Frequently Asked Questions

Daytime Care

What is the difference between a WALK/PLAYTIME and a DROP-IN?


Both services are offered as house calls and include a potty break. A walk or playtime is a 30 minute long appointment where my time is spent exclusively playing with and exercising your pet. A drop-in is more appropriate when the pet needs anything more than exercise during the visit. These are longer than walks by 15 minutes to account for the extra time spent fulfilling the pet's needs, whether it be grooming, getting a meal, etc. and also includes playtime/activity with whatever time is left over.




Can my dog be a candidate for daycare?


It completely depends on your dog's energy level and social skills. In order to be considered a dog must be comfortable around other dogs and respectful of the boundaries and signals of other dogs. For this reason, I only offer daycare to my existing clients who I am already well-acquainted and familiar with. My own dog, Dave, is dog selective and requires slow, controlled introductions to new doggy friends. He has friends of various shapes and sizes, however he generally seems to prefer (neutered) males that are 30 lbs. or less that are not too playful. As long as the other dog respects his space and gives him time to get to know them before engaging in any sort of interactions, Dave enjoys meeting new companions. Daycare dogs must be crate trained and cannot be cat aggressive.




How does DAYCARE work?


First, once I have approved your dog, they will come for a test day a.k.a. and evaluation day. This means you will drop your pup off with me and I will spend the day introducing your pup to the pack using separation, controlled interactions, and group walks. This intitial day comes free of charge. Depending on how both your and my own dog behave, I will either approve or deny your dog to return for a second day. I will continue to slowly integrate your dog into the daily group to ensure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves, and it can take several visits for a dog to gain full freedom in the home. Dogs who are approved for daycare can be dropped off and picked up at just about any time between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. so long as you have confirmed with me. Dogs get plenty of outdoor time throughout the day, both in the attached fenced-in yard as well as a group walk if weather/schedule permits. Midway through the day there is a one-hour nap where all the pups head into their crates to relax, maybe chew on a bully stick or antler, and enjoy some alone time. Potty breaks are offered around every 3-4 hours.





Policies

What is your cancellation policy?


Daily Appointments: I build my schedule around each appointment of the day, and setting time aside to travel to and care for your pet is time that I will be unavailable to my other clients as I am only one person. To avoid being charged a fee, please allow at least 12 hours prior to your appointment to change or reschedule so I have time to try to fill your slot. At least 24 hours is preferred. House Sitting: In order to be refunded your deposit, please provide at least 72 hours notice prior to your scheduled stay to cancel or make any changes.




What health records do I need to provide for my pet?


I require that all dogs and cats are up to date on their rabies and distemper vaccinations unless medically exempt. You can send proof of their paperwork either by including a photo of it or scanning and adding it as a pdf attachment via email.




Why do you require dogs to be wearing a harness when you are handling them?


Harnesses that clip on the dog's back are the absolute safest possible tool to use when walking a dog on leash. A dog's chest is the strongest part of their body, hence why sled dogs and work horses wear body harnesses in order to pull the load. Flat collars run the risk of causing choking, permanent tracheal damage, and sometimes even spinal injury. Head halters, while useful for handling an extreme puller, should not be the used alone as they are capable of causing neck injuries as well.




Don't harnesses cause dogs to pull more?


This is totally a myth. It may seem like they do, but in reality your dog is pulling as much as they would have liked to the entire time. It is simply that the harness is far more comfortable than a collar or head halter due to its better distribution of pressure. Pulling on leash is not an issue that can be fixed with any type of tool, therefore I firmly believe in always using harnesses unless a person is physically incapable of safely handling their dog when they are pulling. In that case, I may suggest adding the use of a front-clipping harness or adding a head halter.




Is my dog at risk because they could slip out of their harness?


There is pretty much always a possibility they could escape if they really tried to unless they are wearing a slip collar What I do personally, and suggest to my clients as well, is make sure their collar is fitted properly and cannot slip over their head as well as find a way to connect their harness to the collar. This ensures that if the dog were to somehow pull away and slip out of their harness, they would still be secured to the leash. I usually just use a leash splitter, which can be found online or in just about any pet store.





