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By: Deb P.
Acoma Training Center
Just completed Novice Obedience with my 2 year old German Shepherd mix.  If you want to learn how to train and have a good positive relationship with your dog you need to go to this class.  Dogs need boundaries and to understand what is expected of them in order to be happy.  There is nothing cruel or inappropriate about the methods used here.  Trish very quickly recognizes the soft and insecure dogs and the dominant bullying dogs and works with them very earnestly.  At the end of 8 weeks the soft shy dogs were comfortable with other people and dogs and the naughty bullies were acting like good citizens. Of course, if you only go to class and don't work with your dog on the lessons at home, your results may not be what you hoped.  The cost is very reasonable especially in light of the extra attention you get from the staff  and the 4 free refresher sessions you can attend upon completion.  You will get a list of the proper equipment when you sign up and you can buy what you need anywhere.  The fact that Acoma also has good quality equipment at reasonable prices is an added benefit and convenient.
By: Bridget V.
Ralph Clever Working Dogs & Rehabilitation, LLC
Kirsten is a very caring person. She is professional, patient, knowledgeable and willing to make adaptations to best meet the need of both the service dog in training as well as for the individual in need of the service dog. My son has Cerebral Palsy and uses a power wheelchair, Kirsten worked wonderfully with my son to train his dog. She empowered my son and was very positive throughout the training program. My sons service dog as graduated from training and works very hard for my son and meets the needs of my son. Thank you, Kirsten!
Tips & Advices
In order to be certified as a therapy dog or emotional support dog, animals need to receive an evaluation/written designation from a licensed health professional: social worker, physician, psychiatrist typically. As for service dogs, which are allowed to accompany their owners into most businesses and pet-restricted areas, they can receive training, certifications, and registrations from several organizations such as TDI and United States Service Dog Registry. These certifications are not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, but may streamline the process of getting a dog access to typically off-limits areas. Service dogs and therapy dogs are not the same thing. The same dog might fall into both categories, but therapy and emotional support animals are not recognized under the ADA.
Aggressive behavior is the most common reason that people seek professional training for their dogs. Aggressive dogs require careful evaluation from a professional to accurately classify and diagnose the behavior. Puppies that display aggressive behavior are often diagnosed as undersocialized or hyperactive, and may evolve out of that behavior with regular obedience training. However, dogs with real aggression issues require specialized training from a behaviorist or trainer who understands genetic and hereditary factors, types of aggression, environmental factors and aggressive treatment methods. The number one suggestion when seeking an aggressive behavior specialist is to ask a trusted veterinarian. Dog rescues or other professionals may also have good referrals.
If a dog doesn’t meet expectations at the end of a training course, it is as likely to be related to the training course or the pet owner as the dog. A recommended next step would be to carefully research more training methods and local trainers to find a program that is better suited to your dog. Another one is to consider whether lack of commitment, inconsistent at-home practice,  or an inconsistent discipline/reward system may have undermined the training program.
Obedience training generally takes place at 6 months, but you can begin training a puppy to socialize with humans and other animals at 7-8 weeks.
Essentially, dogs learn to respond properly to basic commands in obedience class--and humans learn how to properly give those commands. Dogs and owners will also learn how to communicate with each other, and how to avoid distractions or disturbances from the outside. No matter which method of dog training is used, it is necessary to be consistent and committed in order to train a dog. Also, it’s important that a pet owner understand their dog’s temperament and hereditary factors, and find a class and method that is appropriate.

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