Karma FAQ

A gentle, effective, and enlightened approach to dog training

Thank you for visiting the Karma Dog Frequently Asked Questions page. All of the most commonly asked questions we receive, along with their answers, are all here for you to review.

Gentle

Effective

Enlightened

Method

Karma Dog Teachers use only science-based, 100% positive reinforcement training methods endorsed by the AHA, HSUS, SPCA, ASPCA and most Schools of Veterinary Medicine. No shock, "vibration", "e" collars, prong collars or choke collars.

The Veterinarian Community endorses the Karma Dog Training's methods as being the most gentle and effective behavior shaping techniques available.

There are many different types of dog training certifications in the dog training field and our trainers hold a wide variety of them. Some Karma Teachers have certifications from the Karen Pryor Academy and Jean Donaldson Academy for Dog Trainers, while others have graduated from ABC Behavioral College and The Karma Dog Training Apprentice Program. Still others have extensive experience rehabilitating dogs at shelters and rescues.

In addition, all of our trainers go through a rigorous vetting process which is by far the toughest hiring standards in the industry. Only about 1 out of 5,000 applicants who seek a job as a trainer with us, actually wind up being hired.

Classes

IS EARLY SOCIALIZATION SAFE?
Please read what Dr. Ian Dunbar, Veterinarian and Animal Behavior PhD tells us about the "extreme urgency" when it comes to safely socializing your puppy just after they come home during the critical period of social development.
The Pet Professional Guild

Please read what the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) say is the proper time to socialize a puppy and what the possible adverse and unwanted secondary effects could be in delaying the process.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

Please read the results of the Journal of The American Animal Hospital Association study which concluded that puppies vaccinated at least once prior to starting puppy classes were at no more risk than vaccinated puppies who did not attend classes.
Journal of The American Animal Hospital Association study


GUIDELINES TO KEEP PUPPIES SAFE
For our indoor Puppy Kindergarten Classes, we disinfect the floors before and after each class with Top Performance 256 disinfectant, which is same disinfectant Veterinarians use to disinfect their clinics. In going beyond the Veterinarian guidelines in order to keep things safe, we also take the time to sanitize the bottom of each client's shoes upon entering the classroom to avoid bringing in yucky things from outside.

*If your puppy has less than 3 rounds of shots, please CARRY your puppy into the class.
*All clients will also need to sanitize their shoes before entering the puppy classroom area.

(We do require you email or bring your puppy's vaccine records and/or proof your puppy has seen a Veterinarian when you show up to your first class)

Please complete our "30 Second Quick Form" or schedule your free 10 minute FaceTime, Skype or Phone Consultation and we'll check our availability for a trial class at the location most convenient for you.

You may also inquire about the availability of our classes by sending us an email at: karmadogtraining@gmail.com

*All classes are subject to availability.

Generally speaking, our Puppy Kindergarten Classes have 2 primary purposes, off-leash socialization and teaching puppies soft mouths, i.e bite inhibition.

In addition, puppies also receive a beginner education in what we call the 7 Requests for Success - "watch me", "stay", "come", "down", "loose leash walking", "leave it" & "go to your bed".

Our Basic Communication Level 1 Classes forgo the off-leash socialization aspect of our puppy classes and instead focus more time and attention on the your dog learning what we call the 7 Requests for Success - "watch me", "stay", "come", "down", "loose leash walking", "leave it" & "go to your bed". Your dog will learn this with hand signals and voice cues. No harsh corrections.

The Canine Good Citizen Classes are a 3rd level class and as such we require that your dog graduate from a Basic Communication Level 1 class as a prerequisite to this course. This course is a requirement for all potential Therapy Dogs as dogs learn the following:

  1. Accepting a friendly stranger
  2. Sitting politely for petting
  3. Appearance and acceptance of grooming
  4. Loose leash walking
  5. Walking through a crowd
  6. Sit, Down, and Stay
  7. Coming when called
  8. Reaction to another dog
  9. Reaction to a distraction
  10. Supervised separation

After your dog is able to successfully pass the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test, you can then register with one of the many global organizations that provide evaluation and registration for therapy dogs.

For our Veterinarian Endorsed Puppy Kindergarten & Socialization classes we require:

  1. All puppies have their 1st round of the parvo vaccine.
  2. All participants disinfect their shoes with our parvo disinfectant prior to walking into the classroom - which we'll do for you.
  3. All puppies have been seen by a Veterinarian and have been in their new home for at least 5 days prior to attending their first class to ensure they are healthy.
  4. Any children under the age of 12 years old be accompanied by a 2nd adult.

For our Basic Communication Level 1 classes we require:

  1. All dogs be 100% dog and 100% friendly with people.
  2. One handler for each dog present.
  3. Any children under the age of 12 years old be accompanied by a 2nd adult.

For our Canine Good Citizen classes we require:

  1. All dogs be 100% dog and 100% friendly with people.
  2. All dogs have already graduated from a Basic Communication Level 1 class or Basic Obedience Class as a prerequisite to taking this course.

Unfortunately, for your dog's safety and the safety of other clients' dogs as well, we require all dogs to be 100% friendly with other dogs and people both on and off leash to join us in our group classes.

That being said, we don't need to take group classes off the table altogether.

Once we progress to a point in the training process where your dog feels comfortable on leash around other dogs and strangers in close proximity, we can certainly revisit the idea of group classes.

Group classes will not effectively treat behavioral issues such as aggression, separation anxiety or leash reactivity. For these types of behavior modification cases you'll need to start with a Private Training session under the care of one of our Behavior Specialists.

We have many Behavior Specialists on staff who specialize in working with dogs that have these kinds of issues.

Make up classes are offered for any classes you may have to miss along the way. We also allow you to "retake" any class for any reason if you need a refresher course for that particular lesson plan.

If you need to miss a puppy kindergarten class, because Veterinarians strongly encourage new puppy parents to attend puppy classes as consistently as possible during early socialization period of your pup's life, if you do need to miss a class, you are welcome to have a friend or family member bring your pup for you on your behalf.

Alternatively, you can always make up the particular class when it comes back around on the schedule, or depending upon availability, you can always make up a missed class at any of our other locations if that specific lesson plan is taught sooner than waiting for it to reappear in the sequence of classes.

Our classes are offered on an open-enrollment basis consisting of 60 minute lesson plans once per week. The only time we open up our class to a new client is when one dog graduates. It's for this reason you may start any time you wish, as long as there is a spot available.

*Classes are by invitation only and subject to availability.

At Karma Dog we try to be as consistent as possible with our classes. If a class happens to land on a holiday, we will do our very best to still try and hold classes. Now, some of our locations are closed for the holidays, however, we do try to offer socialization hours for puppies and offer our outdoor locations for our basic obedience classes whenever possible.

If we do have to cancel classes, we will let you know as soon as possible so you and your family can plan accordingly.

We try not to cancel classes unless it is absolutely necessary. If it's pouring at class time, or if there is thunder and lightning, we will postpone classes for the day. If there is intermittent rain or a light drizzle, we usually go ahead with the class.

However, if you are in any way uncomfortable traveling in inclement weather, it will not be held against you, and we would be happy to offer you a makeup class.

If we do decide to cancel class, it is usually within 15 to 20 minutes of the class start time.

Some of our group classes listed on our website are what we refer to as "seasonal" classes and as such, are not available at all times of the year.

We keep that section up-to-date, so when a class becomes in season again, we update the website and begin offering that particular class time and location again.

There are usually other locations around town, so be sure to reach out and see what location may work for you instead.

No. Once you have attended your free trial class and signed up for the course, your spot is reserved for the following week and subsequent lesson plans.

You can enroll at the end of your introductory trial class by seeing your teacher afterwards with a debit card, check or cash.

No. Our class price is for the entire 7 week series of group classes.

While a group setting might seem like the ideal place to socialize your dog, group classes will not effectively treat behavioral issues such as aggression, separation anxiety or leash reactivity. introducing them abruptly could be dangerous and can cause more regression.

That being said, we don't need to take group classes off the table altogether.

We first need to desensitize your dog to other dogs and re-introduce them systematically. Once we progress to a point in the training process where your dog feels comfortable on leash around other dogs and strangers in close proximity, we can certainly revisit the idea of group classes.

For these types of behavior modification cases you'll need to start with a Private Training session under the care of one of our Behavior Specialists.

While both would be ideal, the number #1 recommendation of Veterinarian during what is known as the "imprinting" period of a dog's life is to encourage new puppy parents to partake in is parvo disinfected, Veterinarian endorsed puppy classes.

The single most important aspect of puppy training is safe early socialization and bite-inhibition, which is most easily accomplished within a puppy kindergarten classes.

There is a very small window of time for your puppy to work on socialization.

Between 7 and 16 weeks of age, it is imperative for your puppy to be exposed in a safe environment to all sorts of different puppies and humans so future interactions are fun and not scary.

Depending upon locations, we divide our Puppy Kindergarten and Socialization class up into different weight classes to insure that each puppy and puppy parent have a safe and enjoyable experience in class.

