Our Dog Training FAQ  page featuring the most common questions we are asked

What makes Lionheart K9 different from other dog training places?

Linda has been training dogs for the better part of 40 years, of which over thirty of them have been professionally. She has been involved with dogs in some way since 1972, either showing, trialing, breeding, grooming or training with some of the top pros in their respective fields. Her experience instructing people is based on over 17 years of corporate staff training for the country’s largest retail chain of photofinishing stores and the nation’s largest medical insurance provider as a civilian contractor for the U.S. Government, before retiring to train dogs full time.

Lionheart K9’s boarding and training school is fully licensed and insured which should be one of the first questions that is asked to anyone you might be thinking of caring for your pet. The dogs we accept for training are kept in our home, not a kennel. We only keep a small number of dogs at one time. This, in combination with our considerable experience in K9 health, nutrition and care assures individualized, professional attention! We provide concierge veterinary care to monitor the health of our dogs while they board with us. Each dog gets plenty of exercise daily, rain or shine, and resides in an enriched environment instead of a stale kennel where they could be exposed to contagious pathogens, or are largely left to entertain themselves, day in and day out.

ALL of our programs include support to assure your success. We understand your concerns about how your dog is kept and how he will be trained, so we invite you to contact us and schedule an appointment to come out and meet us.

Do you guarantee your dog training?

Lionheart K9 guarantees that your dog has an understanding of the skills he has been taught and can demonstrate those skills reliably. We guarantee extensive support and follow-up if you continue to have problems for as long as you need. We consistently see remarkable improvement in the dogs we train because our approach to training is as a team effort between you, your dog and us. Our clients make deliberate decisions about their dogs’ care and training. They do so with the understanding that their dedication to a resolution is the key element to a successful outcome. What we offer is an improved relationship with your pet that doesn’t end after your dog leaves our care.

You offer a lot of training options. Why don’t you travel to people’s homes to train their dogs?

Due to our obligations to our private and residency boarding and training clients, this service is not currently available. Although people are inclined to believe that the location the training is conducted in is important, it is our belief that quality training conducted in any environment should be equally effective anywhere. We have crafted training programs that focus on owners learning how to handle their dogs effectively and without conflict in any environment, from the front door while greeting guests, the little downtown coffee shop that allows dogs, past the nasty neighborhood dogs screaming insults from behind their fences. Where the behaviors are introduced is unimportant, where they are practiced, is.

What does Private Training offer that other training programs do not?

Private training is an excellent alternative if you wish to be a part of the training process and learn how to train your dog yourself. It is an appropriate choice if you are experiencing problem behaviors like aggression, before matriculating into a group class.  Private training is also an excellent choice if you are self-conscious and would not feel comfortable in a group class environment.

Individual training offers many benefits; one-on-one instruction with a professional trainer who teaches you how to handle your dog effectively and safely.  We demonstrate techniques for training your dog, share problem-solving strategies and demonstrates how to apply these skills appropriately, effectively, and humanely. We  guide you as you practice under our supervision until you are confident at applying each training skill correctly.

Private instruction is designed to teach you how to train your own dog and create effective strategies for controlling problem behaviors in a reasonable time-frame. Lionheart K9’s private training programs teach the basic skills of walking on leash without pulling, to sit, lie down and stand on command, to come when called, to retreat to a location and remain there until released, to keep feet on the floor, mouths closed, and to leave things ‘alone’ on command, plus many other useful training skills. You will need to practice the skills you have been taught between lessons and again, we guide you through the process to assure you are successful.

That all sounds great, but what if I don’t have the ‘time’ to train my dog? 

Boarding and training may be an option if you are busy with travel and don’t have the time to train your own dog. Being busy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the pleasant company of a well-trained dog. Boarding and training programs are a natural choice if you are too busy with work, travel or family obligations to provide the consistent reinforcement needed to train your dog. It is also a natural choice if you own a dog who may be engaging in behaviors that you find difficult to control or difficult to live with. Residency training is an excellent choice if you wish to have a well-trained dog but are either unable or not available to do the training yourself. One of the biggest benefits to our boarding and training training programs is that your dog lives in a home instead of a kennel, where he is is exposed every day, all day, to life in a real home, just like yours. This enables us to advance your dog’s training at an accelerated pace. Having your dog trained through any of our boarding and training programs involves working around distractions including other dogs, people, and traveling to different public locations to improve your dogs’ manners and obedience skills.

But, won’t my dog ‘forget’ me? Won’t he only listen to you?

Of course not! Have you forgotten your first love? Dogs don’t either. Dogs have a remarkable capacity for remembering “their” people as a result of their amazing sense of smell and how it influences memory. Besides, our residency boarding and training programs include private lessons with you to assure a smooth transition from our training to you. We provide periodic updates while your dog is in training via email and often upload video clips of your dogs’ work to our FaceBook page or YouTube channel.  This enables you to see your dogs’ progress, and actually helps demonstrate how to handle him successfully, without the emotional stress of having to ‘do the heavy lifting’ yourself.

Lionheart K9 encourages active participation from you throughout the training, and offers the opportunity for additional visits at no extra cost once your dog is returned to you. This enables you to understand how to maintain your dogs’ training after the residency has been completed. If work or travel prevents that, we will arrange to work with you during your available time, or with an in-person visit to your location to help you communicate with your dog more effectively.

What does my dogs’ day look like if he comes for boarding school or boot camp?

