Basic Puppy Training

All things in life need to grow and develop. This applies to our relationships also. This also applies to our relationships with our puppies. Whether you have your furry companion and want to plant the seeds of a harmonious long-term friendship, or you’ve been living together for a while, and want to take your relationship to another level, most of us need guidance sometimes. And just like you would go to a specialist if you wanted more out of your relationship with your partner, you would go to a.. . Dog training school if you had to work on your relationship with your dog. Jut ask New York City Opossum Removal

The question is, how can you find a good specialist? Now, if you’re just feeling under the weather, then you would probably visit a general practitioner. I bet you would go to a dentist instead! Same with dog training. First, you need to decide whether you want to work on general obedience, aggression, separation anxiety, or maybe you would like to take on therapy dog training or a protection dog training program. Then you must read on because we created a list of local hidden jewels in San Diego area that specialize in precisely the sort of dog training classes you want!

Now, what types of dog training schools are we going to look at exactly?

Dog Obedience Training

Aggressive Dog Training

Behavior Modification Dog Training – Dog Separation Anxiety Training

Therapy Dog Training

Service Dog Training

We will also take a look at such training classes as a puppy training camp, group classes, in home dog training and internet dog training.

All these gems have 5-star ratings on Yelp, tons of happy clients and they’re local, oftentimes family-owned businesses, so you can make great friends one of your neighbors while doing some training as well!

First things first, there are loads of alternatives out there in regards to dog training. How do you know which one is good for you?

6 Strategies for Picking the Right Dog Training School

1. Know That the Dog Training Industry is Unregulated

That means that almost anyone can call him or herself a coach, sadly. However, there are certifications and organizations that can help you identify those who actually have the ideal designations and experience. Being the primary educational organization for trainers, APDT has a very useful resource called Trainer Search that allows you to find trainers in your area based on your city or zip code. Amazing tool! Notice that if a coach is certified by the APDT it does not necessarily imply that he or she uses a particular training method, which brings us to the next suggestion.

2. Know the Training Methods Used

Now, all trainers have different training procedures, but here are a few basic things that would allow you to swim in the sea of trainer jargon. There are currently 4 basic methods of instruction that stem from behavioral psychology: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. The words positive and negative are not representing the concept of”good and bad” here, they work more like they want in mathematics, with positive significance addition and negative significance subtraction of something.

Positive Reinforcement

This is the most popular method now, and, sure enough, you’re all familiar with it. Positive reinforcement has, at its core, rewarding a dog for desirable behavior usually with a treat, a toy or play time, based on what motivates your dog the most. The trick is to pick the right timing: just as your dog does the desired behavior, reward him or her right away, and supplement the deal with a high-pitched”great dog”, to make sure your pet understands how pleased you are with this behavior. See how a treat is added here? This is the positive part, the addition.

Negative Reinforcement

This technique involves taking something unpleasant away to reinforce the desired behaviour. That is the way electrical fences work, for example. When a dog gets too near the perimeter, it gets a shock, but the shock disappears the minute the dog moves away from the boundary. This way, the dog learns to stay away from the perimeter. Watch the subtraction here – the disagreeable sensations are taken away to reinforce a behavior, this is negative reinforcement.

Positive Punishment

With punishment techniques, the trainer is trying to make a specific behavior happen less often. With positive punishment, the coach adds some unpleasant stimuli to discourage a behavior. With excessive barking, for example, a trainer can add a spray bark collar into the training, so that each and every time a dog barks, it gets sprayed. The dog will associate nuisance barking with being sprayed, and this will discourage them from barking all night again. Can you see how with this technique a trainer would include (=positive) something to dissuade a behavior (=punishment).

Negative Punishment

This technique means taking something away (=negative) in order to discourage a behavior (=punishment). A good example would be if a coach turns away from a dog that is jumping on him or other people to get attention. He takes away the attention from the dog to discourage undesired behavior. This method is often used together with positive reinforcement to decrease the unwanted behaviour and reinforce the desired behavior.

Ah, that was really a bit of information, right? Did it become somewhat clearer what the different training methods do? Great. There’s still much debate about the best training methods from the trainers’ world, but what you choose remains up to you.

Now that you have learnt more about the behavioral psychology, do you begin seeing some similarities between how we train dogs and the way the government trains us? On to the next suggestion.


Group Classes, Boot Camps, In House Training or Skype chats – there’s every sort of dog training you may need under the sun. Consider the advantages and drawbacks. With in house dog training the obvious advantage is you will get more personal attention. If your dog has some socialization issues, in home training won’t be as effective as group dog training classes, where both you and your fido can learn to be around other dogs and work around so many tempting distractions. If you need your dog to have the experience of a complete immersion, then a dog training camp will be the best option. Whereas, if your budget is tight, online dog training may be the solution you are looking for. Selecting the type of instruction you need will make the job of finding a great dog training school way easier.

4. See a Class Before You Enroll

Once you picked a class or a training school, take some time to come to one of the training sessions and just observe. Focus on the following:

How large is the class size and if you will be getting enough attention,

If puppies and adult dogs are trained separately,

How many degrees do the courses have (basic, intermediate, advanced),

The way the trainer disagrees with the dogs,

How dogs react to the training,

Whether everyone appears to be having fun and enjoying the procedure.

