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Frequently Asked Questions



What training methods do you use?

I employ force-free, scientifically backed training methods. My goal is to keep your dog happy, relaxed and able to learn during a training session by rewarding correct behavior and setting your dog up for success.

I will never use choke chains, prong collars, shock collars, spray collars, shake cans or noise correctors with your dog. I will never shout, shove, pinch, yank, collar pop, alpha roll, "tsst", strike, stare down or otherwise physically intimidate your dog or ask you to do the same.

What training tools do you use?

I use a clicker and high-value food rewards. I also use a six-foot leash and a flat collar or harness. If training requires, I will also use a 15- or 20-foot leash, a decoy dog, toys, crates or gates, puzzle toys, a muzzle, and/or a Furbo camera.

What are your qualifications?

I am a nationally certified professional dog trainer (IAABC-ADT), as well as a Fear Free certified trainer and a Predation Substitute Training Instructor. I have completed a course in canine aggression and am currently working on my Family Dog Mediation certification. I have been working with dogs professionally since 2005 when I started a pet sitting business. I have worked with dogs in a variety of settings: animal shelters, pet daycares, pet stores, and veterinary clinics. I studied under three dog training professionals in private and group settings before starting Nakama Dog Training in 2016. I am also co-founder of Force Free Oregon, an organization that advocates for the lives and welfare of pets and their people.

How long does dog training take?

The length of training time varies. It depends on several different factors, including the behavior being trained, the dog's learning capacity, and the effort pet parents make to reinforce the behaviors that have been learned. A dog is being trained its entire life, whether its in a training session or not!

How long will I need to use rewards?

The possibility of a reward should always be there, but you can eventually fade out rewards so your dog will continue to perform a behavior even if there's no treat in sight.The length of time will vary for each dog and each training situation, but a general rule is when your dog is 80 to 90% proficient, you can start to fade out rewards. This will change depending on the difficulty of the behavior and the distraction level of the environment.

What breeds have you trained? What breeds will you work with?

I have personally worked with hundreds of dogs of all different breeds, even the "difficult" breeds— from the tiniest Chihuahua to the biggest Mastiff. Though individual dogs have different learning styles, they still all are able to learn through force-free training. I will work with any dog, any breed. I love all dogs!

What happens when a dog does something incorrectly?

Depending on what the incorrect response is, the behaviors will either be ignored or your dog will be gently interrupted and redirected into a correct response.There is always something humans can do to make success easier for a dog, whether it's changing something we are doing, or moving to a less distracting environment. I would adjust as necessary and try again!

Do you guarantee results?

Since dogs are sentient beings with their own free will, I cannot 100% guarantee results. Every dog learns differently, and their success depends not only on training sessions, but the time, effort and patience put in by the pet guardians between sessions and the individual learning capacity of each dog. What I can guarantee is that if you put in the effort and follow the training exercises, you will see progress.

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