FAQ

Find below some of our most frequently asked questions. If your question is not here, please email me.

What methods of training are used in class?

Beth’s classes focus on reward-based training. She considers herself a “force-free” trainer; meaning that physical force and harmful equipment is not used in her training. As a certified professional dog trainer, Beth believes in science-based techniques which encourage the dog to repeat good behavior. Rewards such as food, praise, play, and interaction with other dogs and people are used to reinforce good choices. There is no use of aversive equipment such as choke chains or shock collars in class. Our classes are family friendly and our techniques can be practiced easily by everyone in the home.

What is the general class set up?

Due to space constraints, we limit classes to 6 dogs per class. This also allows for plenty of one-on-one time with the instructor. Specialty classes, such as dog social skills and loose leash walking are limited to 4 dogs.

What class is right for me? Or should I do private training?

Beth really takes pride in finding the best solution for every dog. Some dogs may need a “head start” with private instruction before being in a class with many distractions.

As a general rule, I find many dogs start out best in a basic obedience class. This is a 7 week class that focuses on the basics and introduces many skills at a base level to give you and your dog a nice working foundation.

If your dog has basic skills, but you’d like to increase the difficulty or reliability, our levels classes may be a nice choice for your dog. Here, we work on attentiveness to the owner, speed of commands, duration of positions, increased distractions, working at a distance, and off leash reliability.

Private sessions are best suited for owners who cannot commit to a class and need more flexibility with scheduling, or dogs who have human or dog aggression issues, or behavioral issues in and around the home.

When can I expect to see results? Do you offer a guarantee?

The large majority of training the dog occurs when you are working with the dog in between classes or private lessons. Your results will vary depending on your commitment level to the program, the dog’s natural learning abilities (we can’t all be border collies!), and the severity of the problem behavior. All dogs (and their humans) are treated as individuals and our programs are easily worked into even the most packed schedule. Remember that practice makes perfect, and patience and hard work always prevail!

Because there are so many components of behavior, guarantees are never offered. (And you should be skeptical of any trainer that IS offering a guarantee!) Behavior in general is very complex and even small adjustments can lead to a backslide in behavior. While we can’t guarantee your dog will never bite the UPS man or steal pizza from the counter, we can promise to guide you on the right path with your dog so that you have a great life together.

(And yes, we can tell if you’ve been practicing or not!)

I called you; why haven't I heard back?

We receive about 20-30 calls, emails, and messages each day. The best way to reach our office most quickly is via email at dogtrainerbeth@gmail.com. Phone calls can take 3-4 days to return, depending on class schedules, private lessons, etc. We apologize for the delay in reply, and appreciate your understanding. During this massive growth stage in our business, we are still working out the kinks & most effective communication tools. You and your dog are definitely a priority to us. If you have questions regarding classes offered, prices, time and location, you can find all of that here.

My dog wants to play with every dog it sees. Will I survive a class?

Hopefully! We have had a zero death count in classes over the last 10 years.

More seriously, distractions are a huge component of training and a great benefit to smaller classes. By keeping our classes small, your dog has minimal distractions compared to classes with 20-30 dogs. We put a huge emphasis on attention to the owner, and we do occasionally use greeting other dogs in class as a reward, if appropriate.

Yes, your dog may be barking and excited to see the other dogs. I really enjoy seeing their friendly spirit. We will tone them down and have them greet other dogs appropriately while allowing them to be the social animals that they are.

Your classes are more expensive than the Pet Store. Why?

While many bog box stores provide classes that are positive reinforcement based, they are typically not conducted by dog trainers who are nationally certified. These trainers are typically well versed in basic commands, but are not qualified to give behavioral advice.

Beth has made it her life’s work to commit to the BEST and most effective training techniques available and is a certified professional dog trainer. (For more info on that, go to ccpdt.org!) Beth spends thousands every year attending conferences to keep up to date on the best methods available, and is required to have 36 continuing education credits every 3 years. In the last 10 years, Beth has worked with at least 20,000 dog & handler teams and has seen tremendous results.

What is your refund policy?

We do not offer refunds for classes once they begin. Your tuition holds the spot for you in class, and we cannot fill that spot once class has started. Under extenuating circumstances, we may offer you a place in another class at our discretion.

We do provide refunds to unused private sessions to clients whose dogs we recommend rehoming.

What type of payment do you accept?

We accept cash, personal checks, credit cards and PayPal. Payment is due in full upon signing up for a class. You can reserve your spot in a class and pay in full here!

 

Professional Certifications and Memberships

Contact Info

Owner / Operator:
Beth McGonigal, Certified Professional Dog Trainer
4358 Gibsonia Rd. Suite F Gibsonia, PA 15044
724-759-5555
beth@northpittsburghanimalbehavior.com
facebook.com/northpittsburghanimalbehavior

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