When we do have an "all sizes" puppy class,(1 to 35 lbs), we use gates to separate play between the smaller and larger puppies.

Generally speaking, our 'petite" puppy class is for pups 1-15 pounds and our medium to large puppy class is for pups 16-35 pounds.

If your puppy has reached a weight more than 35 pounds during the 7 week course, you will be politely asked by our class instructor to complete your series of classes in our Basic Communication Level 1 Class.

We try to keep our classes at approximately 10 to 12 puppies, but since we don't require everyone to come to class consecutively, there are usually fewer than that and the number varies week by week.

While we highly encourage that families come to class, we do ask that we limit the class to 3 family members. If you would like to bring more than 3 people, we would appreciate it if you received permission beforehand.

Furthermore, the Veterinarian guidelines we follow state that there must be a 2nd adult present if children under the age of 12 are present.

In the event that everyone cannot attend; after signing up for our Karma Dog Puppy Kindergarten Class you will receive access to our Karma Dog Educational Center as an additional resource for training at home.

For our indoor Puppy Kindergarten Classes, we disinfect the floors before and after each class with Top Performance 256 disinfectant, which is same disinfectant Veterinarians use to disinfect their clinics.

In keeping with the Veterinarian guidelines in order to keep things safe, we also take the time to sanitize the bottom of each client's shoes upon entering the classroom to avoid bringing in yucky things from outside.

In the tens of thousands of puppy classes that Karma Dog has conducted since 2005, we are proud to say that have never had a case of parvo contracted from our puppy classes.

This doesn't mean it can't happen, it can.

However, we follow the very strict guidelines written for us by the Veterinarian Community in order to keep our client's puppies safe.

WHAT WE SUGGEST YOU BRING (suggestions only):

  1. Four different kinds of treats your dog loves (soft & chewy work best).
  2. One FRESH, new BONE Your dog LOVES (C.E.T. Veggie Dents, Z Bones, Natural Deer Antlers, Himalayan Dog Chews, etc.).
  3. *It 's VERY important that your dog has a bone that he LOVES to chew on.
  4. One chew toy or squeaky ball your dog loves.
  5. 6 foot leash (no retractable leashes please).
  6. Collar and/or Harness (we recommend an "Earth Dog" Hemp Martingale Style collar and an "Planet Dog" Hemp Harness.
  7. Treat bag or fanny pack to carry dog treats (something to hold dog treats in besides your pockets).
  8. A dog bed or towel for your dog to sit on.
  9. A Water bowl for your dog.
  10. A puppy who is still a bit hungry (do NOT feed your puppy a full meal just prior to class).

While it is not required that you bring all of the suggested items on the list to every class, we do recommend it so that you and your dog can have the greatest chance for a successful training session.

If your dog does not like any particular bone or smart toy, we would suggest C.E.T. Veggie Dents as all puppies love these! It's a great way to keep your puppy occupied while our Karma Dog Trainer is going over the lesson. The classroom environment is distracting and having a high value bones and treats will help keep your puppies' attention on you.

The minimum length a leash can be to effectively teach loose leash walking is 5 feet. If you are able to pick up a 6 foot leash before the class that would be best.

In addition, we recommend that the actual buckle that connects the leash to the collar and/or harness is not too big and heavy in terms of weight. Sometimes we will see dog parents using a leash with a huge metal buckle on the end for a small dog and sadly the dog has to carry around all that extra weight around their neck or on their back when a harness is being used.

The weight and size of the metal buckle should be in proportion to the size of your dog.

General

In an effort to keep our admin costs down and pass along the savings to our clients, there are 2 ways to initially contact us; either our "30 Second Quick Form" or our "2-minute Quick Questionnaire".

Once we receive your information, we'll check our availability and set up either a free 10 minute FaceTime, Skype or Phone consultation for you and/or arrange for you to take a free trial class.

If you simply have a question for us, please send us an email at: karmadogtraining@gmail.com.

Depending upon our availability, we offer Puppy Kindergarten classes, Basic Communication Classes Level 1, Basic Communication Classes Level 2, Canine Good Citizen Classes, Work Place Certified Training, Private In-Home Training, Cage-Free Boarding, Cage-Free Boarding and Training, Reverse Boarding, Reverse Boarding and Training, Dharma Dog Walking Services, Peaceful Pet Sitting Services, Zen Daycare, Zen Daycare with Training, Reverse Zen Daycare, Service/Emotional Support Dog Training, Therapy Dog Training and our Hospice Therapy Dog Program.

Puppy Kindergarten

Typically, for puppies between the ages of 6 weeks and 16 weeks of age, Veterinarians recommend our Puppy Kindergarten and Socialization classes to ensure their client's puppies learn the two most time sensitive aspects of proper canine development. i.e. social etiquette and bite inhibition.

The main reason puppy classes play such a crucial role in the proper development of your pup is because it replicates the liter environment which they have been unnaturally removed from.

The #1 reason dogs will develop aggression and anxiety issues later on in life when they reach social maturity is because they weren't properly socialized during the critical imprinting period of their life.

This is why Veterinarian across the country endorse our parvo disinfected and distemper disinfected Puppy Kindergarten Classes for puppies as soon as they've had their first parvo vaccine and have been in their new home for 5 days.

For best training results, in addition to Puppy Kindergarten classes, we would recommend one of our "Puppy Starter" packages.

*All training packages and classes are subject to availability.

Basic Communication Level 1

Typically for dogs 5 months of age and up, a spot in one of our Basic Communication Classes Level 1 classes will teach your dog what we call the 7 Requests for Success - "watch me", "stay", "come", "down", "loose leash walking", "leave it" & "go to your bed". Your dog will learn this with hand signals and voice cues. No harsh corrections.

In our Basic Communication Level 1 classes, we also give you a greater understanding of your role in your dog's behavioral obstacles and how they originated. We then provide you with many practical applications on how to overcome them, turning them from potential negative experiences into positive healing opportunities.

For best training results, in addition to taking a Basic Communication Level 1 class, we would recommend one of our "Hybrid Packages".

*All training packages and classes are subject to availability.

Behavior Modification Training

For behavior modification cases such as Leash Reactivity, Aggression, Separation Anxiety, Resource Guarding, Excess Barking Symptoms, Protective Behavior or any other behavior that appears to be a bit more serious than simply teaching your dog "come" "stay" "leave it" etc, we would recommend Private In-Home Training sessions under the care of one of our highly skilled Behavior Specialists.

Over 15 years of experience has taught us that in these kinds of cases, working directly in a client's home under the care of a Trainer/Behaviorist who specializes in treating these kinds of symptoms, is the only true way to improve a dog's behavior long-term.

With that being said, we don't need to take group classes off the table altogether. Once we progress to a point in the training process where your dog feels comfortable on leash around other dogs and strangers in close proximity, we can certainly revisit the idea of group classes.

While a group setting might seem like the ideal place to socialize your dog with other dogs, introducing a dog struggling with aggressive or fearful tendencies abruptly could be dangerous and even exacerbate the aggressive/fearful behavior symptoms you are observing.

We must first create a solid foundation for your dog to build on.

The key here is that we first need to desensitize your dog to other dogs and strangers and re-introduce them systematically. The science-based technical terms for our process is called desensitization and counter conditioning exercises.

When done under the care of a Behavior Specialist who specializes in treating these kinds of symptoms, your dog will slowly and surely begin to feel differently about the triggers that are currently causing the disharmony.

We call this "Root Cause" therapy and it's main objective is to focus on treating the root cause of the issue rather than just treating symptoms.

There are many different ways of doing this but the specific treatment plan to help your dog would be determined by the diagnosis. This can only be accomplished by seeing a dog's body language. This is why when it comes to be behavior modification cases, we always start off with just one session.

In this way, we accurately diagnosis what the problem is and can make a determination how many session may be necessary in order for you to see measurable results. We will never sell a client a package of private training sessions for a behavior modification issue without having first worked with a dog one time.

At the end of the first session, we can discuss how many sessions it might take to help you achieve the training goals you have for your dog. It's at this time when you can also purchase what we call a "Smart Package" and apply the discounted rate to that very first session.

Yes. We offer either a free 10 minute FaceTime, Skype or Phone consultation and/or an introductory free trial class.

Upon receipt of payment, you will be given a unique "passcode" to gain access to all of the Karma Dog Training course materials which we refer to as The Karma Dog Training Educational Center. This password protected part of the Karma Dog Training website is located at the following url: https://www.karmadogtraining.com/education

Financial

Once you complete either our "30 Second Quick Form" or our "2-minute Quick Questionnaire", you can request that a Karma Dog Price List be sent to you.

Karma Dog is able to take five forms of payment: Cash, Check, Debit Card, PayPal, Venmo.

Yes. If your dog was adopted from a local rescue or shelter, or you or your family is part of the military, we take 10% off the price of any of our training packages.

*This discount is applicable for our private/group training packages only, such as our "Smart Packages" and "Hybrid Packages" but does not apply to any of our other services.

