Common Questions From Veterinarians
We understand that veterinarians meet many different dog trainers on a regular basis. This FAQ page was designed to answer many of the common questions we receive from veterinarians as they’re getting to know “what kind of trainers” we are. If your question isn’t on the list, feel free to contact us to ask directly. We’re very accessible!
Click the question below to jump to a specific answer, or simply scroll down to browse all answers:
What kind of training do you offer? / What training method do you use?
We offer in-home dog training to resolve all kinds of dog behavior issues. We handle all issues including, but not limited to: aggression, anxiety, hyperactivity, poor manners, lack of obedience, etc. We also offer puppy training programs that are designed to prevent these kinds of issues from developing later on.
All of our programs are designed not only to help the dog overcome his/her behavior issues, but to enhance the bond between the dog and his/her owner in the process. Our programs are commitment-based, which means we commit to working with each client until we achieve the training goals we set during our initial consultation.
Our training method is a reward-based method, but that does not mean we rely exclusively on rewards. At every stage of the game, we set the dog up for success, and we teach the client how to do the same. This maximizes the dog’s chances of making the right choice, and gives us more opportunities to say “yes” than “no” (this is, of course, the goal).
Our method is extremely effective for two reasons. First, the client learns a very clear and efficient way to communicate with their dog. When applied consistently, this revolutionizes the relationship between a dog and its owner. Second, we set up an extremely consistent home environment for the dog. This strategy lowers the dog’s anxiety, breaks the momentum behind any bad behaviors, and sets the dog up to make the right choices on a consistent basis. It puts the owner in a position of control, which builds the owner’s confidence. Throughout this process, the dog is developing new associations about how he behaves in his home environment, and building a new (and more constructive) relationship with his owner.
After we’ve established good behavior patterns in the dog’s home, and the owner is comfortable and confident handling the dog, we take our lessons out into public places. We’ll go to a busy park, an outdoor cafe, a busy “main street” environment, or whatever is applicable to that dog’s former behavior issues. We do this to make sure the dog understands to respond to his owner no matter what distractions are present, and to build the owner’s confidence that they can safely take their dog anywhere!
Do you use electronic “shock” collars?
While we certainly wouldn’t say we never use e-collars, we can sincerely say that it is never our “go to” tool. (At the time of this writing, our trainers have worked collectively, this year, with over 900 dogs, and have not suggested using an e-collar even once) Our training approach centers around building a bond of mutual trust and respect between dog and owner. This involves teaching the owner a high level of handling skills, and building their confidence with these skills. In our humble opinion, we don’t believe the e-collar is the best way to build these skills and the resulting relationship between dog and owner. As a matter of fact, several of our clients have come to us with their dogs already on an electronic collar, having had it suggested by another trainer, and we have been able to successfully work with the dog (and his/her person) without it.
The founder and mentor behind Canine Trade Group, John Van Olden, has been training dogs for nearly three decades. In over 26 years of full-time training, he has recommended the e-collar less than 10 times. This is common of all Canine Trade Group trainers.
Dog trainers are always asking me to refer them. Why should I refer you?
The number one thing that sets us apart from other trainers is our commitment to achieving results with EVERY dog. All dog trainers are striving for results, but many (if not most) of the dogs we work with have worked with a dog trainer (or two) in the past. Our goal is to be the last dog trainer your client ever has to hire! When we first meet a client, we’ll set training goals, and then we’ll commit to working together until these goals are a reality. This involves a good deal of effort on the client’s part as well, but all of this effort (including the methods, tools, timeline, etc.) is discussed up front.
We also do our best to keep you, the client’s veterinarian, up to date on what’s happening with the dog. After our initial consultation, we’ll send you a detailed report, and we’ll continue to keep you updated thereafter. We welcome your input at every stage of training, and we’ll be sure to consult you right away if the dog’s issues appear to be reach beyond behavior issues.
Why haven’t I heard of you?
Great question! We are a small network of professional trainers who all follow the same methods and commitment to ethics. Although we come together as a professional network, each Canine Trade Group affiliate is a local small business, and is owned and operated by each individual trainer. We aren’t a nationwide franchise.
We are a throwback to the days of the local, trustworthy, results-based dog trainers. We take pride in providing a much-needed service to our communities!
How can I learn more about you?
