FAQs

About Zen Dog Training

What makes Zen Dog Training different from other training?

We challenge owners to think differently about their dog.

Becoming your dog’s leader and consciously training him from the start will teach him confidence and improve the bond you have together.

Zen Dog Training is enlightened. Remove the stress and frustration with having a dog by actively take charge of the training and your dog will learn how to live harmoniously with you and your family.

Zen Dog Training is balanced. We will teach you positive reinforcement, how best to reward and encourage good behaviors, but also, how to interrupt and curb unwanted behaviors. Best of all, our methods work without scaring your dog or resorting to harsh punishment!

We focus the training on you — the human. We want you to understand what methods work, what doesn’t (and why) and help you build a relationship with your dog based on mutual understanding, communication, and consequences.

How do you do it?

We have developed a way to help people better communicate and understand their dogs. Not only will you learn how to “Simply and Effectively” get your dog to listen to you, our training solutions are disguised as games your dog will love to play!

Zen Dog’s methods rely on mutual understanding, motivation, and consistency to give your dog the choice to make the right decision. Using our methods your dog will peacefully learn what you want him to do (or stop doing!).

I hear a lot about positive reinforcement training. Is that what you do?

We use positive reinforcement, but also teach people how to simply and effectively stop unwanted behaviors using our innovative 3-step system.

Our methods are (1) fear-free, (2) scientifically-proven to work, and (3) easy to learn and use. We use family-friendly games and powerful solutions to address problem behaviors that anyone can learn. Techniques make sense and are easily repeatable by the average owner—even children have fun teaching their dog to be a Zen Dog!

Do you use clickers?

Rather than use clickers, which can be cumbersome and easily lost or forgotten, we encourage our clients to use specific words (“Yes!”) and phrases (“Thank you!”) to communicate to their dogs that their behavior is appreciated. This is called a “praise marker,” and we love using them!

What training tools do I need?

We ask that all clients have a six-foot leash, a collar, and treats on hand.  For younger puppies or newly adopted dogs, a crate and training gates may be needed.

If we’ll be working on leashwalking and off-leash recall, we recommend a front-clip harness such as Premier’s Easy Walk Harness as well as an extra-long training leash (twenty-five feet or more). Finally, all dogs can benefit from the mental stimulation Food Acquisition Devices or treat-dispensing toys like Busy Buddies provide.

Do you guarantee results?

No, however, we can teach you how to better communicate with your dog, and quickly and effectively help you teach your dog the rules of your home. Ultimately, it is up to you to track progress and practice your games and solutions. We can promise you this—if you stick to our training regimen and make sure that everyone in your household is consistent—you will see changes in your dog’s behavior.

I have two dogs. Does training them both cost more?

If you’d like to have a private training session, there is no extra cost for having more than one dog! Our packages are priced according to the time we spend working with you. Of course you may need more time if you have two dogs with different issues.

However, if you’d like to register for a group class, we do require reservations for each dog as we intentionally keep class sizes small.

About Our Training Programs

When should I start training ?

Right away! The sooner you learn our methods the faster you will be able to communicate with your dog to get the behaviors you want.

Training a younger puppy is easier; habits (good and bad) can be formed in as little as 2-3 weeks. As soon as you walk in the door with a new dog or puppy, whether you know it or not, training has already begun. So the sooner you start teaching your dog – the better!

Ideally, training would start with an In-Home Visit the first week or two after getting a new puppy or adult dog. Once you learn our methods and create the right environment for success, training will be a breeze! Follow-Up Visits and group classes can help with socialization and follow through.

What’s the advantage to In-Home training ?

In home training is ideal because it creates the right home environment for success easier. Having one trainer dedicated to your dog ensures the training really fits his personality and your goals. This is especially important with larger families or people with unique goals.

We’ll teach you exactly what to do when your dog misbehaves, including what you should avoid doing (and why) and the fastest way to teach your dog to listen to you. Once you understand how to communicate better, it becomes easier to teach obedience, commands, and set boundaries.

You will get a customized training plan based on your dog’s age, breed, and temperament. You’ll also learn how to work with all members of the family—including guests and visitors and people too young or not able to participate in the actual training.

