental learning: The maximization of positive outcomes and the minimization of negative outcomes. During the learning phase we go through hundreds of repetitions of each command using positive reinforcement (R+) along with verbal markers to teach the dog what the commands mean. After a dog has a clear understanding of the commands and is motivated to follow them, we transition into the proofing and generalization stage of training. This is when we begin to hold them accountable, by only rewarding the right responses to commands (R+), and only rewarding good behavior(s). Further we attach negative consequences through positive punishment (P+) by applying corrections for not following a command or for engaging in unwanted behavior(s).
By going through the learning process at the Academy, your dog will not only learn how to follow commands, but more importantly, its actions can control the environment- an outcome that makes learning itself intrinsically rewarding. Our training process is scientifically proven to be highly effective for training animals (and humans).
Yes. However, we believe in first teaching the dog what is expected through positive motivation and positive reinforcement before any corrective collars are introduced. There are three phases of dog training: acquiring information (learning), proofing or ensuring the dog understands the command, and generalizing (proficiency through consistent execution). It is third phase of training that we use the electronic collar to proof and generalize responses to commands. Over the years we have received hundreds of dogs that have gone through 'Positive Reinforcement Only' training courses that have failed at addressing unwanted behaviors. This is because ignoring an unwanted behavior will NOT make it go away, and we cannot reward away unwanted behaviors. For a negative behavior to be extinguished, a negative consequence needs to be applied.
We reward the good behaviors, apply a correction to the unwanted behaviors, and proof responses to commands by use of a corrective collar, AFTER a dog has learned what the commands mean, and AFTER it has performed them several hundred times. We use a corrective collar as a management tool, and to emphasize control, not inflict pain.
Clicker training is a method of marking behavior with a sound (click) followed by a secondary reinforcer (treat). We use markers; however, we prefer to use words for markers rather than clickers, whistles, or other devices. Going home your dog will learn to respond to verbal commands and verbal markers. Clicking a clicker or offering food or treats simply will not stop your dog from chasing down a squirrel. Our training program is effective regardless of clickers or squirrels.
Puppy camp is for dogs 4 - 12 months of age. If a dog is 12 months or older, it would enroll in the Boot Camp course. Puppy camp costs more because puppies require more time during confidence building and socialization, multiple feeding times per day, and younger dogs are more prone to having accidents, or needing additional bathroom breaks as part of the daily routine. The field trips, obedience training, commands, and curriculum are the same for Puppy Camp and Boot Camp.
Boot Camp training and activities are 7 days a week from camp start to graduation. The daily schedule will vary depending on time of day for field trips, and duration of exercises depending on where a dog is at in the training process and weather conditions. If weather is not ideal for working outdoors, we have a climate controlled indoor training center onsite, designed specifically for dogs and dog related activities. Daily Schedule:
7:00 AM – 8:30 AM Bathroom & Play time 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM Obedience training and field trips 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Bathroom & Play time 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Obedience, treadmill, nature hikes, and field trips 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Bathroom & Play time 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Feeding & rest 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Treadmill Training & Physical conditioning 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM Bathroom & Play time 9:30 PM – Lights out (bedtime). The time or duration of play groups will vary, depending on weather conditions, outdoor temperature, and seasons. On average play groups are 20 minutes in length. This is to provide enough time for a bathroom break, play time, and a recess for the dogs in between training sessions, field trips, nature hikes, or other daily activities.
Yes. However, you also will need training which is a big part of the success of our course. Owner follow through of commands, correcting unwanted behaviors, and rewarding your dog for making the right decisions, will be necessary for your dog's training to last a lifetime. We will teach you the commands, hand signals, and protocol for what to do if your dog does not immediately respond to a command. Upon course completion, you will receive a YouTube link of your dog performing the commands, written go-home instructions, and hands on training with you and your dog. After your dog returns home, we also include two hours of follow-up handler training. Just as police dogs and service dogs are trained by professionals and then turned over to their handler (with training), we complete the training and turn your dog over to you (with training).
Written instruction sent at the beginning of the course.
A private YouTube video (seminar) of go-home instructions.
Graduation Handler Training (day-long training seminar, in-person). This handler training is in-person, hands-on, and required of owners that enroll their dog. We teach how and when to use the commands, how a dog will continue to learn lifelong, and the owner's role of influencing and reinforcing their dog's behavior returning home. We also teach owners about self-reinforced behavior and how to stop a dog from returning to old or bad habits from life before camp. The first half of the day is a seminar style presentation, Q & A, and equipment instruction. The second half of the day is hands on instruction with owners and their dog. Each owner will become reacquainted with their dog, we will work hands-on going through a variety of exercises, commands, and drills; by the end of handler training, each dog and their owner will be up to speed with commands and working together. This day-long process is a group event and begins at 10:00 AM ending around 3:30 PM.
