The Canine Guru

Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of frequently asked questions. If you do not find an answer to your question below, feel free to email me your question at thecanineguru@gmail.com. 

Q: What is the difference between a canine behaviorist and a dog trainer?

A: A dog trainer focuses on teaching students and their dogs various skills. Trainers teach anything from simple obedience and tricks, to agility and hunting. Some trainers do work with their clients or students to solve behavior problems, but these behavior problems are usually things such as pulling on the leash, excessive barking, and bite control. They do not focus on serious behaviors such as obsessive compulsive disorder, fear, or aggression. Trainers look to get a dog to preform a new behavior and work toward accomplishing that goal. Trainers are like school teachers and teach dogs the basic skills they need to live among us. (I.E. how to walk on a leash, sit, come when called, etc).

A canine behaviorist is different in that he/she actively studies canine psychology, behavior, and/or language. They look back on the history of the dog(s) to understand what may be causing the problem behavior. Then they look at the lifestyle of the dog(s) and family to see if there are any behaviors that the owners may be offering to inadvertently cause the problem behavior(s). A behaviorist can be called out to fix simple problems like pulling on the leash as well, but specializes in the serious behavior issues such as, fear, aggression, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Behaviorists modify the dog's behavior by understanding what makes the dog tick. He/she understands how the dog thinks and what his/her motivations are and they use that to change the dog's behavior. Canine behaviorists are kind of like psychologists and help solve behavior issues so the dog may function normally in society. (I.E. stop fearing the vacuum cleaner, stop biting/lunging at kids/dogs, stop tail chasing, etc).

Q: What forms of payment do you accept?

A: I accept cash, money orders, and local checks. Sorry, I do not accept credit or debit cards at this time, but I'm working on it. If the check bounces, a $30 fee will be added that must be paid along with the total amount due before lessons can resume. If a check bounces, I will only accept cash from then on. 

Q:  When is payment due?

A: Payment is due by the end of the first lesson/consultation. 

Q: How do I decide how many lessons to sign up for?

A: Most people wait until the end of the consultation to decide. If they do decide to purchase a set number of lessons, the consultation will become the first lesson of the bundle. After evaluating the severity of the problem, I may also recommend a certain number of lessons. Generally, 2 to 4 lessons are needed. More lessons may be needed depending on the severity of the case. If you are still unsure, or budgeting, you may pay as you go at $85 per lesson.

Q: What happens if I purchase more lessons than I need?

A:  This is rare, but you have the option to trade in those extra lessons for other services such as an in home bath, dog walking, or pet sitting.

Q: Do I have to use my packaged lessons every week?

A: No. You have up to 4 months to use your lessons. In some cases, I may recommend to use them once a week or even one every two weeks. Any remaining lessons expire after 4 months from the date you sign up.

Q: How long does one lesson last?

A: Each lesson lasts at least 45 minutes to one hour. However, I sometimes have lessons that last up to an hour and a half. It really depends on what we are working on or talking about.

Q: Why don't you offer classes here in the Phoenix area?

A: Because the parks here require a permit to teach dog training classes in them. I am not sure I want to go through the hassle of getting a permit because as a behaviorist, I prefer to work with my clients one on one anyway. But I have not totally dismissed the idea as of yet. 

Q: What if I sign up for a set number of lessons and then decide I can't or don't want to keep my dog? 

A: Please make sure you are committed to your dog before signing up. Responsible owners do not give up on their dogs before training is over. Signing up for behavior work is a commitment, and it will not always be easy. Do your research before getting a dog and before signing up for lessons. There are no refunds if you decide to give up your dog. 

Q: Are lessons transferable? 

A: No. Due to liability reasons, I can not enter into an agreement with you and your dog(s) and then transfer that to a different dog and owner. If you'd like to pay for someone else, you may do so, but they must sign the agreement. The signed agreement is only good for the dog or dogs' name(s) that are on the agreement. In some cases, I may be willing to let the lessons follow the dog. For example, if a fostered dog finds a new home, I would honor the lessons with the new owners (assuming they are within the service area).

Q: Who is responsible for scheduling lessons?

A: You. If you sign up for lessons, it is your responsibility to schedule them before they expire. You can schedule them via a phone call, in person, text, or email.  

Q: What is your refund policy?

A: I will only give refunds in special circumstances. Please understand that when you sign up, you are committing to the lessons and to bettering your dog's behavior.