Indianapolis area animal trainers give expert advice about pet training
Who we talked to
What services do you offer?
Kim Buchanan: "We do training classes, private lessons, doggie day care, overnight boarding, in-home pet sitting and dog walking."
Joann Peavler: "We do grooming and all forms of general dog training from puppy courses to obedience to advanced competitive training."
Larry Blackburn: "We have puppy series classes, full obedience, advanced obedience and refresher courses."
Why should people hire an animal trainer?
Kim Buchanan: "All dogs need to have a relationship with their owner and understand what the owner wants, so training is a great communication tool."
Joann Peavler: "Dogs are a lot like kids. If you're not familiar with what to do, you should ask. If you do things wrong, it makes it a lot harder the second time around."
Larry Blackburn: "To make the animal more of a family member rather than being frustrated. And to have the confidence that your dog won't be doing anything it shouldn't."
What methods of training do you use?
Kim Buchanan: "It's mostly reward- based positive reinforcement using treats, praise or play."
Joann Peavler: "We use a variety of techniques based on the dog and the owner's ability."
Larry Blackburn: "It's all positive reinforcement with verbal and physical praise."
What's the cost for a basic obedience course?
Kim Buchanan: "Our training classes are $150 for six weeks, one hour each week."
Joann Peavler: "The eight-week basic obedience course is $99, meeting once a week for an hour. The six-week puppy class is $85."
Larry Blackburn: "Everything except the refresher courses are $125 for five weeks of once- weekly 45-minute classes."
Do you do individual or group training?
Kim Buchanan: "Both. Our group classes are five students to a class with one instructor. Private lessons are usually for nuisance behaviors."
Joann Peavler: "We do both, but the group courses are more cost-effective. Groups are about a dozen people with an instructor and an assistant."
Larry Blackburn: "All our classes are private."
What's one helpful training tip you can offer?
Kim Buchanan: "My favorite thing is the 'name game.' When you say your dog's name, they should give you eye contact. At first, use a treat as a lure so they make eye contact."
Joann Peavler: "Be patient and consistent. Dogs are very 'black and white.' They don't do 'gray' very well."
Larry Blackburn: "There are six ingredients to successful training: consistency, repetition, correction, praise, patience and - the most important - humor."