We understand that it’s risky to refer someone for a service you don’t provide. We’re asked to refer a good veterinarian, groomer, boarding facility, etc. all the time. It’s hard to refer someone you aren’t familiar with, so we’d like to invite you to take this opportunity to get to know us! Your local Canine Trade Group trainer would be delighted to provide lunch for a “Lunch & Learn” presentation for your entire staff, or arrange for a small 10-15 minute one-on-one meeting with your practice manager. No matter where you’re located, you can set this up by calling 800.649.7297 or filling out this form to contact us. We’ll be in touch right away.
Are you certified? / Who is Canine Trade Group?
Another great question! It seems the dog training profession has gone certification crazy. Everyone has a half dozen letters after their name these days!
Each Canine Trade Group trainer has been certified through Canine Trade Group. This involves an intense course of study spanning several months, and including an in-depth study of canine learning theory, the history of dog training, and the science of different dog training methods.
This education is followed by several weeks of hands-on training with professional dog trainer John Van Olden. During this time, each trainer has the opportunity to work with local rescue dogs experiencing a wide range of behavioral issues. Each trainer also works with local dog owners and their dogs in the exact capacity they’re expected to perform once they’re “on the job.” This hands-on course spans over 360 hours and is extremely comprehensive. This is where the trainers learn to put it all together – where learning theory meets actual practice.
Finally, to be certified through Canine Trade Group, each trainer has to be committed to the same standards of professionalism and ethics. This is what unites us.
What’s your level of experience?
Every Canine Trade Group trainer comes from a different training background so this is hard to answer specifically. Generally speaking, we all have several years of experience working with dogs and dog training, even if we’re new to Canine Trade Group.
However, it’s worth mentioning that our collective experience is worth its weight in gold! Dog training can be such an isolated profession, leaving a dog trainer to Google for answers when something doesn’t seem to be working (and inevitably, something doesn’t work as expected!). In contrast, Canine Trade Group trainers have the advantage of leaning on each other’s experiences. We regularly reach out to the group to ask for help or input with troubleshooting a particular training issue.
We also have the advantage of working closely with an extremely experienced mentor. John Van Olden personally mentors each Canine Trade Group trainer. He has been training dogs professionally for over 26 years with incredible results, and was often referred by veterinarians and other pet professionals.
Do you have any client references I can contact?
Yes! We would be happy to connect you with our former clients (and some current clients, as well) and/or veterinarians who currently refer us, who will provide honest feedback about their experience with us.
How can working with you improve my practice?
Behavior issues are the number one reason for the surrender and euthanasia of pet dogs. Recent studies indicate that a veterinary practice loses ~15% of their canine patients each year due to untreated behavior issues (source: Veterinary Practice News, August 2013 issue). If each canine patient represents an average of $300 per year in income for a veterinary practice, a 1000-dog practice stands to lose up to $45,000 of income per year due to untreated behavior issues!
While this figure is staggering, there is also the emotional toll to consider. Losing a dog to behavior issues takes an emotional toll on the dog’s family, and even on the veterinary staff. Results-based dog training (the kind we offer) keeps dogs in their homes. The dog wins, the family wins, and your practice wins. Everyone is better off!
How will I know if you’re working with one of my clients?
After meeting each client, we provide a detailed report to the client’s veterinarian, whether or not the veterinarian was the referral source. We do this to open the door of communication between vet and trainer; we welcome your input at any time.
Our initial report contains our behavior observations of the dog, a summary of the client’s concerns and training goals, and a summary of our recommendations for training. We do our best to keep you informed throughout the training process, and involve you immediately if we suspect the dog’s issues go beyond behavioral issues.
What can my clients expect when they contact you for training?
We take pride in communicating professionally and promptly. When we receive a call or email from a prospective client, it goes to a central office located in Dover, Delaware. This avoids the “phone tag” that is common among the dog training profession.
Our office staff is trained to gather appropriate background information related to the dog’s behavior issues, answer all basic questions regarding the training, and deliver the pertinent training information to prospective clients. At this stage, prospective client will be aware of how training works, what’s included, and what the price is. They now have the option to book a no-obligation initial behavior consultation, which is a two-hour meeting with the trainer at the client’s home.
During this initial consultation, the trainer evaluates the dog, gets to know the family, and makes very specific recommendations for training. This is where the trainer and client will make the decision to commit to working together, and will set realistic training goals.