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.

The first session will take place at the Yooper Paws Training Center

Yooper Paws Training Center
611 N Hooper St.
Kingsford, MI  49802

We share the building with multiple businesses, but the Training Center is easy to find. We are located in the part of the building that sits closest to the road. You will enter through the door to the far right, walking up the ramp. You may choose to come in and chat with me before bringing your dog in or bring them in with you. There is a grass to the right of the building if your dog needs a potty stop before coming in. 

I will have some treats, toys and games set up in the main classroom for your dog to explore. This will allow your dog a chance to sniff and settle down in the new environment while I observe your dog's reactions to the distractions in that environment including me. I will also be watching how you interact with your dog during this team. If your dog is nervous around people or in new places, I will start behind a gate allowing them some time to check me out safely. If you consider your dog to be a bite risk, please let me know so I can add an extra layer of safety.

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 $125 for a 90 min evaluation and planning session.

Follow Up Sessions

After the first session, we will likely get you signed up for one of our upcoming classes or a private session package. You can sign up for individual sessions at $75 per session or a 6-Session Package for $300. We can schedule future sessions at every week or every two weeks depending on availability and your needs.  

Common behavioral issues that I deal with include working with fearful dogs who lash out with lunging, barking, nipping at things that scare them (people, dog, etc.), easily distracted dogs who have over-excited greeting styles (leash reactivity, jumping, barking, etc.) and working dogs with owners that are wishing to train their dog to Service Dog level manners, Therapy Dogs, or other advanced level of training. While working on one or more of these issues we can also address common issues such as counter surfing, pulling on the leash, resource guarding, etc. 

If you have multiple issues to work on, we may highlight the most important issues to start with and wait a bit to work on some of the other issues. We may also pair your sessions with some additional training in the form of Nosework Club, Group Walks, or Mini-Sessions with other teams working on the same types of challenges. 

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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