The success of our camp comes in two forms; training for the dogs AND training for the owners.
No, we do not accept dogs with aggression toward humans. The liability of a dog biting a staff member or person in a public place is beyond what we are willing to risk. Dogs with aggression such as dog-on-dog aggression, resource guarding, and other forms of behavioral issues may be accepted on a CASE-BY-CASE basis. If a dog is enrolled with aggression of which was not disclosed prior to placing a deposit, it will be ejected from the course and the deposit will be forfeited to pay for the vacant spot in the course. If you have questions or are uncertain if your dog would be accepted, please contact us.
We do NOT offer personal protection or training that would teach a dog to be aggressive toward humans or protective of its family. We specialize in obedience training and proper etiquette for pet dogs.
Yes. We accept all breeds of dogs regardless of size. There is a $200/month fee for dogs enrolled that are over 100 lbs OR if a dog is large enough it requires a colossal size crate. We want to make sure that every dog that comes to our Academy is comfortable, well rested, and has plenty of room to sleep overnight or while not in training. If you are unsure on crate size or whether your dog may need a colossal size crate, please feel welcome to contact us.
Housebreaking a dog can mean a lot of different things, depending on the person or household. To most, it means being able to leave a dog to roam or be free (unsupervised) with good behavior. In other words, NOT chewing on household items, having accidents, barking at windows, digging in the trash, etc. Puppy camp and boot camp will not teach a dog to make moral decisions nor will it teach a dog how to behave unsupervised. Our camps will teach a dog how to respond to commands, engage in proper etiquette, and take direction from humans. A housebroken dog comes from conditioning a dog to rest while the owner isn’t home via crate training, use of commands to demonstrate proper behavior(s), and through maturity. These things come with time, age, and reinforcement of what your dog will learn at our Academy. Every dog is different; however, we will give you the tools, training, and know-how for your dog to become housebroken.
The owner is required to provide enough food to last the duration of their dog’s stay at the Academy. If the owner does not supply enough food and their dog runs out, Academy will feed a dog food (kibble) of its choice and availability, and owner will be billed $3 per day (+ tax) for kibble, or $5 per day (+ tax) for kibble if dog has colossal size accommodations. The cost will be added to the final balanced due at graduation. Please understand, we would much rather the owner(s) provide enough food so we can keep the dog on its intended diet.
We recommend providing more than what you typically feed at home due to the rigorous nature of the daily activities during camp. For puppies, we suggest adding 20-25% extra from what is calculated below. For dogs over 12-months, we suggest adding 10-15% extra from what is calculated below. We will return all food leftover at the end of camp.
Food estimation chart:
1.5 – 1.75 cups per day is approximately 1/2 pound of kibble OR 15-17 pounds of kibble per month.
3.0 - 3.5 cups per day is approximately 1 pound of kibble OR 30-35 pounds of kibble per month.
5.0 cups per day is approximately 1.4 pounds of kibble OR 42-45 pounds of kibble per month.
Note: these are rough estimates based on the size of the kibble (dye cut) and using a dry/level measuring cup.
We require dogs to be properly immunized in accordance with the protocol set forth by the state of Minnesota and the USDA. All dogs must be immunized prior to arriving at our facility. Vet records confirming your dog or puppy is current on immunizations is required 5 days before camp begins. If a dog or puppy will need a booster or vaccine while at our facility, we can arrange to have it administered by our vet. Bordatella and Canine Influenza are not required by our Academy - click here to find out why. **Bordatella, kennel cough, and canine influenza vaccines are NOT offered while dogs are at our facility. If an owner chooses to have these vaccines administered, they must be done 30 days (or more) before the course start date. We also require a clear fecal sample dated within 45 days of the dog arriving for training. This information or testing can easily be provided by contacting your vet.
No. We do NOT require that a dog or puppy be spayed or neutered to attend camp. If a female dog goes into a heat cycle during camp, or while being boarded at our Academy, she will be seperated from play groups during the heat cycle. She will still recieve the same amount of outdoor time, exercise, and training activities, but she will not be in play groups until the heat cycle has ended.
