Monday, August 15, 2022

First Session Info

 What to expect during your first session with Yooper Paws of Love

Yooper Paws of Love is dedicated to providing training "With Love" to you and your 4-legged friend!
My mission as a trainer is to TEACH owners to ENGAGE better with their dogs to empowering them to ACHIEVE their goals using MOTIVATION to create the perfect team of handler and dog.

In order to accomplish this, I must first get to know you and your dog.  Therefore the first session will likely involve lots of observation and listening to both you and your dog.  This will look different for my in-person and virtual clients, so for the purpose of this blog I'm going to focus on my in-person clients.

Before your first 1-on-1 session we will have a discussion via phone, email or messenger in which we discuss the main reason you are seeking help with your dog, the type of approach I use for training, and the tools you will use on your dog in our session.  I often am asked to help owners who are training a dog for Service Dog work and owners who are struggling with fearful or reactive dogs.  No matter what the reason for our working together, I will use positive based methods to encourage better teamwork between owner and handler.  This will include using treats, toys, and other types of reinforcement to teach the dog the behaviors you want them to repeat.  This will not include punishment and/or correcting the dog for behaviors you don't want to be repeated such as pulling on the leash.  The tools I will ask you to use will be something that is safe and comfortable for your dog, most generally a harness with a front and back clip with a flat collar and a 6 ft leash but may also occasionally include a head halter or martingale type collar for dogs who like to slip their collar.   I will not meet with dogs wearing tools designed to issue corrections such as choke, prong, or shock collars.  This is non-debatable as it will not work with the teamwork training style that I will be teaching you.  If your dog is currently wearing a corrective collar, I will allow you to try on one of my harnesses for the first session to see if that will work for you before you purchase one.

Depending on the nature of what we will be working on together, I may or may not include my Service Dog Azul in the first session.  If we are meeting for a reactivity or aggression issue, I will for sure be coming without Azul.  However this is hard for me to do, so we will create a plan that will work toward being able to include Azul in on future sessions, although that may take a few sessions first.  If you are training a dog for Therapy Dog or Service Dog work, I may or may not bring Azul to the first session but will be adding him into the mix more rapidly.

The first session will take place at a park or other public place.

I will meet with you near the parking area in case there is anything you want to discuss in person before getting your dog out of the car.  At this point, if you need to borrow a harness I will pass that over and show you how it works so you can put it on your dog before exiting the car.

When you unload the dog from the car, I will ask you to go to a certain area and allow your dog to do some sniffing of the environment.  This will allow your dog to settle down in the new environment while I observe your dog's reactions to the distractions in that environment including me and any other people or animals nearby.  I will also be watching how you interact with your dog during this team.  I do this observation time, not to judge you or your dog but to see where I feel that I can best be of help to you.  If your dog already knows how to sit, heel, and focus on you, there is no need for me to teach you these things.  By observing I can see what your dog currently knows and what you may need additional assistance with.

The whole time I'm observing your dog's emotional state to determine if there are things in the environment that are scary and/or over-exciting to your dog.  I will slowly work my way closer to you and your dog to see their reaction to my approach.  And assuming your dog does not have food allergies I will either feed your dog a few treats from my hand or toss them on the ground near your dog if I can't quite get close enough due to fear.  It's important that your dog learn that I am not a threat.  Some dogs learn this at the first session, while others take more time.  

After the observational period we will discuss issues you are having in more detail and work together to create a plan for future training sessions.  You can request this plan in writing any time you want one.  The cost of this session is $50 same as future 1-on-1 sessions.  If I have multiple clients working on the same skills a mini-group (2-6 handler/dog teams) may be formed to help reduce costs per session.  I also offer a package of 6 sessions for $200, equivalent to buying 4 sessions and getting 2 free.  This is by far the best deal.  

Follow Up Sessions

We can schedule future sessions at every week or every two weeks depending on availability and your needs.  The second session will most likely involve adding in Azul and slowly working closer together until we get close enough that we can actually talk.  Then I will use Azul to demonstrate the skills for you to work on with your dog.  If we decide that it is too soon to add Azul, we will most likely focus on having an ACE Freework session where we will observe how your dog interacts with some of the objects I place in the environment.  Objects will be a mix of food puzzles, toys, and scent items from other dogs.  We may also decide to do an environmental processing session using a longline to explore a lower distraction area or some parkour to build up canine confidence.  Once you learn how to do these activities with your dog, we will add them into your training sessions along with the other things we are working on.

Every session with me starts with a sniff-a-bout.  This helps prepare you and your dog to be in a good state of mind for our session.  You can choose to arrive early and do this on your own or include it in part of your session.  Each session lasts roughly 60-90 minutes depending on what we are working on and how long it takes your dog to calm down in the environment.  At the end of the session we will schedule your next session and review what you should be working on between appointments.

If you'd like to schedule your first session with Yooper Paws of Love please reach out to us at

Please sign this Waiver before the first session!
You may print it and bring it with you or email it before the session.
Please let me know if you'd like me to bring a printed copy.

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