Philadelphia area animal experts talk about dog training
Who we talked to
What services do you offer?
Barbara Doering: "We offer everything from puppy kindergarten to obedience competition."
Leigh Siegfried: "We offer group training classes. I also do a lot of behavior consultations, primarily for aggression."
Blakey Hastings: "We have classes, and one-on-one training both at the clinic and in the home."
Why should people hire an animal trainer?
Barbara Doering: "Training the dog improves the dog's and the family's quality of life. "
Leigh Siegfried: "Sometimes we relate to dogs as if they speak English. Training helps dogs and people communicate."
Blakey Hastings: "The goal is to create a relationship where the owner is the leader and the most exciting thing in the dog's world."
How do you charge, and what is the cost?
Barbara Doering: "Typically, it's $125 for a seven-week beginning class. Puppy kindergarten is $100 for six weeks."
Leigh Siegfried: "A four-week class is $100; a six-week class, $150; and private lessons, $100 an hour."
Blakey Hastings: "For puppy kindergarten, five classes cost $90; six-week obedience is $110; individual lessons are $65 an hour in-clinic or $100 an hour in-home."
Can you teach an old pet new tricks?
Barbara Doering: "I've had 13-year-old dogs in beginner class. It takes longer to train an older dog. "
Leigh Siegfried: "Yes. Absolutely. Training is all about motivation. People haven't rewarded what they actually want the dog to do."
Blakey Hastings: "I think they like it, actually. Their life improves because now they are getting rewarded all the time."
What's a common misconception about training?
Barbara Doering: "Your dog won't like you if you tell it what to do. That is absolutely a falsehood."
Leigh Siegfried: "I'd have to say the whole 'dominance/ alpha dog' thing. "
Blakey Hastings: "People think their dogs do things on purpose or out of spite."
What makes you stand out from your competition?
Barbara Doering: "Absolutely our experience, and our facility is much bigger than most."
Leigh Siegfried: "Our expertise in behavior and our cross-training."
Blakey Hastings: "My medical background. Behavior problems can have their root in medical problems."