Frequently asked questions
Do you do potty training?
Potty training is an issue that ultimately must be done in your home. That being said, we lay the foundation and instructions for you to successfully potty train your dog. During the training program, puppies and dogs are crate trained and introduced to a potty schedule where they learn to go potty when taken to a potty area. If potty training is one of your goals, you will receive detailed instructions as to how to continue the potty training in your home. You must follow the instructions given to complete the training.
Older dogs with potty training issues may have other underlying issues. Dogs raised in dirty conditions as puppies can be a challenge as they started life used to being dirty. This is a common problem with dogs rescued from puppy mills or hoarding situations. If your dog is urinating frequently, it would be advisable to first take your dog to the vet to check for a urinary tract infection and general health check before training.
How old does my dog have to be to start training?
Training starts as soon as you get your puppy! Puppies start learning as soon as they open their eyes and start exploring the world. Most people get their puppies between 8 to 10 weeks of age. We strongly recommend not taking a puppy younger than 8 weeks old away from its mother and siblings. Depending on your puppy’s age, you can participate in different programs.
PRIVATE LESSONS: If you are not comfortable taking your puppy to a puppy kindergarten class before 12 weeks of age, but you need some guidance, we offer in-home private lesson packages as well as private lessons at our location.
PUPPY KINDERGARTEN: Puppies can start puppy kindergarten class at 8 weeks old after their first shots with the understanding that you are balancing a calculated risk of disease with the need to properly socialize your puppy during critical developmental periods. While risk of exposure to diseases such as parvo and lepto are limited when attending a puppy class, there is always a risk. On the flip side, not exposing your puppy to the world for a month while waiting on the next set of shots may negatively impact the puppy’s mental development. Most veterinarians clear puppies for full activities after the second set of shots generally given around 12 weeks of age.
PUPPY BOARD AND TRAIN: Puppies must be 12 weeks of age and have had two sets of shots before coming for boarding.
Can you fix digging and chewing?
Yes, but only if owners follow instructions properly. Digging and chewing are symptoms of a bigger problem, namely a bored dog. We are aware of “quick fix” methods using harsh compulsion to stop digging and chewing without addressing the underlying problems, however we will not use those methods as it is completely unfair to the dog and can cause aggression as a side effect. We will be happy to fix digging and chewing problems with owners who are willing to accept their role in improving the life of their dog, making changes, and executing proper management.
How much are the programs?
Our programs range from $150 for group classes to our day school and board and train obedience programs that range from $1300 to $3600, to our 6-8 week programs for aggressive dogs that range from $3600 to $5000.
Do you address nipping and biting?
Yes. Nipping and biting are issues that tend to run with the underlying problem of a dog with no basic knowledge of rules, boundaries, or impulse control. It is also indicative of understandably inexperienced owners who have acquired a dog with more energy, intelligence, and drive than they are prepared to handle. We teach the dogs obedience skills and alternate behaviors to replace these undesirable behaviors. Also key to the process is training the owners how to properly handle their dogs and continue the training. There is NO training program that does not require full participation from the owners.
Do you guarantee your training?
We will review with you your goals and clearly set forth our program goals to reach and foreseeable limitations. That being said, dogs are living, breathing creatures, not robots, and the process of training and behavior modification is a team effort, therefore lasting results are dependent upon the cooperation and dedication of the owner as well. We will give you the instructions and guidance to create a positive and healthy relationship with your dog and will continue to work with you to achieve your goals, however, you must be part of the process and put in full effort with us. If, for whatever reason, you do not feel we were a good fit for you and your dog and your expectations were not met, we have a refund policy for the training portion of your dog’s stay.
There is no training that can exist in a vacuum without owners willing to follow instructions, make changes in their own behavior, and learn how to better the lives of their canine companions. We choose to work with owners willing to do their part in improving the lives of their dogs alongside us. Those looking for a quick fix without effort on their part are not a good fit for our program and would be better suited for a quick-turnaround, compulsion-based program elsewhere.
Can you train my dog not to pull on the leash?
Yes, absolutely. Good leash manners are a part of all of our board and train programs. In our obedience programs, we teach the dogs both informal loose leash walking as well as the more formal “heel” and sit on halt.
Our behavior training programs will also teach loose leash walking, however, less emphasis will be placed on formal heels for dogs that are shy, nervous, or need confidence building.
Can you stop my dog from barking and lunging at other dogs?
Yes. Again, you as the owner must continue the training after your dog leaves our program. Most dogs that display this behavior are “reactive” rather than truly aggressive and the behaviors can be modified very successfully in our four-week program. An evaluation may be required to determine the severity of the behavior and the appropriate program.
What is the difference between reactive and aggressive?