Due to the limited availability of our classes, we do not give refunds once a student signs up following their free trial class as stated on our website under our Refunds and Cancellations policy.

While we stand behind our work 100%, we have found through over 15 years of experience that no matter how long a dog trains with us, without the proper follow through by the pet parents, there will be no measurable short-term or long-term progress.

This is why we choose to work exclusively with pet parents who are 100% committed to participating in the process.

Failure to participate is the #1 reason a client would not see successful, long-term results.

If you are insistent on choosing a dog training company who does offer a money-back guarantee, please ask them to send you the contract they will make you sign once you hire them for services.

What you'll notice is that when you read the fine print at the end of the agreement, they will always include this same clause; failure to follow through on what was taught will result in no refund.

Their guarantee is 100% incumbent upon you following through on every aspect of the training they are providing.

The truth of the matter is that the "money-back guarantee" clause in the dog world is simply a marketing scam touted by dog trainers and dog training companies who will say anything to get your business.

At Karma Dog, we let our results speak for themselves and we don't participate in marketing scams or gimmicks to lure in clients. Our reputation is suffice.

The bottom line is that if you follow through on what we teach you, you will see results.

If you don't, you won't.

It's that simple.

Yes. We are happy to create customized Gift Certificates for any occasion that you can give to anyone of your choosing. Alternatively, we can email or snail mail the customized Gift Certificate you've decided upon directly to whomever the gift is intended for.

This actually creates a wonderful surprise for them!

Our customized Gift Certificates can be set for dollar any amount you wish and make excellent Birthday and Christmas presents.

Yes. We offer 2 different types of payment plans depending upon the type of training services you desire.

1) For our Service Dog and Emotional Support Dog programs, we offer a "Pay As You Go" plan in which you pay a $300 deposit upfront, then pay for each private training session as it occurs. This allows you to begin your Service/Emotional Support Dog Training program right away, without the added stress of coming up with the entire lump sum.

2) For our discounted "Smart Packages" we offer what we call a "Deferred Payment Plan" in which, after deciding on an agreed upon number of sessions with a Trainer/Behaviorist following your first session, you would make half of the payment upfront, and pay the remaining balance in the middle of training package you've selected.

In-Home Training

With private training sessions, we always start off with just one session. This way you can feel comfortable with how we work and see for yourself if this is something you want to do more of. Instead of our usual 75 minute session, we increase the length of the 1st session to 90 minutes to ensure that we can gather all the pertinent information at the beginning of the initial session. At the end of the first session, we can discuss how many sessions it might take to help you achieve your training goals. Its at this time when you can also purchase what we call a "Smart Package" or "Hybrid Package" (depending on what's best for your dog) and apply the discounted rate to your very first session.

Yes. We offer what we call "Smart Package" or "Hybrid Package" and can apply the discounted rate to your very first session.

Additionally, if your dog is adopted from a local rescue/shelter or your family is part of the military, we take 10% off the price of any of our training packages.

A pre-puppy visit is a wonderful way to prepare for your new family member. This is just like a private training session, but it is purely to make sure you and your family have everything in order for the new puppy's arrival.

During the visit, we will help you "puppy-proof" your house. We will help you set up a proper area for your puppy so he or she has a place to unwind and get settled after the big move to another family. We will also help you understand body language, help you come up with a potty training schedule and set you and your family up for success so when your puppy gets home everyone is confident and ready to make the transition as happy and positive as possible.

Boarding & Training

Karma Dog Training offers two distinct types of board and train programs for when you have to leave town: our “Traditional” Board and Train and our “Reverse” Board and Train Program.

"Traditional" Board and Train is where you send your dog to us. And instead of your dog having to stay in a facility or a storefront, your dog will stay and train in one of our trainer’s homes.

"Reverse" Board and Train (aka our "Vacation" Program) is where instead of sending your dog to us, we send one of our trustworthy, lead trainers to your home for a combination of day training and overnight pet sitting. And instead of your dog having to be uprooted and removed from his/her or home turf, your dog will learn right from the comfort of their own home and sleep in the same place they always do.

The reason our "Reverse" Board and Train ("Vacation" Program) is more effective than our "Traditional" Board and Train program is because dogs are what we refer to as contextual based learners, they learn best in relation to their own environment. They learn in pictures, images, and associations.

In addition, training that occurs in a dog’s natural environment will require less follow through on the part of the dog parent after the training is complete.

We offer both our “Traditional” Board and Train and our “Reverse” Board and Train Program in a Business Hours format, as well as our "Full Immersion" program which is a 24/7 deal.

Here is a quick breakdown of each:

  1. Our “Traditional” Board and Train Business Hours program allows you to drop your dog off with us in the morning and pick him/her up at the end of the work day. It comes with a daily private wrap up session where we educate you on what your dog learned at the end of each day. The Board and Training Business Hours program comes with Free 7 Week Puppy Kindergarten or 7 Week Basic Communication classes.
  2. Our “Reverse” Board and Train Business Hours program, (aka our "Happy Home Intensive" Program) was specifically designed for puppies between the ages of 8 weeks to 16 weeks of age, which allows your dog to learn contextually from the comfort of your own home. It's usually either a 5, 10, 15 or 20 day program where a Karma Dog head trainer stays and trains your puppy in your home from 10am to 1pm and again from 3pm to 6pm.

    This program is not contingent on you being home.

    You can be home while we train your puppy or not. It’s up to you. The "Reverse" Board and Training Business Hours program aka our "Happy Home Intensive" program comes with Free 7 Week Puppy Kindergarten classes.
  3. Our "Full Immersion" program is a ground breaking, life-changing 7, 14, 21 or 30 day experience designed to give dog parents the concepts, tools and strategies to shatter all limitations about what they thought was possible to achieve with their dog. This program takes training to a new level where one of our trustworthy head trainers lives with you and your family for a period of 7, 14, 21 or 30 days and totally transforms your household into a mini Karma Dog ecosystem, so that all family members begin to think and respond to your dog's behavior in the same way a Karma Dog Teacher would.

Dog parents who are being honest with themselves, and can admit that they don’t have enough time as they'd like to follow through on the training that we provide, would best be served by choosing a protocol that takes place in their home.

That's because dogs are contextual learners, i.e. they learn best in relation to the environment where their "bad behavior" happens. When we remove a dog from their own environment, we are in essence handicapping the #1 way they learn, which is through association.

This means that training in a dog’s natural environment will require less follow through on the part of the dog parent after the training is complete.

Our “Reverse” Board and Train Business Hours program aka our “Happy Home” Intensive program, our "Full Immersion" program or our Private In-Home Lessons serve this purpose.

That being said, there will still be plenty of follow through necessary on the part of the dog parent in order to see any measurable results. No immersion style training, i.e. board and train, reverse board and train or our full immersion program, will yield any measurable results without the dog parents being 100% committed to the learning process as well.

If you are 100% positive you want to send your dog away for training (instead of having the training take place in your home) and you don’t have much time for the follow through training necessary once the program is complete, then our “Traditional” Board and Train Business Hours program is a good compromise.

That’s because our Traditional Board and Train Business Hours program comes with 15 minute daily private "Wrap Up" sessions for you at the end of each work day to ensure that the training we do sticks.

It's very important to understand that separating a young pup from your children during the all important imprinting period of a young pup's life could create problems down the road.

Why?

First of all, a child's behavior differs greatly from adults in that a child's behavior is considered in many ways unpredictable to a puppy.

Because of this, puppies who are not adequately exposed to a child's behavior during the critical socialization period could be interpreted by a puppy as a threat.

If this happens, a young puppy could learn to become defensive and "on guard" whenever a child is close by.

The best way to ensure that a child's behavior is generalized as "safe" by a young pup is to be exposed to it as much as possible during this short window of socialization period.

Secondly, when we remove a young pup from a child's life during the all important bonding process that occurs whenever we bring home a new puppy, we are interrupting what would naturally occur between a puppy and their pack.

This is not considered a good thing.

The truth of the matter is in order for your pup (and child) to feel a sense of connection and family, we must do our best to respect the bonding process that occurs whenever a young pup and child spend ample time together.

As stated earlier, this also is the best way to ensure that a young puppy won't see a child's behavior as a threat or something to be leery or defensive of.

So, to recap, two very important things to be mindful of when we bring home a new puppy to live with a child is that: any erratic or unpredictable behavior on the part of the child is seen as non-threatening and "no big deal" by the puppy because they have had plenty of exposure to that child during the imprinting period and for the puppy to feel that the child is part of their new family.

It's for these two reasons we believe that if you do have a child (or children) in the home and our looking to best train your pup, we would not recommend our Traditional Board & Train "Boot Camp" program as the best option.

However, our "Happy Home" Intensive program or Private In-Home Sessions would be an excellent fit.

Our "Reverse" Board & Train program aka "Happy Home" intensive program is catered to how dogs learn. Dogs are contextual learners and retain new behaviors a lot better when they are learning in their home. This means that, generally speaking, what could be accomplished in 10-14 days of Traditional B&T can usually be accomplished in 5-7 days of Reverse B&T.