If you ticked all the checkboxes here, and are comfortable with the environment, you’ve found a good candidate.

5. Don’t Forget About Vaccinations

Safety first! Ensure that your dog is properly vaccinated before you start any dog training and get the green light from your vet. Next, ensure that the training school requires every dog to be vaccinated and is requesting a proof. This way you can be certain that the safety component of your training is covered.

6. Ask About the Follow Up

Now, what happens after you have completed the program? Do you receive a lifetime membership and can come any time for future”tune ups”, or are follow up visits restricted? Maybe there are no follow up visits if a problem does arise. Make sure that you ask the school or the coach about what happens once you are done with their program.

Great, you’re all set for the dog training school of your dreams. Now, we’re introducing you to the 10 hidden gem schools with 5-star Yelp evaluations that specialize in the sort of dog training you’re searching for.

Top 10 Dog Training School Hidden Gems in San Diego Area

Let’s start with puppy training. The best time to begin training is when your pooch is between 3 and 14 weeks old, it does not indicate that your pup doesn’t learn well later, but it is just the juiciest time while he or she absorbs new tricks such as a sponge, so take advantage of this if possible! The next stage at which pet owners often need assistance is the 6 months mark, when pups transition into adolescence, and this time is much like the teenage years we’ve all been through – rough. Puppy training to the rescue!


It’s a family-owned business run by Samantha & Jon Mears, who immigrated from London 11 decades ago. Therefore, the name of the dog training school. Samantha Mears is a certified professional dog trainer, who passed her CPDT KA (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainlines) examination with distinction. Samantha has worked with dogs daily for over 10 years. She is also a Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and is a Professional Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG).

Woofingham Palace offers plenty of different puppy training options for you and your pooch all held inside a fenced training area in the shade of big sails. The classes are small, so you will get that individual attention. This dog training school puts lots of emphasis on puppy socialization, and notes that pups who have been socialized young often show less behavior problems in the future than those pups who haven’t. The prices for group puppy training courses range from over $100 to over $300, so you have plenty of options.

559 Union Street

Encinitas. CA 92024

P: 760-929-1996


Now, an all 5-star hidden gem for dog obedience training in San Diego is Total K9 Dog Training. Its trainer, Shannon, is a Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), and is CPDT Certified. She holds a BA in Psychology and started training animals in 1991 in Sea World. Total K9 Dog Training offers a range of courses, but specializes in dog obedience training, both novice and advanced.

Complete K9 Dog Training educates the owners how to become excellent leaders for their dogs without using any intimidation or domination techniques. They concentrate on building the communication and trust that would allow the dog to follow the owner… even while he or she does not have that tasty food handy. Shannon puts a whole lot of focus of training the entire family on how best to work with their dog, as this strengthens the bond between all of the family members and ensures that everything a puppy learns at school will be further strengthened at home. The prices of classes vary, but the general range is between $100 and $165 for group courses.

Total K9 Dog Training serves the areas of San Diego: Escondido, 4S Ranch, Del Sur, Santa Luz, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Sabre Springs, Rancho Penasquitos, Scripps Ranch.


Interested in Therapy Dog Training/Service Dog Training? An agency or therapy dog certification requires you to have numerous steps along the way. Think Pawsitive dog training school can assist you throughout the procedure. Its founder, Vanessa Melrose, is a member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), certified by ABCDT (ABC Dog Trainer) and KPA CTP (Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner). She’s been working with dogs since 2003.

What Think Pawsitive offers in terms of service dog training and therapy dog training: it offers to assist you with the whole process, from basic training to preparing and passing the CGC Certification and Therapy Pet Certification, which you have to get in order for the pet to become a formal service/therapy dog. To initiate the program, your dog does not have to be a specific size or breed, it needs to have a calm, friendly temperament. You know, a therapy dog – boy, that patience! Therapy Dog Evaluations are $30, and Think Pawsitive offers extended discounts for referrals or recently adopted pets, so that you can email Vanessa directly to learn more about the program and the pricing.

1273 Crest Dr.

Encinitas, CA 92024

4. Behave! – Aggressive Dog Training San Diego

Behave! – another hidden gem that specializes in competitive dog training in San Diego. Its creator, Alexandra Gant, graduated from ACBDT animal behavior college, and because 2012 has been operating with”unworkable” or”last chance” puppies who are on the brink of being euthanized or re-homed due to aggression difficulties. Alex focuses on instructing owners in need of dog aggression training how to train the dog by themselves, without relying on specialist assistance. Behave! Trainers are knowledgeable about the different kinds of aggression and believe that aggression is a symptom of a much deeper problem, so that they focus on fixing the issue, as opposed to simply the symptoms.

Behave! Realizes that dog aggression training is a big commitment, so it encourages all owners working with them to consider packages instead of sessions. The classes are $80-$125 Per Day, and they currently offer a 10% package discount.