Our day starts early and ends late. The day starts at 6 am and ends sometime after 10 pm! We provide multiple training sessions per day here at our training facility in Finksburg or on our signature K9 Adventures to different locations throughout Carroll County. Since the dogs live in the house with us, they get plenty of opportunities to learn how to behave around our cats, many other dogs, teenagers and all of the things a busy household has to offer. Every dog enrolled in our boarding and training school is given the opportunity to stretch their legs with other social dogs in daily supervised play groups while learning how to come when called, even away from really interesting distractions, to walk politely on and off leash and to sit, down and stay. We practice recalls and basic skills with each dog as they play to keep training engaging and fun!

What can I expect my dog to know at the end of training?

Your dog will have been introduced to the basic obedience commands (Heel, Sit, Down, ‘stay’, and to come when called) as well as “off” (keep feet on the ground), “out” (what your dog holds in his mouth, he must release), “leave it” (what your dog ‘wants’ he cannot have), “wait” (entering and exiting doorways, automobiles, navigating flights of stairs, etc). The duration of the residency training determines how fluently your dog performs these exercises for you. Continual daily practice helps him develop lasting memory. Lionheart K9’s residency training programs vary in length from 14 days to 3 months and can be customized to address specific behaviors or skills. The less time your dog spends in training, the more practice he will need afterwards. The more time your dog spends in training, the more refined his skills will be. As with any learned task, what you don’t use, you lose, and it is the same with dogs. Persistent practice of the things your dog has learned on a daily basis will help keep him sharp!

I am going on vacation soon, can I have my dog trained in 14 days?

Depending on the age of the dog and your training goals, quite a bit can be accomplished in a 14-day training program. Our Jump Start Dog Training Camp options are not for all dogs and an evaluation would need to be conducted to see if your dog is a good fit for the program. Our Jump Start Dog Training Camp program can be looked at in two ways; as a place to send your dog where they will get 24/7 supervision in order to reinforce training they may already have, or as a “Boot Camp” to address basic manners training . It is a very popular program for young, untrained dogs and for dogs who need a training tune-up. It is not designed as a program for serious behavior problems like aggression or anxiety. An evaluation is the best determination of whether your dog is right for this program.

What type of training do you do? Do you use treats?

Yes, we do use food. We also use anything that is determined to be of any value to the dog, like toys, games and so on. We tend to fade the use of food as a motivator pretty early, once the dog grasps a concept, and replace it with a more tangible reward. We employ many scientifically sound principles in our training, but we are not married to one philosophy, nor do we engage in rhetoric or dogma. We train dogs.

We advocate for results-based dog training, in a timely manner and do not endorse “dominance-based” training that uses pain or fear. We are well-versed in the use of all contemporary training philosophies and tools and are able to create a unique experience for our training clients, one that satisfies their goals and expectations.

The intelligent use of reinforcement to motivate willing cooperation creates thoughtful, well-trained problem solvers who are a pleasure to own. We create positive relationships where none existed and improve those relationships where conflict has taken the place of companionship.

Do you use electronic “shock” collars?

Modern electronic collars have evolved into a unique tool of communication that many people misunderstand. Most clients who have used them categorize their sensation as “annoying”. The new technology enables us to create a direct line of communication to the dog in a conflict-free way. Instead of shouting or yanking, we employ a very low-level stimulation to get and maintain your dogs’ attention. In this way, we actually set your dog up for success instead of punishing him for failure. The modern e-collar’s technology makes it a versatile tool and one that has been successful in the training of the world’s top competitors in field trial events for hunting dogs, as well as many other dog sports. Lionheart K9 demonstrates their use at every evaluation we conduct so you can make an informed decision about their use. If you are opposed to their use, we are more than capable of providing training that uses other methodology.

Do you use choke chains?

We use a variety of tools to help facilitate communication between dog and owner. We follow a policy of “the least path of resistance” with all of our training, regardless of tool use. A “choke chain” is simply a tool like any other, it’s principle role is to disable the dogs’ ability to escape or avoid something it doesn’t want to do. In layman’s terms, all this means is the dog can’t back out of it. We don’t yank on dogs or beat them up with collars, but enable them to discover boundaries in a positive environment. Eventually, as with any training tool, our goal is to teach the dog right action so we can fade the use of the tool altogether. We have several great videos that show the equipment we use and clearly the dogs are working happily. You can view them on our YouTube Channel.

Through our teaching process, you are taught precisely how to get your dog free of tools that simply manage his behavior. We also use prong collars to help you if you are over-matched by the size of your dog. Think of it as power steering. With the appropriate guidance, any tool can be used safely and humanely.

My dog is pretty aggressive. I was told that prong collars and shock collars will make him worse.

We specialize in aggressive behavior, whether fear-based, or overtly aggressive resource guarders, fence fighters and biters. It is not the tool that does the harm. Any tool is simply a means to control a dog in a precise way, so learning can occur. Electronic collars, prong collars and chain training collars have been used for decades as training tools for dogs. For over 70 years and counting, chain training collars are still the only training collar permitted in AKC competitive events.

Electronic collars have been in existence since the early 60’s and have revolutionized modern dog training. The contemporary prong collar has been around since the 40’s and was designed specifically to work with as little pressure as possible. Decades of successful application has only been marred by inappropriate use.

As I stated before, every tool can be used safely and humanely. We demonstrate the tools we use so that you can see their application and make an informed choice about their use and how each may help you achieve your training goals.  We have learned that when we demonstrate how we use these tools, we empower you to choose the right tool for you. You are more apt to enjoy maintaining your dogs’ training after he leaves our care when you are informed about appropriate tool use.