Charlotte dog training experts give tips
Who we talked to
Bruce Allen, owner
10857 Barberville Road
Fort Mill, S.C.
Luann Van Leer, owner
Karen Guignard, owner
Bark Busters Home Dog Training
7973 Wills Run Place
Why should people hire an animal trainer?
Bruce Allen: "Generally because they have a severe problem that they can't figure out or that group classes can't address."
Luann Van Leer: "I feel a lot of people just get puppies on impulse. If they hire someone to show them the basics, they'll be a lot happier."
Karen Guignard: "We believe it's really important to have proper canine education."
What's your experience in the industry?
Bruce Allen: "I went overseas and apprenticed in Dusseldorf, Germany. I've been training professionally for 26 years.
Luann Van Leer: "I worked as a vet technician in animal hospitals, and I started doing my own training business in 1995."
Karen Guignard: "I'm in my fourth year with Bark Busters. I've trained with the franchise owners in Denver for a month before I opened this office."
What methods of training do you use?
Bruce Allen: "It depends on the severity. I use a whole gamut of techniques."
Luann Van Leer: "Positive reinforcement."
Karen Guignard: "We use body language and voice tones. It's completely nonphysical."
How do you charge, and what is the cost?
Bruce Allen: "The price can range anywhere from $400 to $4,000. It just depends on what's going on."
Luann Van Leer: "It depends on the breed and the age of the dog. I've done puppy classes where it'd be $120 per class."
Karen Guignard: "It really depends on the age and number of dogs. We give you a lifetime guarantee. We start with training as inexpensively as $195."
What's a common misconception about training?
Bruce Allen: "Probably that you can't teach an old dog new tricks."
Luann Van Leer: "People don't realize they have to be consistent and follow through with the training."
Karen Guignard: "That's difficult to say because the training really depends on the dog. Different trainers do it different ways."
What's one helpful training tip you can offer?
Bruce Allen: "To watch the inflexions when you say something. Say 'come' in a positive tone."
Luann Van Leer: "I'd have to say be positive, consistent and always praise when they do the right thing."
Karen Guignard: "Be consistent because dogs like consistency."
Do you own any pets?
Bruce Allen: "I've got four dogs, a rabbit, a parakeet and 12 cats. I've got two German Shepards and two mutts."
Luann Van Leer: "I have a border collie named Annie and a rat terrier named Ellie."
Karen Guignard: "I have four Shetland sheepdogs. I have Andy, Opie, a Barney and a Bee."