Harrisburg Frequently Asked Dog Training Questions

Why is it important to train my dog?

Dogs are always learning from the world around them, so in a way, they are constantly training themselves. Without intentional imprinting and a clear establishment of boundaries, your dog may learn all the lessons you don't want them to. That can mean jumping on strangers, begging, or being too fearful or headstrong to return when called.

With dog training, dogs learn through repetition and reward that following a set code of behaviors is actually in their best interests. They'll learn that performing the expected behaviors results in a richer relationship and added benefits, like their own personal safety. Dogs look for guidance from their masters, after all, so providing the structure they inherently crave makes them not only better behaved but more confident and content overall.

How long does it take to train a dog?

In a sense, "training" is never truly complete because both dogs and humans are continually learning from new situations and experiences. If an owner is looking to establish baseline obedience behaviors or imprint a certain set of commands, the answer to how long it takes is "it depends."

If training is being added to and reinforced several times a week for a month or two, then the dog should have a basic understanding of what is expected by this time. Working with professional dog trainers can help accelerate this period while ensuring that lessons are taught as effectively as possible.

After mastering the basics, owners should be conscious of continuing to reinforce the expected behaviors. They should also be prepared to redirect the dog as needed when new complications or novel situations occur. Follow-up training is always recommended, as well, to refresh existing commands while expanding the realm of what is possible for your dog to learn and understand. Training together is one of the best ways for owners and dogs to bond, so it should be considered a lifelong endeavor, even after the basics are well-understood.

What do you train dogs to do?

At Greenlin, we train dogs according to the goal outcomes of the owners. This can mean anything from teaching a set of basic commands to working on issues like anxiety in public or ignoring recall commands.

Our goal is always to understand the intrinsic motivators that drive a dog's behavior and to redirect them. If, for example, a dog gets too enthusiastic when greeting people, we explore their need for attention and validation and try to imprint upon them that they will receive the same rewards with fewer negative outcomes if they approach the situation calmly.

The extent of training depends entirely on the dog's current situation and where the owner hopes for them to reach together.

Can you train my dog to not be destructive?

Destructive behavior in dogs stems from many factors, including boredom, anxiety, and a lack of clear boundaries. The best methods for avoiding destruction only involve training in part. Regular exercise, crating, diligent home preparation, and daily bonding are all essential to helping an animal feel fulfilled, reducing the need to turn to an outlet like destruction.

Dog training can help owners reinforce which objects are ok to chew, and it can also impart important lessons like the "drop it!" command. By working together with a professional trainer alongside your vet and adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate your dog's needs, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of destructive behaviors.

Can you train my dog to not be aggressive?

Aggression in dogs can present in many different ways. It could mean aggression towards other animals, aggression only in the presence of food, aggression towards other humans that aren't their owners, etc. Addressing your dog's aggression may require a multi-pronged approach.

Greenlin's certified trainers may be able to get to the root of certain behaviors in order to address aggression while providing both owners and dogs with tools to handle situations where aggression is most commonly provoked. Our facilities are highly stimulating and may not provide the best setting for a dog who is showing aggression. We will evaluate your dog and determine if we are able to help you reach your goals or if we might recommend another trainer who is more appropriate to handle the task of reducing aggressive behaviors.

Can you train my dog to not bark excessively?

Stopping your dog from excessively barking is a major challenge for many owners. Barking behaviors can stem from many needs, including communication, protecting territory, expressing excitement, relieving boredom, or all of the above.

Greenlin can help you imprint commands and baseline behaviors upon your dog to help you address barking on a case-by-case basis. However, other changes may be needed to fix the problem long-term. These may include increased exercise or modification to the dog's environment to decrease their exposure to barking triggers.

How can I prepare for my dog's training lessons?

You want your dog to arrive at their appointment well-rested and contended. Try not to disrupt their daily routine, but do ensure they get plenty of exercise the day before, as well as a good meal that morning.

The best way to equip your dog for their appointment, though, is to speak with our certified trainers. They will ask questions to understand your goals fully and may provide tailored advice or request that you bring certain equipment, such as their harness or lead.