Most simply put, a reactive dog is a dog that generally overreacts to stimuli in its environment. Reactivity almost always stems from insecurity and fear. Reactive behaviors are generally caused by one or more of the following: lack of proper socialization, genetic weaknesses, bad experiences, insufficient training, and lack of impulse control. Reactive dogs generally are not initiating any actions to harm or bite anyone, rather reacting in a way to keep away whatever is in the environment that makes them uncomfortable. Because reactive behaviors are based in insecurity and fear, a reactive dog will choose to avoid conflict before instigating a fight, however if a reactive dog feels trapped or backed into a corner, it very well could bite. Additionally, if left unchecked, some reactive dogs may progress to aggression.
Aggressive dogs may be perfectly stable companions in the correct hands, or very dangerous liabilities in the wrong hands. Aggressive dogs have the intent and desire to bite and cause serious harm to humans or other dogs. Some dogs are aggressive toward other dogs, but not toward humans. Dogs that are aggressive toward humans are the most difficult and dangerous to handle and train. We will help you determine whether your dog is truly aggressive, the level of risk associated with the dog, and honestly guide you through your options.
What does a typical day look like?
A typical day for your dog when staying for a board and train program is a balance of work, exercise, potty breaks, and rest. First thing in the morning, usually starting around 6:30am, all the dogs are given time in turfed runs to stretch their legs and potty. These potty breaks are done several times all day long, the last breaks being between 9:30pm and 11:00pm. Training dogs are also taken outside on training walks as well as indoor training sessions. How many sessions and length of sessions depend on what your dog is working on that particular day. Some days there may be one long session, and another day 2 or 3 short sessions. Dogs in training require time to rest and to process what they are learning. Quiet time for them is extremely important for the learning process.
How many times a day are the dogs out of their crates?
Unlike many boarding facilities, we do NOT want dogs eliminating where they sleep. For this reason, the dogs are taken out of their lodgings multiple times a day for potty breaks and exercise time and attention. This keeps their living quarters clean and our facility sanitized and smelling good. We have multiple indoor runs on artificial turf as well as an outdoor side yard with additional runs. All the dogs boarding are rotated into the exercise runs throughout the day.
What equipment do you use in training?
The tools and methods used in training are based on the needs and characteristics of the dog. We assess each dog to determine genetic predispositions, possible challenges and hurdles, and from there decide on the best tools and approach to training. We review our assessment with you, discuss the recommended training tools with you, and obtain your approval before beginning the training. The tools we choose from include clickers, leashes, slip leashes, slip collars, gentle leaders, flat collars, muzzles, prong collars, and e-collars. These tools are in addition to intangible tools such as the trainer’s presence, energy, body pressure, and environment.
What methods do you use in training? Do you use treats?
We used different methods depending on the needs of each dog. Simply put, we give the dogs structure and discipline (discipline does not mean punishment) while also motivating them to want to make good choices. We use food as a motivator, but not as a bribe. There is a big difference. In order to shape a dog’s behavior, you have to find what motivates him, build a relationship, as well as teach rules, boundaries, and impulse control. Motivational tools will include food, treats, toys, praise, or anything else in the environment that excited your dog. Ultimately, in order to achieve the best results, we use these tools and motivators to build and strengthen the bond between dog and human.
Do I need to bring my dog’s food?
Yes. We do not want to change your dog’s food cold turkey upon arrival as this can result in digestive upset. Please do not bring big bags of food and food containers. We do not have the space to store them. Bring your dog’s food in pre-portioned ziplock bags, one bag per day. For example, if your dog will be with us for 30 days, please bring 30 ziplock bags of food.
If your dog has any food allergies, please be sure to let us know.
What vaccines are required?
All boarding and day school dogs are required to have the following vaccines:
- Rabies (1 to 3 years)
- Bordatella Vaccine every 6 months
- Annual DHLPP Vaccines (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)
In addition, all dogs must be on flea/tick prevention during their stay.
Does my dog have to be spayed or neutered?
No, we do not require spaying or neutering to board or train with us. If you have a female, however, please do not bring a female in heat or near an expected heat cycle as we do have unaltered males in the facility. If your female goes into heat while staying with us, we may have to contact you to pick her up until she is out of heat.
What happens if my dog gets sick or injured while at Cosmic Canine?
While we always do our very best to keep everyone in our care healthy, just like humans, dogs can get sick despite the best of care. Much like daycares, some dogs may come down with tummy issues or a cold among other common minor ailments. We closely monitor all dogs in our care and will inform you of any health concerns. In case of an emergency condition, we will immediately seek medical care for your dog and attempt to contact you. We require all owners to agree to allow us to seek immediate veterinary care when we deem it necessary.
Do you have cameras where I can login and see my dog?
No, we do not have live stream cameras. We do, however, provide updates and photos of your dog as often as we can!
My dog just has a couple behavioral issues to address, can you do it in two weeks?
It depends on the issues. A personal assessment would need to be done with you and your dog to determine what reasonable goals can be set for a two week program. We are not a compulsion based, turn and burn facility. We do know how the fast-turn training is done and we choose not to do it. We are focused on teaching your dog fairly, consistently, and building relationships.