While we can do Traditional Board and Train for any dog who meets our guidelines, the truth of the matter is we just don't see the same kind of results when a dog is removed from their home, trained in a different location, and then returned to their home and expected to retain what they learned.

Our "Traditional" Board & Train program is great for dogs who LOVE other dogs and care a lot less about human companionship over spending time with other dogs. Very confident and self-assured dogs, and dogs who have plenty of experience being away from home and love it, may be a good fit for this program.

Dogs who need any sort of behavior modification issues resolved (separation anxiety, reactivity, aggression, destructive chewing, excessive barking etc.) are not a good fit for our “Traditional” board and train program but may be an excellent fit for our "Reverse" Board and Train program or Private in home lessons.

Dog parents who aspire to have their dogs become Service Dogs or have dogs who are already Working Service Dogs are also be better suited for our either our "Reverse" Board and Train program or Private In-Home Lessons.

IMPORTANT: Dogs who are needy, insecure or attached at the hip are NOT a good fit for our Traditional Board and Train program.

Both of our programs are followed by a free private in home session(s), as well as free group classes.

Sure! Here’s a brief recap:

Traditional: Your dog stays and trains in one of our trainer’s home. We offer this service as a day only - Business Hours program (drop off in the morning and pick up at the end of the day) OR day + overnights - Vacation Option program.

Reverse: One of our trainers travels to you and trains your dog in the comfort of your own home. We offer this service as a day only - Business Hours program (10am to 1pm and 3 to 6pm) OR day + overnights - Vacation Option program.

- FREE Unlimited group classes:
Once your dog completes his or her customized B&T program, you will have access to our Puppy Kindergarten or our Basic Communication Level 1 class completely free of charge for 6 months. If you have a puppy and purchase 2 or more weeks of our B&T program, you will have access to both our group classes for 6 months!

- FREE Private Session(s):
Each week of B&T comes with a free, private follow-up session to make sure your pup’s new behaviors are sticking. For example, if there are two weeks of B&T completed, then there will be 2 one-hour private session follow-ups in your home.
Continuing the momentum is a huge component of doing a successful B&T program, and we always recommend you schedule your first private follow up session ASAP. When private session follow-ups are scheduled shortly after the program, it allows us the opportunity to support the continuation of training in your environment and helps keep the training momentum going.

- FREE Educational Access:
You will also receive a unique "passcode" to the Karma Dog Training Educational Center. It's here where you can download all of the Karma Dog course materials that will support the teachings that you and your dog have learned.

- We keep you in the loop
Staying in touch with your trainer throughout the B&T experience is super important. It helps keep you up-to-date on what your pup is up to and gives insight on how to keep those desirable behaviors going after your B&T program ends.
Talk with your trainer BEFORE the start of your program about how many and what kind of updates (i.e. text, call, email etc.) you would like during the program - even if you’d only like a photo of your pups smiling face once or twice!
We recommend asking your trainer for either short daily summaries or a lengthier written description at the end of your pup’s program, detailing their new skills or manners and how to maintain them.

- Client Follow Through is KEY!
It’s important to understand that no matter how long a dog stays and trains with us, a pet parent will see NO MEASURABLE RESULTS until we start the process of educating them once the training is complete.
In addition, pet parents will not see any long term results if they aren't committed to keeping up on the teachings. This means participating in the free group classes that come with our program is essential.
Clients who are not 100% committed to attending the free unlimited group classes and private lesson(s) that follow each B&T program will be NOT be accepted into the program.

Our mission as Trainers and Behavior Specialists is to lay a behavioral foundation with your dog that will continue to be built upon. The window of time it takes to see results can be anywhere from minutes to weeks, depending on the behavior.

It took time for your dog to turn those unwanted behaviors into habit, so, in turn, it will take some time to unlearn these behaviors and replace them with new, better behaviors.

Consistency is incredibly important in the training process by ALL humans who are in contact with your dog to ensure the new behaviors are the ones that are being rewarded.

If everyone is on the same page and doing exactly as the trainer guides them to do, the old behaviors will slowly and surely be replaced with the new behaviors. Consistency by everyone in the dog’s life is absolutely the key to success.

You and your dog both need what we call “maintenance training”. Training a dog is not an event - it’s a process that requires life-long practice. To get a good handle on those skills, we offer every client who purchases at least a week of Board and Train with us free group classes and a minimum of one private follow up lessons at no cost.

The truth of the matter is that clients who expect to see real improvement with their dog’s behavior must be 100% committed to follow through on what we teach them AFTER the board and train program is complete.

Since learning for a dog is contextual, it is imperative that you learn how to replicate the environment your trainer created.

In order to see your dog’s behavior change, you must be willing to change your own behaviors in accordance to what the trainer suggests.

Yes! Once we've selected the best trainer possible for your dog, we will let you know right away so that you can read their profile on our website and reach out to them to schedule your free 10 minute FaceTime, Skype or Phone consultation.

All of our trainers go through a rigorous vetting process (including background checks) which is by far the toughest hiring standards in the industry. Only about 1 out of 5,000 applicants who seek a job as a trainer with us, actually wind up being hired.

While we do not offer discounts for our B&T program, we do offer a payment plan where you can pay for the first half of the B&T before your trip, and complete the payment when you return.

The majority of companies who sell B&T programs advertise it as a sort of "easy fix" for a dog's behavior problems - “send your dog to us and get yourself a perfectly trained pooch without lifting a finger!”

Unfortunately, what many companies or independent trainers fail to emphasize is that educating clients on how to follow through on the training with their dog is a must in order for a dog to retain those behaviors.

Dogs who regress back to problematic behaviors are experiencing inconsistent training - the downfall of a board and train program.

These dog’s behaviors revert back to their original state not necessarily because the trainer did a poor job, but because dogs do not generalize well and may not perform the new behaviors in their actual home.

When we take a dog out of their home environment and away from their family and teach them a set of rules, they may very well not realize that those rules apply in their own home with their own people.

Behavior is not finite, meaning it changes depending on the environment and the techniques used for learning.

By giving you, the pet parent, the knowledge and expectation to properly follow through with your dog’s training, we are ensuring that the training process is continued once the program is completed.

The best way to look at dog training is to view it as human training.
We are the keys to their success.

It's up to you! Our trainer will discuss this with your during your initial consultation. In any case, it is important to have very realistic expectations. No training is ever a "quick fix" - it takes consistency and follow-through from the pet parent in order to see any measurable results. Ultimately, we will do everything we can to get your dog on the right track, but the miracles in training are going to come from you. :) We will do everything we can to educate and empower you after your B&T program so that your investment is worthwhile. But consistent participation in our free group classes that follow is imperative for the success of any board and train or reverse board and train program.

Each B&T program offers a variety of different exercises with your dog throughout the day using a method called Spontaneous training.

What is Spontaneous Training?

We mark successful behaviors anytime your dog performs them throughout the day. The good thing about having a trainer with your 24/7 is they get to work on manners all day long, then we implement games, exercises, walks etc.

We strive for roughly 2 to 3 hours of “active” training per day.

“Active” meaning actively teaching you dog/pup a behavior such as basic request or leash walking.

“Passive” training means redirecting inappropriate behaviors spontaneously as they happen, such as jumping on people as they walk by.

Passive training occurs throughout the entire stay.

Once you've discussed your individual goals with your trainer, a schedule will be put into place to meet those goals.

Reverse Boarding & Training

Our "Reverse" Board and Train program is where one of our trainers stays in your home and trains your dog. We offer this service as a day only, OR day + nights service.

Since dogs are what we refer to as “contextual learners,” they learn best in relation to their own environment. With our RB&T program, your dog is learning in the environment where most of their "bad behavior" happens. As a result, the learning curve is shorter, results happen faster and your dog associates the pleasure of learning and growing to their natural environment.

Our "Reverse" program is usually a 5, 10 or 15-day program but can be customized for a vacation or for a specific amount of time. Even if you're not away on vacation, we can train your dog in the comfort of your own home during the day while you're at work with our Reverse Board and Train Day Only program aka our “Happy Home” Intensive program.

After the training is complete, we will provide you with free follow up training. We offer a free 10 minute FaceTime, Skype or Phone consultation where you can meet your trainer and decide if our program is right for you.

As much as we can try to recreate the home environment, our trainers home environment can never have the exact same triggers and associated habits as your home environment does.

The reason we recommend our Reverse Board & Train program as opposed to Traditional Board & Train most of the time, is because our trainers are working with your dog in your home where they can see exactly what triggers are creating unwanted behaviors, and work to alleviate your dog’s responsiveness to those triggers by teaching alternative behaviors. Follow through from the humans is still the most important factor, but this is typically the best way to set your dog up for success.

Karma Dog Training is most importantly focused on helping clients successfully achieve their training goals.

While we can do Traditional B&T for your dog, the truth of the matter is over our 15 years of experience, we just don't see the same kind of results when an adult dog is removed from their home, trained in a different location and with a different human doing the training, and then returned to their home and expected to retain what they learned.