Private Training

Where do you conduct training?


All training is conducted on location, either at or outside your home or in a public area. Any sessions to be done in a public place will be dicussed and agreed upon ahead of time.




What is the best way to ask a question regarding my homework in Google Classroom?


Click on the Material your question is related to. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll find a text box that says "Add class comment...." where you can type in and post a question for your instructor and other students (if applicable) to see. Your question will be addressed as soon as possible, usually within the same day.




How do I access my Google Classroom?


You can check out step-by-step instructions on how to join your class (on desktop) here.




What do training packages include?


Along with each scheduled session you will also receive weekly homework assignments that include videos, articles, and other helpful resources to strengthen your existing skills and further expand your knowledge as a dog owner. You will also have a lifetime of support, so that means I am happy to answer any questions or help troubleshoot issues related to the program no matter how long ago it was completed.




Can I schedule just a single session at a time?


Single sessions are available only to existing clients who have completed another program. These are intended only to continue working on behaviors and concepts previously covered, not to introduce brand new material. If you have only a single specific behavioral issue you want to tackle, please contact me about scheduling a custom desgined program.




Which training program is right for me?


Regardless of how much experience you may or may not have, I always recommend starting with my most popular course: The Basics. The program is designed to benefit both people who have done extensive training in the past as well as people who are only just beginning with their dog, so no matter what you will learn some new, very valuable strategies and techniques.





General

What does "LIMA" stand for?


From https://apdt.com/about/position-statements/ : "'LIMA' is an acronym for the phrase 'least intrusive, minimally aversive'. LIMA describes a trainer or behavior consultant who uses the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy out of a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective. LIMA adherence also requires consultants to be adequately educated and skilled in order to ensure that the least intrusive and aversive procedure is used. 1 LIMA does not justify the use of punishment in lieu of other effective interventions and strategies. In the vast majority of cases, desired behavior change can be affected by focusing on the animal’s environment, physical well-being, and operant and classical interventions such as differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior, desensitization, and counter-conditioning."




My dog pulls on leash. Should I get them a head halter or a body harness?


Short answer: probably a body harness. These can be used on a regular basis with significantly less risk of injury than other equipment and are the most comfortable option for dogs. I do not recommend head harnesses unless in the case of an extreme puller, so much so that there is a risk of losing control or even injury to the handler. I also do not recommend the use of a head harness without proper training to condition your dog to being comfortable wearing it first.




How can I get in contact with you?


I communicate via email and scheduled video chats only. I do not give out my personal phone number but I can place private calls if necessary. Click here to send me an email.




You recommended I get [insert product here] for my dog/cat/etc. Which one would you suggest?


Check out my Recommended Products page to see all of the specific and general products I recommend to all of my clients.





Overnight Care

What is the difference between BOARDING and HOUSE SITTING?


BOARDING is when your dog comes to my home to stay overnight, and is available to approved daycare clients only. HOUSE SITTING is when I stay in your home with your pet(s) overnight.




How come I cannot book BOARDING or HOUSE SITTING?


Due to the limited availability for boarding, all requests must be communicated directly to me via email. Boarding is available for existing daycare clients only. House sitting is only available to existing clients and I am very selective as to when and whom I accept for sitting stays. This is because house sitting is very time consuming and can add difficulty to my daily routine and appointments. Like boarding, all requests for house sitting must be communicated directly to me via email.





Grooming

Why is there no listed price for a full grooming (bath, pedicure, etc.)?


The cost of a full spa service varies greatly depending on the size of the dog, type of coat, and condition of the coat as well. Please email me directly for an estimated price specific to your dog.





Prices

What discounts do you offer?


R.A.T.E. now offers a loyalty program where certain booked appointments count towards "Paw Prints", and Paw Prints can be redeemed for discounted or even free services.