Certified Dog Training
Our trainer, Kayla, is a certified, force-free CPDT-KA trainer. Kayla also has a special certificate in dealing with anxiety, a common issue many owners struggle with, especially for young dogs that grew up during the height of the pandemic.
When you select WestFetch for your training, you will be working directly with Kayla. We do NOT utilize contractors or uncertified employees to conduct training sessions with you and/or your dog. We want you to get the very most out of each and every session with us!
Here at WestFetch, we aim to provide compassionate dog training that helps you positively connect with your dog. We follow the position statement put out by the American Veterinary Society of Animal behavior on ethical dog training. In short, we will not employ any harsh, uncomfortable, or intimidating methods on your pup nor we will use tools designed to cause discomfort such as choke, prong, or electronic/shock collars. We use science based, certified force-free dog training methods backed by modern studies which encourage a positive and fun learning environment for your dog.
By using these methods we are able to approach your dog’s behavior in a holistic and comprehensive manner and allows us to best customize a plan to set them up for success. We also take into account your dog’s age, developmental history (included life experiences thus far), body language, genetic aspects as well as physical and mental exercise all of which contribute to the current behavioral expression of your dog.
The range of services we provide covers day training (sessions during day care), private in-home sessions, separation anxiety and board & train services. We strongly believe that education and understanding is the best way to keep pets in loving homes and out of shelters, so we take every effort to help educate our clients to the best of our ability. However, we also understand that we cannot cover every behavior issue. If we find that you are needing help that is beyond our scope, we will point you in the direction of a trainer or veterinary behaviorist that can better guide you and your dog.
Dogs utilizing our day care service have the opportunity to participate in training during their time with us. We offer basic foundational skills as an add-on to their typical routine, such as: eye contact, come, sit, down, stay, and place. This is typically offered in four, six, or eight week schedules depending on the frequency of day care attendance and what skills you are looking to refine/attain. Included with each session is a written summary detailing skills that were practiced along with videos for you to watch as aids to your own sessions at home.
This is a surface level training experience that is meant to help instill a few basic manners skills that can be used in the home or on outings. It is not a method to address more in-depth training/behavioral issues which are better suited for in-home, one-on-one sessions.
In-Home Private Training
With our private, in-home sessions we take a deep dive into your dog’s behavior. By meeting you in your home environment and using force-free psychologically based methods, we can help you and your dog understand each other and set the stage for success. These sessions include teaching basic skills, working on proper socialization techniques, implementing enrichment and exercise routines, navigating potential unwanted behaviors, beginning separation training and education on how dogs experience the world around them.
Included with each session are customized summary notes and “homework” catered to you and your dog so you can build on each lesson. We will also provide resources for any helpful toys, treats, puzzles, items, etc that may particularly be useful for your dog based on their specific needs and drives. In between sessions, we are always accessible for help should you come across any challenges with the topics covered which will also help us build your next session based on at-home results. We cannot stress enough of the importance of working together as a team—family and trainer—for the success of your pet. In-home training sessions do not require any minimum commitments and are pay-per-session. We want to see you and your pup succeed but you can continue or stop based on your personal preferences.
Separation anxiety is a very complex, difficult and frustrating behavior issue to address. Very few trainers provide science-based, force-free methods to work on helping your dog overcome these stressful situations.
Kayla is specifically certified in the treatment of separation anxiety and separation related frustration. Studies indicate that the most effective method for treating separation anxiety is through systematic gradual desensitization along with potential veterinary approved anxiety medication. Due to dogs innate social needs, no dog enjoys isolation (though often many dogs can learn to tolerate it). However many do develop separation anxiety due to a variety of factors many of which are out of our control.
We can work with you through this difficult situation, but we want to be upfront in saying that it is a long and trying process as there are no quick fixes for separation anxiety. In many ways this is addressed in a similar way that a psychologists would address a phobia in humans. Taking a gradual and measured exposure while also avoiding going over the threshold of what the person (dog) can tolerate (ie, no or very little discomfort).
Video observation and footage is a key tool for both the owner and trainer in monitoring how your dog is doing while alone. We recommend having at least one video recording device to watch your dog in the home before beginning this training. The more footage available will allow our trainer to best analyze it for micro behaviors that indicate stress. We also recommend making a list of alternative measures that can be taken to prevent the dog from being alone during this training. This can include pet sitters, family, and potentially daycare depending on the level of anxiety shown in each situation. Finally, having acute observational skills can be critical for this. We will teach you how to study behavior in a variety of situations during the day so you can notice patterns that may indicate distress vs normal behavior. With your dedication and our expertise, together we can work on allowing your dog to regain some freedom and relieve the stress this anxiety can cause.
Board & Train
Through our board and train program, we will create a customized program to help you and your dog establish those ever-important skills. Typical training will be 2-4 weeks with your dog staying with us Mon – Fri and then home with you for the weekend. An overview with our trainer will be conducted at the end of each week and along with instructions of your homework for the weekend (yes, there is homework!).
If you are interested or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will reach out and send you a small questionnaire to help us get a general understanding of what you are looking to accomplish and begin to set up a plan moving forward.