We like to break up the training into sets of 3 hours each with a 2 hour break in between. We make it a top priority to make sure your dog does not feel forced to train in any way and our trainers are adept at creating training exercises within everyday routines that are both fun and informative to the dog.

We want your dog to be excited to show you the fun new behavior they learned; whether it be sitting to get pets from a stranger or looking at their handler instead of lunging at the neighbor’s cat.

We do this by adding in play breaks and walks making the training experience incredibly fun and positive. If your dog does decide to take a nap, we will use this time to write down routines, tips and detailed training methods for you and your family on the behaviors being taught to help ensure consistency and education while the trainer is not there.

Reverse Board and Train (and Private In-Home Lessons) are the only protocol to help for our fearful/skittish furry friends. This program allows for your dog to be in the comfort of his or her own surroundings and work contextually.

As our Behavior Specialist works with your dog, they will be able to slowly introduce these outside triggers at the dog's pace to ensure that your dog is not overwhelmed.

We always work at your dog’s pace, never forcing them to do something they are uncomfortable with.

Our top priority is your dog’s mental, physical and emotional well-being and the last thing we want to do is add more stress to your dog's already fearful state by removing them from their normal environment.

In short, yes. However, for best results, we do recommend you are present for a bit of the training so you can follow along and learn with your dog. If you are unable to be there, we will keep you updated on your dog's progress with detailed information on the exact training method used to accomplish these behaviors and routines. It is of the utmost importance that everyone in the family s on the same page with the trainer and are being consistent with the training when the trainer is not present.

Even if you are gone, plan to set aside a follow up time where the trainer can go over details of the training process with you in person to ensure that you are well educated and comfortable working with your dog.

Absolutely! We would be happy to have your other dogs around during the training process, whether they are a part of the training, too, or if they are already masters of the training art and just want to hang out.

We are able to train multiple dogs at the same time as well as giving each of them one on one time to learn more difficult behaviors.

If your other dog(s) is just hanging out we would be happy to let them out, bring them along on walks and even feed them if needed while you are out.They can also help demonstrate some behaviors for your "Dog in Training" in exchange for some tasty treats!

Traditional Boarding & Training

Our Cage-Free "Traditional” Board and Train Program in 2 distinct formats: Business Hours program and Vacation Option.

Our Business hours “Traditional” Board and Train program allows you to drop your dog off with us in the morning, and pick him/her up at the end of the work day.

Our Vacation Option “Traditional” Board and Train program allows you to drop your dog off with us when you leave town, and pick him/her up when you return.

In addition to our Business Hours program and Vacation Option program, we can also set up for you what we refer to as a "See you on the weekends" overnight arrangement. This is where your dog would be with us during the work week, and back home with you on the weekends.

Your dog will come and stay in one of our trainer's homes and receive daily lessons geared towards your training goals.

Between training sessions covering topics of your choosing, your dog will receive exercise and socialization.

For new Karma clients, the minimum stay is 5 days (but can be customized for a vacation or for a specific amount of time).

For returning Karma clients, there is no minimum stay.

Each additional dog is 10% off the list price.

Please keep in mind that we do NOT accept every dog into our cage-free board and train program. We must ensure sure that our Board and Train protocol is truly right fit for your individual dog.

The first step in determining if your dog is a good fit for our B&T program is to take our 60 second easy B&T quiz.

Over 15 years of experience has taught us that when a dog has to be removed from their human parents for a considerable amount of time, it's very important to make sure that each dog is in the environment that would be most conducive to having an enjoyable and peaceful stay with us.

Dogs with any sort of aggression or separation anxiety issues are not a good fit for our Traditional Board and Train program but may be an excellent fit for our 'Reverse" Board and Train program (aka “Happy Home” Intensive program) or Private In-Home Lessons.

We also reserve the right to limit our Board and Train service only to those clients we feel are 100% committed to following through with their dog's progress once their dog returns home. This includes participating in the free private follow up sessions and group classes that accompany each program.

Please take our 60 second easy B&T quiz to find out which protocol is best for your dog. After we review your answers, we will contact you to follow up with any additional questions or service recommendations.

The most important thing to consider when choosing Traditional Board and Train for a puppy is to understand that when we send a pup away for Boot Camp style training when they’re still in the imprinting period of their development, 8 weeks of age to 16 weeks of age, we are interrupting the bonding process that takes place between the human pet parents and the young puppy.

We have to remember that an 8-week old pup has just been removed from their natural family. This fact can’t be understated.

This is why if you are a pet parent who is not going out of town, we would recommend either our Traditional Board and Train Business Hours program or our “Reverse Board and Train Day Only program, aka our “Happy Home” Intensive program.

The truth of the matter is that while we can certainly do the Boot Camp version of our Board and Train for most puppies, we don’t want to unnecessarily interrupt the bonding process that’s taking place when a new puppy is just started to see his new human family as his pack.

Furthermore, if you were to send away a young pup for training with any sort of separation anxiety issues, we could very easily exacerbate the abandonment issues already present in a young pup.

The only time we will ever use a crate is with the owner’s permission and/or for potty training purposes.

There is no set rule. Naturally, the dogs that are trained longer are almost always superior in their skills than dogs that are being trained for just one week. But of course, one week with us is better than no time at all.

That being said, in most cases we will ONLY recommend a longer extended stay if you believe your dog can 100% handle the separation from you. This is a VERY IMPORTANT consideration when choosing the right program for you and your dog.

You must feel confident that your dog can easily handle the time away from you.

If your dog suffers from any kind of Separation Anxiety while being away from you, the Traditional Board and Train program is NOT the right fit for your dog.

Please refer to our "Reverse Board and Train" program aka our “Happy Home” Intensive program which may be a better fit for you.

We will work on all of the goals you have spoken to your trainer about and send you updates to keep you informed of your dog’s progress.

Once your dog is home, we will give you an overview of the new skills he/she has learned and a schedule to follow to help keep up the new behaviors. It must be noted that 100% of how your pup adapts to his/her home environment will greatly depend on your follow through and guidance.

The only way our Board and Train program can be successful is with your weekly participation in our group classes that follow each program and the scheduling of your follow up lessons with your Board and Train trainer.

Because Karma Dog Training is most importantly focused on helping clients successfully achieve their training goals, we cannot in good conscience offer our Board and Train program to dogs who need any kind of behavior modification training.

In 15 years of doing this type of work, we have learned as a general rule that our Traditional Board & Train program is not an effective way to treat behavior modification issues (i.e. separation anxiety, aggression, leash reactivity, excessive barking, etc.).

The "dirty little secret" in the dog training world is that unscrupulous dog training companies/trainers know that all they have to do to pay their bills and meet their overhead each month is to "sell" a couple of extra Board and Train programs to unsuspecting clients, even when it is not the most effective training protocol for their client’s dog.

Here at Karma Dog, it is never our intention to knowingly mislead our clients to expect unrealistic results from a program for dogs who are not ideal candidates.

Dogs with any sort of separation anxiety issues (in-home destruction, howling, needy and insecure tendencies) are not a good fit for our cage-free board and train program but may be an excellent fit for Private In-Home Sessions or our "Reverse" Board and Train program aka our "Happy Home" Intensive program.

Dogs who are not comfortable in the environment they are in simply cannot learn to the best of their abilities as a stressful environment would likely only exacerbate their issues.

For the concern of your dogs' own stress levels, we will not offer our Traditional Board & Train program to a dog unless we know they will be fine being sent away for training.

Introducing a dog struggling with reactivity or fearful tendencies to his triggers without their owner around could be dangerous and even exacerbate the reactivity/fearful behaviors they are exhibiting at home.

If a dog is already uncomfortable and in a state of stress where they are engaging in reactive behaviors in their own home, placing them in a new environment where many of their triggers could be potentially present would create a bigger problem.

This massive exposure to behavior triggers is called “flooding” and has been proven highly ineffective which is why we do not allow dogs with these tendencies into our program, as it would cause more harm than good.

Reactive/Aggressive dogs are instead encouraged to take private in-home lessons, where a trainer can work on specifically modifying their behaviors.

The trainer works to identify the dog’s triggers, and then systematically teach them to think about those triggers in a new way.

For example, instead of a dog thinking the person approaching is a threat, they will learn to think that the person could be friendly and may have a treat or pet for them. The science-based technical terms for our process are called desensitization and counter-conditioning exercises.

When done under the care of a Behavior Specialist who specializes in treating these kinds of symptoms, your dog will slowly and surely begin to feel differently about the triggers that are currently causing the disharmony.

We call this "Root Cause" therapy and its main objective is to focus on treating the root cause of the issue rather than just treating symptoms.

Dogs with any sort of aggression issues may be an excellent fit for Private In-Home Sessions or our "Reverse" Board and Train program aka our "Happy Home" Intensive program.

Because of the personal bonding nature that is needed for every Service Dog, we do not offer our Traditional Board and Train program for Service Dog Training.

All Service Dog lessons are taught via Private In-Home training or our Reverse Board and Train program aka our “Happy Home” intensive program so that dog and handler can be on the same page throughout the entire process.

