Sunday, February 19, 2023

Private Sessions

I've been fielding lots of questions about what I offer in Private or 1-on-1 Sessions. So I thought I'd write just a bit about what I do with a client. First a bit about me.

Private Sessions with a Trainer

Canine Coach Penny Beeman is a Certified Behavior Consultant that can work with you and your dog to tackle most behavior issues. Penny has extensive history dealing with over-reactive dogs and can help you understand the emotions behind your dog's behavior, learn about the reinforcement the dog is gaining from the behavior, and work on creating a starting plan to help desensitize your dog to the trigger that makes them over-react. 

Penny is also a Service Dog Handler and mentors other Service Dog Teams. The Training Center is set up to be handicapped accessible and provides a place where you can learn to navigate many of life's challenges with your Service Dog in Training. We will work to understand your disability and your needs to help you develop the skills you need to gain independence with the help of your Service Dog. Yooper Paws of Love does not "Certify" Service Dogs. Please refer to our SD Tips page for more assistance on Service Dog specific assistance.

Owners and Dogs who might want a private session plan vs a class plan.

There are several reasons an owner might want private sessions. Perhaps either the owner or dog doesn't do well around other people or dogs. Perhaps the owner has something special they want to work on. Perhaps the dog has extreme emotional reactions to seeing other dogs. The reasons for an owner thinking private sessions are unlimited, so it would be impossible to list them all. But most generally, private sessions offer a safe place to work on the special needs of the owner and/or the dog.
  • I commonly work with over reactive dogs that have demonstrated fear or fight responses to other dogs.
  • I commonly work with Working Dogs that have special skills or needs for working as a Therapy Dog or Service Dog.
  • I commonly work with dogs that have experienced some type of trauma in life and need just a bit of help recovering from that issue.
All dogs are unique individuals and therefore some excel and thrive in group classes while others don't. If a class of 4-8 other dog teams is too much for you or your dog consider scheduling an appointment for your Full Behavior Evaluation.

Private sessions start with a 90 Minute  Evaluation Consult that runs $125, then we can create a plan for future sessions. Individual private sessions start at $75 per session and generally last 1 hour.  


What happens at the Behavior Evaluation Session

Mainly I talk with the owner(s) and ask them to do a variety of things with their dog depending on what they are asking me to help with. Some things I might witness as the dog arrives to the Training Center or as I arrive to the dog's home. Things like over excitement, barking, lunging and fear reactions tend to happen naturally in these moments. If these are concerns to the owner, I might ask them to start with having their dog in another room when I arrive or leaving them in the car while we chat a few minutes.

Once both owner and I are ready for the dog to meet, a greeting will take place based on that dog's needs. If the dog is over -excited and friendly, I might instruct the owner to just let them out so the dog can do what it naturally does. If the dog is fearful, I might ask the owner to bring the dog out on a leash and stop and chill awhile on the other side of the room while we get to know each other a bit more.

Since most owners that contact me will list leash manners as one of the things they want to work on and going for a walk is often settling for a dog, we might take a short walk. Some dogs prefer to meet in a backyard while they are playing so I might play with the dog. 

The bottom line is during this first Eval Session I'm going to be watching the dog and the owner as to how they interact with each and how the dog interacts with me, the newcomer. From there the owner and I will work together to create a plan for training. We may use one of the training templates I have already prepared or I may create an individualized plan for that family. Most generally it's a mix of both an individual training plan with the support of worksheets and shaping plans that have already been developed to help. Once the plan is figured out, we will decide how often to meet for the Private Training Sessions.

What happens during a Private Training Session

Generally we play...owner with their dog and me either with their dog or using Azul to demo what I want them to do. While we might play a bit of tug or fetch to help your dog calm down, we will mostly be playing games specially designed to teach the dog the concepts they need or repeat the behaviors the owner wants the dog to do.  Here is an example of the proximity game that I teach most dogs that I work with.

In this video we are teaching my 7 yr granddaughter how to play with Finnegan, a 5 month old puppy that can easily get over-excited. I always welcome the kids in the family to get involved in the dog training as long as the parent is there to supervise. This game is designed to teach the dog the early concept of recall without using any cues, but heavily reinforcing the concept of coming back to the person they are playing with. To dogs, life is a game and we can teach them things much quicker if we turn it into a game.

Most dog owners who contact me have a list of things they want to work on. So we generally start with the owner playing a game that previously taught so I can see how they are doing with that game. I might offer some helpful suggestions to make the game slightly better or make it slightly harder for the dog so we can bump training up to the next level. We then might do that same training around some real life situations such as when there is another dog on the other side of the street or working in the Training Center. 

If your dog needs to practice around other dogs, we will first get them used to focusing on their owner when Azul is around. We will do this using distance, whether that means we need to be a football field away or in different rooms in the Training Center. Once the dog is comfortable around Azul we will start asking other clients to join in a few sessions. This might be clients who are working on the same goals or clients that have safe, confident dogs that are eager to help. When more than one client is working on the same issues, we will typically transition from private, 1-on-1 sessions into mini-group sessions.

I offer private sessions for $75 per session or in a bundle of 6 sessions for $300. Bundles are generally meant to be used with a session every 2 weeks, but you do not have to use them within a certain time frame. Some clients are happy by the 4th session with the progress they've made and work on their own for a bit before finishing up the last 2 sessions. Or sometimes those final few sessions are transferred to a mini-group plan. Mini-groups are only available to clients who have recently completed a class or are currently in some type of training package.

What are some of our Specialties

Canine Coach and Behavior Consultant, Penny Beeman, specializes in helping owners understand the behaviors the dog is doing and the emotions, needs and reinforcement that is impacting that behavior. When we understand what is driving the behavior, what is need is being met by that behavior, and what is reinforcing the behavior we can then make a plan to modify that behavior to meet everyone's needs. 

Penny also specializes in setting up ACE (Animal Centered Education) Freework environments to watch the dog explore a safe space to help owners learn more about their dog. This can be used to help dogs who are over-excited learn to calm down. ACE Freework also allows us to see health related things that might be missed otherwise such as the dog struggles lowering their head to the floor or raising 1 paw as high as they can raise the other. Enrichment items to lick, sniff, chew, and shred can be made available in our Rest and Relax Room which can be a great start or end to your private session.

Canine Coach, Faith Weber, specializes in helping dogs learn to share space safely. The Training Facility is set up to support allowing dogs to greet safely for the first time using distance and management to provide safety. Faith is skilled in reading Canine Body Language for various breeds and can help you learn to read your dog better.

All of our Canine Coaches are trained to read canine body language and look for the finer details that might be missed in what your dog is trying to communicate to you.

We plan to offer some assistance with Cooperative Care in the near future to help your dog get used to routine care they might receive at the Vet's or Groomers. This can help your dog have Fear Free visits to these often traumatizing locations.

Please reach out the Yooper Paws of Love if you have any questions about the things we can address during a Private Session. Contact us at yooperpaws@gmail.com

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