Train with Us!
Why is behavioral training important?
Because behavioral problems are the number one reason that people give up their pets, and because many people are not knowledgeable about how to successfully train their pets, a large part of what The Pet Connection offers is obedience, socialization shaping, and reactive dog classes at its training center. The simple truth is that many homeless dogs can come from a shelter or other environment with fear, anxiety, aggression, or lack of socialization issues. How the dog has developed these issues can depend on a multitude of factors, including: the dog’s history prior to arriving at the shelter; the dog’s personality and how he reacted to the shelter environment; how long the dog was homeless or at the shelter, etc. Although foster homes can be extremely helpful at eliminating some of the anxieties a homeless dog may experience, the issues sometimes remain and additional work is needed to help resolve them. Without resolving or improving the behavioral issues, the dog is at a higher risk of being labeled “unadoptable,” or being returned to the shelter by a frustrated adopter.
The Pet Connection’s trainers can offer the appropriate training for such dogs. The Pet Connection works with other rescue organizations and offers this training for free to foster home dogs and homeless shelter dogs. The Pet Connection is the only organization in the Kansas City area that offers this free service.
For others, The Pet Connection offers a low-cost obedience training, behavioral training, and behavior consultation, the proceeds of which go toward helping operate life-saving rescue, sheltering & medical programs. The Pet Connection also offers group puppy classes every few months, plus occasional events such as social playgroups or seminars. Private consultations take place throughout the week and weekends. Fill out a Training Request Form today to get started!
What training approach does The Pet Connection use?
For many dogs with fear, anxiety or aggression, the dog has learned that his “normal” methods (for example, lunging, barking, growling) make the thing that is causing the fear, anxiety or aggression (“the trigger”) go away. The dog will continue to act inappropriately because that behavior often has worked in the past. The problem is that these inappropriate methods can create a dangerous situation for the dog and others.
To help dogs exhibiting these issues, The Pet Connection implements positive reinforcement training methods, where the dog learns to face the trigger, but to respond appropriately. Most commonly, The Pet Connection uses counter conditioning/desensitization (“CC/DS”) when working with fearful, anxious, aggressive or even under-socialized dogs. CC/DS is an associational learning procedure, which is about creating a positive association between the trigger (for example, other dogs, kids, certain noises, people) and something the dog likes, such as food. When the dog encounters the trigger, it is given the positive item. The dog begins to associate the trigger with the positive item, and this works to dissipate that fear, anxiety or aggression over time. This method is very successful with the majority of dogs exhibiting these behavioral issues.
We then move on to Operant Conditioning, which in conjunction with classical counterconditioning, not only changes the behavior but the emotion behind it.
The Pet Connection trainers and behavior members use a team approach in order to implement the ideas that have the highest success rate. Our five behavioral trainers working out of the Kansas City metro have a variety of backgrounds applicable to dog training and behavior.
Read about our experienced trainers under “Our Team” in the drop down menu.
What are my options?
The Pet Connection uses positive reinforcement based behavior modification for all kinds of behavior issues, and depending on the problem at hand there are many options. The Pet Connection works primarily out of a facility in Kansas City. We hold 50 minute long individual classes, group puppy classes, day train sessions, and occasional playgroups in this space. For our individual classes, we often utilize our environment and volunteers, ie: strangers for stranger danger dogs or social peer dogs for our pals with dog reactivity!
Depending on your dog’s needs and the location, we offer in-homes where the trainer comes out to your home to assist you and your canines. The cost for in-homes is based on mileage to and from your home, as well as a base price.
Daytrain and board and train at one of our trainers homes are not always readily available, but they’re a wonderful option when we have the time and space. This is also dependent on the dog’s needs and location. Fill out the Training Request Form and expect a phone call to see what we can do for your pups.
*Training pricing varies based on income and other factors.
Our schedule and check-ins are all done via text message. Upon arriving to the training facility, please stay in your car and text our main number (913)-671-7387 to let us know you have arrived and wait for further instruction. No prong collars, choke chains, or shock collars allowed in class. Bring your dog on a regular collar, martingale collar, or harness. No retractable leashes allowed in classes, please use a standard 4 or 6 ft leash. Bring a high value motivator - while some dogs will work for their kibble we find that most will work harder if the pay is better. Soft treats, hot dogs, cheese, chicken, cooked crumbled ground meat, all work great. Make the pieces small, think pencil eraser, green pea or smaller. We do need payment at the time of class, either online through paypal, with cash or check.