This ensures the lasting bond that will be needed for the emotional support and the task training.

Yes, for an additional fee.

Absolutely! If you would like an in-person consultation after your initial FaceTime, Skype or Phone consultation, that can be arranged with our trainer afterwards.

Our behaviorists may have several other dogs at their home with your dog or none at all, so unfortunately there’s no concrete answer to this question.

However, 99% of the time, your puppy will not be the only fuzzy friend in your trainer’s home.

Thankfully this is a great opportunity for all of the dogs to work together and help to teach each other proper manners and fulfill a young puppies need for dog-to-dog socialization.

Your follow through is the most important part.

If you are being honest with yourself and you know that you are short on time, choosing a protocol such as our “Reverse” Board and Train program aka our “Happy Home” Intensive program or Private In-Home Lessons will be more effective than our Traditional Board and Train program.

That’s because there will be less follow up on your part since your dog is already comfortable demonstrating these new behaviors on their home turf.

Don’t worry, we understand you are not a dog trainer, and we’ll be able to make suggestions that are manageable for the average lay person.

However, the truth of the matter is that clients who expect to see any improvement with their dog’s behavior must be 100% committed to follow through on what we teach them after their board and train program is complete.

That's precisely the reason why we offer the free follow-up options, to ensure the humans have the tools they need to maintain the training.

No training is ever a "quick fix" - it takes consistency and follow-through from the pet parent, for the rest of the dog's life.

Our #1 goal is to empower and educate you on knowing exactly what it takes to keep your dog's progress going.

If you do choose Traditional Board and Train and your dog goes home to the same environment he or she came from, you will not see any measurable results from the Board and Train program. Any new behaviors will be gone within a few days without a shift in your behavior as well.

Consistency is key.

Training is also quality over quantity; even 5-10 minutes a day for consistency purposes would be more effective than 1 or 2 hours a day once a week.

In addition, since dogs are "contextual" learners, it is imperative that you learn how to replicate the environment and learning techniques your trainer created. Your dog’s behavior will always be a reflection of the environment around them so in order to see your dog’s behavior change, you’ve got to change your own environment and routine.

Incorporating long daily walks, runs or jogs with your dog is a huge part of any successful training foundation. This is best done first thing in the morning before the start of the day.

Service Dog, Emotional Support Dog & Therapy Dog Training

A Service Dog s a dog that is trained to aid a person with a disability by performing tasks that mitigate their disability. For example, a diabetic alert dog might detect high glucose levels in their person, nudge them to let them know, and wait for their persons’ glucose levels to return to a safe range. Service dogs are not regarded as pets, but as working dogs because they are medical equipment needed for a disability. Therefore, they are granted public access rights via their medical equipment status. It is not the dogs’ right to be in the public facility, but rather the individual’s right to have medical equipment with them. Anywhere an individual can take a cane, wheelchair, glucose monitor etc, they can also take a service dog. However, even though service dogs are allowed into public facilities, the handler must maintain control of the dog at all times. If a service dog is disruptive or destructive and therefore fundamentally altering the business, the facility is enabled to legally exclude the service dog by the Department of Justice’s interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Examples of this would be if a dog is constantly barking, poses a direct threat to patrons or destroys merchandise. If a service dog is asked to leave a business, the individual still has the right to continue their business without the service dog, or return another day with the service dog. While businesses can deny access under specific guises, a business cannot ban a service animal from their business. Since service dogs must be able to perform tasks in a variety of public environments without being disruptive or destructive, Karma recommends service dogs in training take Karma Dog’s Public Access test and become CGC certified at a minimum to ensure the dog is fit for working in public. Details under our “Tests & certifications” tab.

An Emotional Support Animal is used to describe an animal that provides comfort just by being with an individual. An example of this would be an individual who fear of flying that has a pet that calms them down when they go on airplanes. Because the animal has not been trained to perform a specific task to mitigate a disability, they do not qualify as a service animal and do not have public access rights. The exceptions to this rule are airports and housing; these animals are allowed to travel in plane cabins and live in non-pet friendly housing without being charged any additional fees. Unlike service dogs, ESA’s must have proper documentation in the form of a doctor’s note that explains why the individual needs the ESA. If proper documentation is not shown, airports and non-pet friendly housing establishments can refuse service. Like service dogs, if an ESA is disruptive or destructive they can also be refused service or asked to leave. Because ESA’s do have some public access rights, Karma recommends they pass the Karma Dog Public Access Test to ensure the animal is trained for those environments. Details under our “Tests & certifications” tab.

A Therapy Dog is a dog specifically trained to provide comfort to people in need such as in hospitals, hospice centers, schools, counseling centers, nursing and retirement homes, or disaster sites. An example of a therapy dog is a dog that accompanies a school counselor in their office and provides comfort and affection to children who need to speak with a counselor. Therapy dogs and their handlers are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, because the dog is not mitigating a disability. Due to the nature of their job, it is imperative that a therapy dog remain under control in all circumstances or else be asked to leave the facility. Often, facilities interested in allowing a therapy dog to visit require the dog pass a certain test or be a part of a registered therapy group in order to enter their facility. The CGC or Public Access Tests would be appropriate certifications for therapy dogs. Details under our “Tests & certifications” tab.

Your dog or puppy will first need to enroll in either our Puppy Kindergarten or Basic Communication Level 1 class depending upon their age as a prerequisite to any of the programs.

Once you complete either our "2 minute Quick Questionnaire" or our "30 Second Quick Form", we can set up a free 10 minute FaceTime, Skype or Phone consultation for you with the appropriate Service/Emotional Support/Therapy Dog trainer and/or facilitate one of our introductory free trial classes.

If you simply have a question for us, please send us an email at: karmadogtraining@gmail.com to determine which one of our training options would be best for you and your dog.

Because of the personal bonding process that needs to develop for every Service Dog with their human, we do not offer our Board and Train program when it comes to teaching the specific tasks your dog will need to learn in order to become your service dog.

All lessons are taught through Private In-Home Training so handler and dog can be on the same page throughout the entire process and continue to create the lasting bond that is necessary for the task training to be effective.

For our Emotional Support Dog training, all of the reasons mentioned above when it comes to not doing anything to compromise the bonding process between you and your dog is our #1 priority.

Yes. As certified CGC evaluators, we will be able to give your dog the Canine Good Citizen test. There are 10 parts of the test.

  1. Accepting a friendly stranger
  2. Sitting politely for petting
  3. Appearance and acceptance of grooming
  4. Loose leash walking
  5. Walking through a crowd
  6. Sit, Down, and Stay
  7. Coming when called
  8. Reaction to another dog
  9. Reaction to a distraction
  10. Supervised separation

*Graduating from a Basic Communication Level 1 Class or a Basic Obedience class is a prerequisite to taking this class.

A. Initial Evaluation - We always evaluate clients’ dogs out in public to see if the dog would be a good service dog prospect. We would meet the client at a dog friendly location and bring another dog to see the potential service dogs’ reaction to other animals. We would also watch the dogs’ reactions to kids, a variety of people, sights and sounds to ensure the dog doesn’t show debilitating fear out in public. If any emotional instabilities show up in the initial evaluation, the dog can be rehabilitated through private training sessions before being accepted into the program.

B. Basic Obedience - Once a dog has passed the public evaluation, the dog must undergo or have already completed a basic obedience course with positive reinforcement training methods. If the dog has never been to a basic obedience class, then the dog must take a Karma Dog Training Basic Communication class. (In order to join one of these classes, the dog must be 100% friendly with other dogs and people.)

C. Task Training, Public Access Training and Canine Good Citizens Training – Once the dog has attended Basic Obedience class, they are eligible to enroll in a service dog program with Karma. The number of training sessions will depend on the handler’s disability. A Karma Service Dog Trainer can discuss training goals and advise on the number of sessions that the handler would likely need to be successful. Service dog training requires a great deal of socialization and training in public to ensure that the dog is comfortable in normal human environments, and that they can perform their tasks in a variety of environments. During service dog sessions, trainers will work with the clients on the different components that make up the Karma Public Access Test that will be given at the end of their training. Once the service dog sessions have been completed, the handler and dog will be given the Karma Public Access test by a Karma trainer. In the event the team does not pass, they can schedule additional training sessions and/or retake the test at a later date.

Task Training and Public Access Training may or may not be joined during training sessions. This is entirely dependent on the clients’ needs and the dog’s maturity. For example, if a dog will be doing balance or brace work, it may be necessary for the team to hold off on task training until the dog is physically mature. In that instance, the initial service dog sessions would be focusing on the public access work until the dog was old enough to begin brace work, in which case the ending training sessions would focus on the task work. In other cases, such as diabetic alert, the scent training will need to be introduced at a younger age, therefore the task training and the public access training would coincide with each other throughout the service dog sessions.

D. Pass the Karma Public Access Test, CGC and Task Test - At the end of the training program, or when the Karma Service Dog trainer deems it is time, the client and the service dog in training will take the Karma Public Access Test and Task Test to ensure they are both equipped to be a service dog team. These tests are included in the initial service dog deposit, however additional tests may need to be purchased should the team not pass.