During your visit, will teach you the same methods used by animal trainers around the world to better communicate with your dog.

What’s best? In-Home Training or group classes ?

In Home Training is customized to your dog, your home and your family. Group classes are kept small to ensure lots of one-on-one attention however, the group training is a class not a personalized training session.

Even if you are working on changing problem behaviors or want more personalized attention, consider In Home Training where you learn our 3 Step System, get a customized training plan and free access to our Video Solution Center.

If you have a new puppy or just want to get more socialization time, try our group classes, where at least 50% of the time is spent on getting your dog to listen with the distraction of other dogs.

If you can’t choose one or the other, consider our Puppy Plus package, which includes both a Group Class and an In Home Training session at a discounted price!

What is Video Solution Center ?

The Video Solution Center is an an extension of our In-Home Training, designed to ensure our clients always have Zen Dog Training resources at their fingertips.

Once you’re logged in, you can watch over 100 instructive videos, and get access to all our Games, Solutions and helpful eBooks in our library. Membership is just $57 and can be purchased online. The Video Solution Center is included for FREE with In Home Training.

How many visits does it take ?

Typically an In Home client will see us 2-3 time tops! In the initial In-Home Visit we’ll create a unique training plan and teach you all the games and solutions you need. We recommend at least one Follow-Up Visit to make sure you and your family follow through with the training. If you have more specialized training goals visits are just $75/hour.

Who in my household should go to class with our dog ?

Consistency really is the key to training, so we invite everyone living with your dog to attend class. It’s the easiest way to ensure that all family members are following the same rules and working together. It’s also tons of fun!

Please know that while we encourage family participation, an extra adult must be at class to supervise young children while one person is dedicated to training their dog.

What’s different about Zen Dog Training’s Group Classes ?

Big box stores do not have access to the experience, knowledge and advanced methods that Zen Dog Training takes pride in offering. We offer customized training for each puppy in our classes, if your dog is shy/fearful, if you are experiencing excessive barking, or having difficulty housetraining or with home alone training our trainers will give you special homework and attention to work on your puppy’s unique needs.

Your puppy won’t just learn sit and stay, we dedicate at least 50% of the class time for puppies to play with other puppies (so your dog learns how to be a dog!).

You learn the most innovative techniques for teaching obedience and tricks, but also how to deal with unwanted behaviors like jumping up, excessive barking and play biting.

Most of our clients see a dramatic change in their dog’s behavior—after the first class! Clients who will read our homework (one of the most advanced puppy curriculum in the nation) and do the take-home exercises will see that within weeks (if not days) their dog is listening and learning!

What requirements do you have for puppy classes ?

The puppies’ safety is paramount, so we insist that all of our students are in the midst of their vaccination schedule for Distemper, Parvovirus and Bordetella. Puppies can typically join Kindergarten at around twelve weeks of age or four-to-five days after their second round of immunizations. Please take the time to speak with your veterinarian about vaccinations.

Can we watch a class before registering to make sure it’s a good fit ?

We invite interested dog owners to observe classes prior to registering. Please call 617.702.2054 to learn about our current class schedule.

Is there a missed-class make-up policy ?

Of course we understand that it can be difficult to schedule group classes into our clients’ busy day-to-day lives. If you and your dog need to skip class, please speak with your instructor ahead of time, if possible, so together you can determine when and where you may make up classes. We are constantly running group classes in several locations, so we can offer many make-up options.

Do I need to bring anything to class aside from my dog ?

Please bring treats and a hungry dog! You and your trainer will find it easier to get your dog’s attention with treats if you’ve scheduled mealtimes around class. You will also need a six-foot non-retractable leash, and your dog must be wearing either a collar or a harness.

Where do you hold group classes ?

In the Boston area we offer classes at WAGS in Charlestown, The Daily Stroll in Brookline,  and classes at PDDC in Arlington.

How do I get started ?

Visit our online registration system to see our group class schedule and even register. Or call 617.702.2054 and tell us about your dog! We’re easy to get a hold of and happy to help.