Yes. We require that all dogs be current on a flea and tick preventative during their stay at our Academy. Owners can provide the flea and tick preventative, or we stock a flea and tick preventative by the brand Frontline, and can provide a monthly dose for $20/month. A heartworm preventative is required during months when mosquitoes are present. The heartworm preventative can be administered during non-mosquito months, but it is not required. Heartworm preventatives are sold by veterinarians and by prescription only, owners will need to provide this during their dog\’s stay. Note: These preventatives are administered on the weekly health check day that is closest to the 1st or the 15th each month, and owners can decide if their dog will be given preventatives the beginning or middle of the month.
The cost of the course is for boarding and training alone. If you have a long-coated dog, we recommend having the coat trimmed down to approximately 1/2 inch in length prior to beginning the course to help prevent matting. Routine brushing and bathing can be scheduled during boot camp, however, an additional fee will apply. We do NOT offer stylized hair cutting. At the end of camp prior to pick-up, owners can arrange to have their dog recieve a bath, ear cleaning, and nail trim for a fee. This service is recommended, if you would like your dog clean at the time of pick-up.
We do not offer teeth brushing as a service at our Academy. Owner provided dental chews are optional, however, they must be safe for your dog to chew on or consume in the crate unsupervised. Chew items are given overnight and unsupervised, so the owner assumes any and all risks associated by their dog having access to them while in our care
Due to the rigorous nature of puppy camp and boot camp, we do NOT allow dogs to begin while ears are taped, glued, or need assistance to make them stand. The focus of our team is on the training of dogs. The time it takes to tape, glue, or maintain ears to stand, are beyond what we can take on with camp activities. Further, it is not likely the taping or gluing would stay in place with play groups, nature hikes, and the daily training activities.
No, we have never had a situation where a dog has not remembered its owner or family. We encourage dogs and puppies to live in the home for at least 4-weeks prior to beginning camp, so it can build a bond, and will be sure to remember the owner(s) at graduation. If a dog comes direct to our facility from the breeder or rescue, it has not lived in the home to build a bond, so in this situation it would not know the owner upon pick-up.
Once a dog begins camp, we do NOT allow visitation. The trainers are engaged in training exercises, field trips, and activities that would need to be cancelled in order to accommodate owners visiting. Instead, we send weekly email updates to each owner including a detailed description of the progress made, and pictures of each dog in training.
We use email as our primary method of communicating with owners during the training process. We send weekly updates including photos and a narrative describing the weekly events and training exercises.
Your dog will stay at our facility with its own private crate or kennel, and between training sessions, have supervised opportunities to socialize and play. Our Academy is a fenced and gated property in a wooded setting. We want our guests to feel at home while living in an environment conducive to dog obedience training.
Dogs are living breathing creatures that live in the moment. Throughout their lifetime we can guarantee that you will need to reinforce proper responses to commands and good behavior. We can also guarantee that you will need to attach negative consequences (P+) if or when your dog engages in an unwanted behavior(s) or makes the decision to not respond to a command. This is part of the owner training we provide at graduation. Reinforcement of the training is a lifetime commitment. The more consistent you are, the more consistent your dog will engage in good behavior as well as respond to commands. To demonstrate the high level of training each dog receives at our Academy, we publish a YouTube video. In the graduation video we showcase a dog’s ability to respond to commands, for both male and female handlers. For 8-week and 12-week graduates, part of the video will show responses to commands in public places. These graduation videos are published on YouTube and accessible to the world-wide-web.
You can view them by visiting our YouTube channel (click here).
Dogs are welcome to arrive before or after training camp. However, a boarding fee per day will apply. If you would like to arrange for boarding, please complete the boarding reservation form here: Boarding Reservation Form
Deposits are non-refundable. Once you place a deposit, we will reserve a spot for your dog in the month specified. If an emergency or unforeseen event occurs and your dog will not be able to attend the reserved date, we can transfer the deposit to the next available month. However, we do require 30 days advance notice. Click here for Payment Policies.
We accept Visa or MasterCard. We do not accept checks due to bank fees and increased regulation for processing them. If you would like to reserve a spot in a training course, please complete the Training Enrollment Form and we will send you a Docusign contract and payment authorization form. Once completed, we process payment and send you the questionnaire, health form, and list of required items.
If a start date is post-poned, or a dog cannot start on the date reserved, the deposit will be applied to the next available start date, after the vet has indicated the dog is able to begin training. We do NOT hold a spot in the next course, until the condition has been cleared. This is to prevent additional vacancies in the boot camp course.