E. Certification – Service Dogs are not legally required to be “registered” to prove their legitimacy, but owner trained service dog teams do not have the luxury of an organization that stands behind them to vouch for their dogs’ training, should an access issue arise. Karma Dog strives to give owner trained service dog teams the training, skills, and confidence necessary to navigate the world while maintaining their autonomy. This is shown in our final certification stage where the new service dog team receives a certificate verifying their training time with us (to be used in the event of an access altercation), as well as Service Dog patches for their jacket (which usually prevents access issues).

A. Initial Evaluation - We always evaluate clients’ dog out in public to see if the dog would be a good emotional support dog prospect. We would meet the client at a dog friendly location and bring another dog to see the potential emotional support dogs’ reaction to other animals. We would also watch the dogs’ reactions to kids, a variety of people, sights and sounds to ensure the dog doesn’t show debilitating fear out in public. If any emotional instabilities show up in the initial evaluation, the dog can be rehabilitated through private training sessions before being accepted into the program.

B. Basic Obedience - Once a dog has passed the public evaluation, the dog must undergo or have already completed a basic obedience course with positive reinforcement training methods. If the dog has never been to a basic obedience class, then the dog must take a Karma Dog Training Basic Communication class. (In order to join one of these classes, the dog must be 100% friendly with other dogs and people.)

C. Public Access Training – Once the dog has attended Basic Obedience class, they are eligible to enroll in an Emotional Support Dog program with Karma. A Karma Service Dog Trainer can discuss training goals to pass the Public Access Test and advise on the number of sessions that the handler would likely need to be successful. During service dog sessions, trainers will work with the clients on the different components that make up the Karma Public Access Test that will be given at the end of their training to ensure that the dog is prepared for accompanying their human in certain public settings. Once the service dog sessions have been completed, the handler and dog will be given the Karma Public Access test. In the event the team does not pass, they can schedule additional training sessions and/or retake the test at a later date.

D. Pass the Karma Public Access Test - At the end of the training program, or (if the client is doing the pay as you go option) when the Karma Service Dog trainer deems the team is ready, the client and the emotional support dog in training will take the Karma Public Access Test. This test is included in the initial emotional support dog deposit, however additional tests may need to be purchased should the team not pass.

E. Certification – Upon taking your ESA on a plane or to a non-pet friendly housing location, you may be asked to provide documentation for the legitimacy of your dog. Karma Dog provides a certificate that documents the team’s training and completion of the ESA program which, when combined with a Doctor’s note, will give the team access to the location.

A. Initial Evaluation - We always evaluate clients’ dog out in public to see if the dog would be a good therapy dog prospect. We would meet the client at a dog friendly location and bring another dog to see the potential therapy dogs’ reaction to other animals. We would also watch the dogs’ reactions to kids, a variety of people, sights and sounds to ensure the dog doesn’t show debilitating fear out in public. If any emotional instabilities show up in the initial evaluation, the dog can be rehabilitated through private training sessions before being accepted into the program.

B. Basic Obedience - Once a dog has passed the public evaluation, the dog must undergo or have already completed a basic obedience course with positive reinforcement training methods. If the dog has never been to a basic obedience class, then the dog must take a Karma Dog Training Basic Communication class. (In order to join one of these classes, the dog must be 100% friendly with other dogs and people.)

C. Karma Public Access and/or Canine Good Citizenship Training – Once the dog has attended Basic Obedience class, they are eligible to enroll in a Therapy Dog program with Karma. A Karma Dog Trainer can discuss training goals to pass the Public Access Test and/or CGC and will advise on the number of sessions that the handler would likely need to be successful. During therapy dog sessions, trainers will work with the clients on the different components that make up the Karma Public Access Test/CGC that will be given at the end of their training to ensure that the dog is prepared for accompanying their human in certain public settings. Once the therapy dog sessions have been completed, the handler and dog will be given the Karma Public Access test by a Karma trainer. In the event the team does not pass, they can schedule additional training sessions and/or retake the test at a later date.

D. Pass the Karma Public Access Test - At the end of the training program, or (if the client is doing the pay as you go option) when the Karma Service Dog trainer deems the team is ready, the client and the emotional support dog in training will take the Karma Public Access Test. This test is included in the initial emotional support dog deposit, however additional tests may need to be purchased should the team not pass.

E. Certification – Upon completion of therapy dog training, the handler will be presented with a certificate verifying the team successfully passed the Karma Dog Public Access Test and/or the Canine Good Citizenship Test.

Because of the personal bonding process that needs to develop for every Service/ESA/Therapy Dog with their human, we do not offer our Board and Train program when it comes to teaching the specific tasks your dog will need to learn in order to become your service dog.

All lessons are taught through Private In-Home Training so handler and dog can be on the same page throughout the entire process and continue to create and maintain the lasting bond that is necessary for the task training to be effective.

Being heavily involved in your dog’s training process has two major advantages:

1) Faster learning: Being around and involved in your dog’s training means your dog become intimately familiar with the nature of your disability much faster than traditional training. The close contact will allow your dog to be able to recognize much faster when you are in need of their help.

2) Better Job Retention: When you train your own service/esa/therapy dog, or are involved with the training, you are prepared for training contingencies that might happen throughout a dog’s life. Remember, training is never done, it is a life-long, ongoing process. It is essential that you keep up your dog’s training when they become a service/esa/therapy dog—otherwise they can revert to undesirable behavior over time.

Also, training your own service/ESA dog requires that you learn more about your illness so that you can train your dog to help you with it. This process is an opportunity for personal growth, and many owner-trainers find the service dog training process itself therapeutic.

No. We train dogs to become service/ESA dogs (provided the dog has the right temperament), but we do not have already-trained dogs.

Your dog or puppy will first need to enroll in either our Puppy Kindergarten or Basic Communication Level 1 class depending upon their age as a prerequisite to any of the programs.

Once you complete either our "2 minute Quick Questionnaire" or our "30 Second Quick Form", we can set up a free 10 minute FaceTime, Skype or Phone consultation for you with the appropriate Service/Emotional Support/Therapy Dog trainer and/or facilitate one of our introductory free trial classes.

If you simply have a question for us, please send us an email at: karmadogtraining@gmail.com to determine which one of our training options would be best for you and your dog.

This is not something we're really able to answer definitively without meeting the dog, though there are a few conditions that tend to rule out a good prospect:

  • Have a medical condition that prevents them from comfortably working
  • Show aggressive tendencies
  • Are nervous, uncomfortable, or unhappy working

For any Service/Emotional Support/Therapy Dog prospect a Karma Trainer can come evaluate a dog to determine if they could be a good candidate.

Breeders:
There is no better way to find a good service dog than to talk to the people who know them best!! Karma recommends discussing prospective breeds with a Karma Dog Trainer before committing to a particular one. Our trainers have worked with a variety of breeds and can point you in the right direction of breeds that would be best for your disability or for your lifestyle. For example, an individual who is uncomfortable with people approaching them may not want to consider a “bully breed” as they tend to attract more personal confrontations and public access issues. Or an individual with mobility limitations would need to take their weight and height into consideration and find a dog breed that would grow to be at least 40% of their height. Once you have an idea of what breeds would be best, start by looking for breeders who do quality testing to ensure your future service/ESA dog will not have any medical needs of their own. Look at the sires and dams to see if they have been medically cleared before being bred. These will be OFA/PenHip scores that grade the hip and elbow joints to prevent dysplasia, CERF tests for eyesight abnormalities and genetic DNA testing to ensure the puppies will not inherit any genetic conditions (ie; muscular dystrophy, seizures, narcolepsy etc). Many backyard or hobby breeders do not clear the parent dogs which should be a red flag for individuals looking for a service dog, as the puppies that they produce will have an unknown genetic background and could wash out of training for medical reasons down the road. Often, breeders that have had their puppies become service/emotional support/therapy animals will list them on their website. See if the breeder performs any temperament testing to determine the puppies’ overall personality, or if they would let a trainer come out and test the puppy. Breeders who do any sort of Puppy Culture or Early Neurological Stimulation will be ideal, as they would be socializing the puppy for future service/esa/therapy work during one of the pups fundamental development periods. Call or email the breeder and ask if you can meet the dogs and talk to them about your needs in a service dog. Do not be offended if the breeder does not allow you to come to their facility, many breeders go to extreme lengths to keep their puppies safe, both from contagious diseases and ill-willed individuals. If the breeder is not willing to allow the public into their home, you could ask if they would be willing to meet you in a neutral location instead so that you could meet the parent dog(s). A good breeder should be interested in what you plan to do with your puppy and many breeders keep contact with you for years after purchasing your puppy.
For additional assistance with purchasing a puppy as your service dog candidate, consider our “find me the perfect puppy!” service.

