We offer tons of training options for therapy dog training, service dog training, and dog obedience training, so it is important to choose the best option for you! Below is a guide. At the end of the day, we recommend you take advantage of our free consultation to receive our professional opinion about the best way to go about training your dog!
Individual Training Sessions
These are in facility one-on-one training sessions where you (and your family), your dog and your trainer meet one-on-one for either one hour or thirty minute sessions. During these sessions the trainer will discuss your goals, create a curriculum, and get started on the training! The trainer will first teach the behavior to the dog directly while explaining the process, then you will get a chance to try. The sessions are approximately 50-50, the trainer working with the dog and you working with your dog under the trainer’s instruction. We recommend meeting once a week for individual sessions.
Pros: You are involved the whole way! You learn how to handle your dog. You are able to ask questions as you go through and have the attention of the trainer only on you and your specific needs the whole time.
Cons: Requires an hourly commitment each week. Requires you to be very involved in the training (which can be difficult with a busy schedule).
Link: Obedience Training One on One
Drop Off Training Sessions
These are sessions, only offered Monday-Friday, where you bring your dog for dog daycare boarding and they get a combination of playtime with suitable dogs and training with a trainer. The trainer will take your goals and work with your dog alone—just trainer and dog—in either 30 minute or hour sessions. We recommend doing these sessions consecutively, for example, 5 days in a week. These sessions are suitable for training dog obedience, potty training, crate training, dog reactivity, and for therapy dog training and service dog training. At the end of 5 days of drop off training you, your dog and your trainer will do one one-on-one training session so the trainer can show you everything your dog has been working on and learning so you can follow through!
Pros: Tons of exercise and socialization for your dog, fits well into a busy schedule, keeps your dog out of trouble while you’re at work, the dog trains in a very high-distraction environment, there is high capacity for training with other dogs present (good for dogs with leash reactivity training needed!) and there is the ability for us to assist in potty training and crate training [all dogs potty outside on the grass- not in the play yard].
Cons: You are not directly involved each day in the training
Link: Weekday Drop-Off Training
Board and Train
Board and Train is when your dog stays with us overnight for training. This can be done in short periods of time (a weekend) or longer periods of time 1- 5 weeks. Most people prefer the two week board and train. During the board and train your dog will be working with two trainers: a primary trainer and a secondary trainer. Both trainers will be working hard to reach the goals that you (the owner) and the trainers have agreed upon! Each day your dog will be receiving either 1-hr sessions or 30-min sessions (depending on the dog’s age- pricing differs) where the trainer works one on one with your dog. Board and Train dogs also receive at minimum 4 walks a day and playtime with other suitable dogs. At the end of the Board and Train you will receive a “Train the Owner” session + additional one-on-one follow ups (based on how long your dog stays with us).
Pros: One of the greatest benefits is the IMMERSION training! We work with distractions, around other people and dogs. We also often take the dogs into public places for training—for example, Lowes or Home Depot. EXCELLENT option for potty training puppies. BEST option for Leash Reactive Dogs. High Potential for OFF LEASH dog training!
Cons: You are not involved day to day. If your dog is very nervous in a boarding situation, this may not be a good option for it.
Link: Board and Train
Group Classes are dog obedience classes in small groups 8- 10, typically. The trainer will give instruction and show you how to work with your dog, but will not typically handle your dog themselves. We offer a CGC (AKC Canine Good Citizen) prep class and our very popular puppy training class—the AKC Puppy S.T.A.R Puppy Group Class!
Pros: Very social and fun!, Low cost
Cons: Strict schedule, less one-on-one time with the trainer, low potential for additional assistance—potty training for your puppy in training, crate training, etc.
Link:AKC Puppy S.T.A.R Group Classes & AKC CGC Group Class
There are so many different types of working dogs out in the world today that it can be difficult for the public to navigate who is who, especially with all of the news reports of "fake" Service Dogs or Emotional Support animals causing havoc on planes, in malls, and for real, legitimate Service Dog Handlers.
Given all of the misinformation and misuse of these terms it is important to be aware of the differences between each group of working dogs. There are many more, but I want to focus on Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, and Therapy Dogs.
Service Dogs, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act are:
"dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities".
These dogs, under the ADA, must be extensively trained to perform "work" that relates directly to one person's disabilities.
Service Dogs receive full public access to all public spaces with their handler in order to assist and mitigate their handler's disabilities.
For answers to more FAQs, view our FAQ page and to learn about the types of tasks a Service Dog can do, read more on our service dog Training Process page.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals are animals that have minimal training and function to provide only emotional comfort in the home. These animals receive special status only in private home locations under the Fair Housing Act and on a case by case basis, depending on the airline, in air travel.
These dogs do not have full access to public spaces and they are not required to be "task" trained to mitigate their handler's disability.
Therapy Dogs are trained, loving dogs that provide comfort to groups of people. For example, therapy dogs go into hospitals, trauma centers, schools, etc.
They often have specialized training, but are not required to. These dogs only have access to non-dog friendly environments where they are "working."
44225 Mercure Cir.
Sterling, VA 20166
7 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.
6:30 a.m.- 7 a.m. Available by Appt Only
Saturday & Sunday
By Appointment Only