Can you train my dog to calm down?

Behavior shaping is a process that teaches the dog to remain calm and at a resting position in a variety of situations (among other lessons). Through training, behavior shaping, and proofing, the dog can learn how to react calmly in situations like greeting another dog or having someone come inside the home.

Other remedies may be needed to ensure maximum success, however. These may include dietary changes, increased exercise, addressing sources of anxiety, or diagnosing any potential underlying medical issues. Over-excitedness in dogs can stem from many sources, but training is a major component of getting to the root of the issue and helping your dog to adopt new expectations.

How do I keep up at home with what my dog has learned in his training lessons?

At Greenlin, we strongly encourage all owners to take the lessons their dogs learn to heart in the home setting! Daily reinforcement and consistent boundaries are absolutely key to not only helping training retention but to improve the relationship between owner and dog at home.

Your trainer will provide an overview of what your dog learned along with a set of basic recommendations for maintaining training once they have completed their initial program. Follow-up conversations and new training sessions are encouraged, helping refresh learning while also addressing any new challenges or novel situations that have arisen.

What training methods does Greenlin use?

Greenlin Pet Resorts uses a blend of methods depending on the dog we are working with. Relationship takes priority- we need to form a connection with the dog to understand their motivators, how they best learn, and what we need to overcome. They also need to have the chance to get to know and trust us, so that they can learn in a comfortable environment and want to work with and for us. From there, we can begin working on the foundation. We use a balanced approach to teach new behaviors and give clear communication on what is and isn’t allowed. We also show the dog that they will be given opportunities and outlets to do their favorite activities, so that through fulfillment and a clear understanding of expectations they can live with a healthy state of mind and make good choices.

Speak to a dog behavior training expert at Greenlin and sign up for a free evaluation to better understand what methods may best fit your situation and to decide how you and the trainer might approach the process together.

Do you offer in-person training sessions?

Yes! We absolutely encourage owners to attend at least one of their pet's training sessions, and the entire household can join in so that the new expectations are clear and consistently enforced. These sessions act as part demonstration of what the dog has learned so far and part "breakout session" for the humans to learn some training strategies of their own.

In most cases, it is not necessary nor encouraged to attend every single training session your dog undergoes. Trainers may need to work on certain goals one-on-one, and the presence of the owner can sometimes prompt different behaviors than if the dog was with someone less familiar. As such, speak to us about which sessions you would like to attend, and we can set a plan to maximize the benefits derived from your training program, both for you and your dog.

Is my dog too old to begin training?

Absolutely not! Dogs of any age can continue learning, and in most cases, an older dog can be taught new skills or new behavioral expectations. Training is also a reward in itself: it is highly stimulating and great physical and mental exercise for older dogs.

Some older dogs may have underlying challenges stemming from their history. Dogs that have been abused or have not been exposed to many different settings, for example, may be slower to learn and more reluctant to adopt new behaviors. At the end of the day, though, every dog deserves to live their best life at any age, and training can be one of the best ways to seek an improvement to their daily living situation.

What does my dog's training schedule look like?

Your training schedule will vary depending on the program you have selected and the goals set between you and your designated trainer. After an evaluation, you will receive recommendations on how to best approach your target outcomes, including a projected schedule of training sessions.

Most training programs involve lessons 3 days a week for a period of at least two months. A typical training program involves between 10 and 20 lessons in total. These lessons are ideally attended on a regular basis for a few straight weeks. This regiment helps ease the dog into the new routine while helping consistently build upon progress.

Is the dog training one-on-one or with a group of dogs?

The majority of Greenlin dog training classes for adult dogs are one-on-one sessions. These allow us to maximize our time with each pupil while minimizing distractions and other factors that can complicate learning.

Certain puppy classes and programs like our AKC Canine Good Citizens classes and AKC Puppy S.T.A.R may be taught in a group setting. Inquire in advance of booking to see if your dog will be attending class solo or in a group, and know that you may potentially request one or the other depending on your preferences and the ultimate goals of training together.