-LRB-303-RRB- 746-3487

5. American Canine Training – Dog Protection Training San Diego

So you were searching for guard dog training in San Diego? We discovered a hidden gem for that also, all 5 stars – American Canine Training. Chris Moredock is the head trainer, certified by APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) and the Pro-train institute of California.

American Canine Training has a number of different choices when it comes to dog protection training. You may choose Security Alert Training, which will teach your dog to watch out for strangers and warn you should they be up to something spooky. Additionally, it will teach your dog to stop aggressive answers in your command. Or you might opt for a Personal Protection Training (on and off leash), which will teach the dog to protect their people and property, learn”attack” and”release” commands, etc.. There you go, you are on your way to getting that cool police-style dog you’ve always wanted.

-LRB-858-RRB- 274-0268

Serving area: the Total San Diego County


If your pooch requires some expert behavior modification training, this is your local 5-star expert dog behaviorist – Legends Dog Training School. They specialize in dog separation anxiety training, training for dogs with impulsivity problems, fearful response to other dogs and a number of other behavioral issues.

Alyssa Rose (Lapinel), the creator of Legends, is a CPDT-KA certified Canine Training and Behavior Specialist with 15 years of expertise in the region of behavioral studies. Alyssa is an AKC Citizen Evaluator, and a Professional Member of The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She applied her degree in Phycology to work with children and adults diagnosed with severe disorders like schizophrenia, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and later used this experience to start working with animals. Alyssa designs behaviour modification dog training programs that address the root cause of a behavioral issue and provide a systematic framework for improving communication and strengthening the bond between the dog and his/her proprietor.

One consultation costs $150, but it is included if you opt to engage in a training package with 5 classes for $575. Mind you, different options are available, so check Legends site and see their contact information below to learn more.



You’ve got sure enough heard about this dog training school – Pawtopia. But did you know that they had a specialized dog agility training class? Yep, this one also made it to our hidden jewels list. Its founder, Colleen Demling, is a licensed coach with 16 years of experience. She’s an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, is licensed by the CBCC-KA and CPDT-KA, as well as IABBC. Colleen also designed the Temperament Evaluation for the Naval Medical Center’s Therapy Dog Program here at San Diego. Colleen is actively involved in many professional associations, including the International Association of Canine Professionals, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance.

Is the class Pawtopia offers for puppies of all levels of training, so don’t look away if you’re not interested in competing – this is dog agility training class for all those who just want to have fun, run through tunnels and jump through hoops, no pressure! The price is $170, and you will learn more on the Pawtopia website.



For those of you looking for in home dog training, Ben of Devotion to Dogs offers just that, and takes a place in our listing of hidden San Diego gems. Ben is a graduate of Northridge Animal Behavior College, is AKC certified, and is a member of IACP. Ben has been a dog trainer for 15 years, and trained dogs with a number of behavioral issues. He also works with local rescues and believes that every dog can be trained and successfully rehabilitated. His specialization is in home dog training: a personal, one on one type of training that enables him to assess the environment and find the right solution. And lets you save time on commute of course.

Devotion to Dogs offers a variety of packages. The starting package includes a 2-4 hour in home session as well as a 1 hour follow up session, which goes for $500. Call Devotion to Dogs to Learn More.

Garfield Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020


9. Tully’s Training – Online Dog Training

If you need some flexibility or are on a budget, Tully’s Training provides not just private in home training and group classes, but also basic obedience positive-reinforcement online dog training – through Skype.

Tully’s Training group is comprised of coaches with expertise in exotic, domestic, and marine mammal training, which allows it to look at animal behavior from different angles. One of the most titled trainers is Meghan McLeod, who allegedly trained with a number of well-recognized behaviorists such as Karen Pryer and Dr. Ian Dunbar. Meghan is also a certified CGC evaluator. Check out Tully’s team of trainers with a whole spectrum of different backgrounds here.

According to Tully’s, online dog training has been working great for them and their clients, as they are able to get that same person, one on one session that you would get in person for a fraction of the cost. Thus, if online dog training suits your needs, this is the school for you. Training packages are highly customizable, so get in contact with Tully’s for more information.


10. Specialty Dog Training – Dog Training Camp San Diego

Were you searching for a dog training camp in San Diego? Then this is the place for you – Specialty Dog Training. Graham’s team consists of a number of seasoned professionals that together have accumulated a lot of accreditations, including certificates by IACP, APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), NADOI, ABSCDT and many others. Graham and his wife, Kyrie, also actively support nonprofits, shelters and rescue organizations.

Specialty Dog Training focuses on using positive reinforcement and discipline in their own training. Their dog training camp, i.e. in-kennel training, dog board and train or a boot camp is a structured environment where your dog will be taught all of the obedience basics he or she needs to be a excellent companion. Being away from the regular environment is a good chance for your dog to”reset”, while the coaches can work on their own behavioral issues in a controlled environment.

Specialty Dog Training provides lots of packages, they also have a Boot Camp Special for the month of March, with 25% off all dog training camps. The purchase price varies between $1575 (with the discount) for a 2-week program with 2 private sessions, to $5400 for an 8-week program with 2 private lessons.

Pacific Pet Resort, 2909 San Luis Rey Rd Oceanside CA 92058


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