For puppies, it is important to test their temperament to determine which pup has the greatest potential for service work. Things to consider in a puppy would be:

  1. Retrieval of Toys
  2. Recovery from Fear
  3. Acceptance when Held
  4. Willingness to Follow
  5. Forgiveness
https://www.psychdogpartners.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HowtoPickaPuppyServiceDogProspect.pdf

Additional Temperament Testing Information:
http://www.iaadp.org/temperament.html
http://www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php
*Note: Karma Dog Training does not agree with the ideology of dominance v submission. This test is more of an indication of the level of a puppies independence. A 1 is an extremely independent puppy, while a 6 is an extremely cautious and needy puppy. Scores in the 3 range are ideal for service/esa/therapy work.

Rescues:
As with breeders, start by discussing prospective breeds with a Karma Dog Trainer before committing to a particular one (if you are looking at breed specific rescues). Once you have narrowed down specific breed rescues or if breed is irrelevant to you, research good rescues/foster organizations. Reputable organizations have screening measures in place to evaluate new dogs and potential adopters, do not have an excessive number of dogs or a high turnover rate, and will always take a dog back into their organization. Once you have found a few good groups, read the written descriptions of each dog. Look for dogs that are calm, easy-going, friendly, and smart. Avoid dogs that have descriptions that say things like "needs to be the only dog in your household," or "slow to warm up." Call the organization and ask if you can talk to or email the people who live with or work with the dogs everyday. Explain to them your needs and lifestyle; a good rescue will be open to hearing about your future plans for the dog and will help guide you with the puppy picking process.

If you’d like additional assistance purchasing a service/esa/therapy dog candidate, consider our “find me the perfect puppy!” service.

Questions for adult prospective service dogs or a prospective puppy’s parents:
How is this dog around people she knows? Strangers?
How is she in familiar places? Unfamiliar places?
How is she around other dogs she knows? Dogs she doesn’t know?
What are her reactions to squirrels, cats, birds?
What are her reactions to Loud noises? Busy Crowds? Kids? Cars?
Is she easily motivated? If so, is it by food, toys, praise, and/or play?
How does she problem solve?
How connected does she seem to her caregivers?
Does she bond easily?
How is her health/do her parents have appropriate health testing (if for service work)?
How old is she?

More information at: https://www.psychdogpartners.org

Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.

For any Service/Emotional Support/Therapy Dog prospect a Karma Trainer can come evaluate a dog to determine if they could be a good candidate.

Each State is given the power to decide if service dogs in training have public access rights. To check if your state gives in training dogs the same access rights as service dogs, visit the following websites:
https://www.animallaw.info/topic/table-state-assistance-animal-laws
http://sdog.danawheels.net/laws/statelaws.shtml

Commonly asked questions for business owners:
http://sdog.danawheels.net/dojbus.shtml

Americans with Disabilities Act service dog FAQ
https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.pdf

Any time a Service/Emotional Support Dog Team is in public, they are being an ambassador for service/emotional support dog teams everywhere. How the individual and their dog behave is important to the general public and businesses. If the dog is misbehaving, it makes people less likely to help out another team (or you!) if they see them in need of assistance for an access challenge, or a medical situation.

Additionally, if a dog is disruptive or destructive, the business is enabled to legally exclude the service dog by the Department of Justice’s interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

While there are no obedience requirements for service dog training according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (with the exception of being housebroken), we believe your dog should be able to reliably perform the following basic commands:

  • Stay
  • Wait
  • Sit, sit/stay
  • Down, down/stay
  • Come, recall
  • Leave-it
  • Heel
  • Look/focus on handler

It generally takes 1–2 years to train a service/esa/therapy dog depending on their current age, breed and end goals. For service dogs, there are two main facets of service dog training: (1) public access behaviors, and (2) disability-related work and tasks. For emotional support and therapy dogs, they solely need the public access training.

AKC: CGC, STAR PUPPY, COMMUNITY CANINE, CGCU
http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/

Karma Dog: Karma Dog Public Access Test

AKC: CGC, STAR PUPPY, COMMUNITY CANINE, CGCU
http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/

Karma Dog: Karma Dog Public Access Test

The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert them when their blood sugars reach abnormally high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained on medication retrieval or deep pressure therapy. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to respond to seizures by positioning themselves in a certain way and then retrieving help or medication once the seizure has passed. Individuals with a disability are encouraged to talk to a Karma Service Dog Trainer to discuss their disability and how a dog could help in their everyday life.

Additional Information

Typically, if our dog doesn't like the car ride, it's more than likely something we can change by following the 4 steps listed below.

There are several reasons why a dog may not like the car ride, and most of them are obvious. If your dog’s only experience of going in the car has been to wind up in a Veterinarian’s office or at a groomer’s shop getting their nails clipped, then he or she has good reason not to like the car.

However, there are other reasons that are not so obvious and the following list addresses these less obvious reasons and what you can immediately do to correct them.

1. Sudden starts and stops on the gas paddle.

Dogs hate this. They feel like they are getting carsick.

SOLUTION: IMAGINE YOU ARE DRIVING WITH A HOT CUP OF COFFEE ON YOUR DASHBOARD. IF THE WAY YOU NORMALLY DRIVE WOULD SPILL THE COFFEE, CHANCES ARE YOUR DOG IS NOT ENJOYING YOUR DRIVING.

You must be willing to learn how to drive in a manner where you are very conscious of the sudden stops and starts you are making. Try as best you can to drive at an even smooth, tempo, giving yourself enough time to slow down and speed up at stop signs and traffic lights, incrementally, not suddenly.

This is true on right and left turns, as well as stop signs and traffic lights. Your dog will THANK YOU for it!

2. Not enough fresh air; no cross ventilation.

Dogs hate this. They feel like they are getting carsick. Remember, it's very unnatural for a dog to be moving in a car let alone a car with no cross ventilation. They could easily and frequently do experience symptoms of nausea.

SOLUTION: ALWAYS MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS TO DRIVE WITH ALL 4 WINDOWS OPEN, EVEN IF IT JUST AN INCH OR TWO. CROSS VENTILATION WILL DO WONDERS FOR YOUR DOG’S MOTION SICKNESS.

Remember, dogs are animals and part of nature. It is in their DNA to have access to fresh air all the time. They can’t be cooped up and traveling at 50 mph and expect to feel comfortable unless we make special accommodations for them.

Keep in mind, even if it's 95 degrees outside, make sure all 4 windows are open at least an inch or two so there is some sort of cross ventilation breeze. This will help immensely. If you have a sunroof, even better!

3. Blasting loud "talk radio" during the ride.

Dogs hate this. Remember, your dog does not understand what your favorite morning DJ is saying, only you do!

Can you imagine what it would be like to have to ride in a car everyday with a friend who spoke Vietnamese and for the entire car ride you were forced to listen to his favorite morning DJ talk in Vietnamese about all of the world’s events?

SOLUTION: PLAY PEACEFUL MEDITATION OR YOGA MUSIC FOR YOUR DOG DURNG THE CAR RIDE. YOUR GOAL IS TO CREATE A PEACEFUL AND HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR DOG, NOT A CACOPHONOUS ONE.

The truth of the matter is, this will help calm you down too. Good for you and good for your dog. Win/Win!

4. There’s nothing to redirect their energy to.

Dogs hate this. Remember, your dog can’t talk on the phone, pick out his favorite song on the radio and certainly can’t take the wheel!

SOLUTION: GIVE YOUR DOG A BONE OR ANTLER TO CHEW ON! GIVE YOUR DOG SOMETHING TO DO THAT HE ENJOYS DURING THE RIDE LIKE CHEWING ON HIS FAVORITE BONE WHILE YOU DRIVE.

In addition to integrating the first 3 steps on this list, the very best thing you can do when your dog travels with you is to give your dog a special bone that he never gets at any other time except when he gets into the car with you. Remember, a bone or antler, something they can dig their teeth in, is usually better than a chew toy.

So, make sure it is a BONE as opposed to stuffed toy and make sure it’s their favorite kind!

Here is a link to some of our Favorite Recommendations!

*If you are doing everything on this list and you see minimal progress, please consult with us about a behavior modification sessions and consult your holistic veterinarian for other ancillary approaches.

Thank you for this interest in our program! We appreciate it and we'll definitely consider it :)

If you are interested, please apply at the link here: https://karmadogtraining.com/apply

We are always seeking new Lead Trainers, Assistant Dog Trainers and Volunteers!

Your patience is appreciated as you should hear back from someone on our staff shortly to answer any questions you might have.

We don’t do adoptions but we do a free trial class for a dog that’s adopted.



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Great Experience!

I cannot say enough good things about Karma Dog Training and recommend them more to anyone looking for dog training. I was a nervous first time puppy owner and was put at ease right away once I found Karma.

- Mariel C.
West Hollywood, CA

Amazing!

Karma Dog Training has given me a great experience of learning the basic commands and procedures of owning a first time puppy. In the Kindergarten Puppy training class, Jennifer Sturgeon, one of the dog trainers that was there was very kind and helpful.

- John L.
Arcadia, CA

Contact UsEmily Ozrey
Director, Karma Dog Training

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