You've Got Questions
We've Got Answers

Thank you for considering Ideal DOG as your dog training and behavior source! While we are happy to discuss any questions you may have, the following questions come up frequently. 

What does your professional certification mean?

The credential CPDT-KA stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed. The Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is the governing body. The CCPDT comprehensive examination was created by 20 internationally known dog training professionals and Veterinary Behaviorists. The exam is standardized and proctored (as are many professional exams). Dog trainers must meet the qualifying experience requirements to sit for the exam. Certified Professional Dog Trainers must complete continuing education credits to maintain certification. For more information about finding a qualified professional dog trainer please visit:

I heard you use positive methods and use treats in training. I don’t want my dog to only do things for food!

The use of food reinforcement can be confusing. Using a well-timed reward to increase level of response is very different than waving a piece of hotdog in front of your dog’s face, hoping he will do what you ask. When done correctly, luring and food rewards are faded out of the training equation early on, and we are left with a dog happily following the command for hand signals, verbal praise and other types of rewards such as petting and play. You like a nice boss and a paycheck, so does your dog!

Are you one of those trainers not allowing punishment?

Most people think punishment and correction mean the same thing, but correction is sometimes just a nice way of explaining the physical action of a choke, hit, shock, spank, pinch, or jerk. If you ask if we use those things during training, the answer is no, but we do not allow dogs to get away with unwanted behavior. We prefer to use a better method of communication, one that shows the dog the correct behavior. This allows the dog to choose the right answer instead of being scolded for the wrong one. The end result is a dog that wants to do the right thing and has a clear understanding of what the right behavior is. We help owners become benevolent leaders, and believe that a structured environment and positive leadership can create better results than force or dominance based methods. 

But you have to force control over an aggressive dog, don’t you?

Aggression is serious business. All peer-reviewed research available today suggests that aggression begets aggression. In other words, harsh tactics that invoke greater fear make the problem worse. A dog that gets pushed over his emotional limits will warn with growling and other body language/actions, but if those warnings are ignored he may turn to biting.  A dog that learns to bite to solve perceived problems may continue to bite if biting gets the point across. Every dog has different thresholds of frustration. Our training keeps dogs under those thresholds for greater success.

How do private training sessions work?

Sessions are conducted at our training facility. We do have some in home training availability in the Fox Valley area. We set an appointment and meet at the scheduled time. Client information forms are completed online or emailed and completed at your convenience before the appointment. If needed, forms can be printed and mailed to you via USPS. Payment is due when we confirm your appointment and can be made by credit card via Stripe or PayPal.  Packages are available for multiple lessons and we offer discounts for clients who are committed to helping their dogs. 48 hours notice is required to cancel private appointments or charges apply.  Travel fee is $1.50 per mile round  trip, minimum $30 fee for in home sessions.

Do I need a consultation for basic training?

No. If you have a dog who is free from serious behavior problems, we may be able to start private basic manners training  without an initial consult. Dogs who are free from significant behavior issues can be enrolled in group training classes anytime, no pre consult is required. Dogs who have to be removed from the class room for group classes for disruptive behavior may be offered a private lesson using the remaining class fee credit. No refunds can be given once classes have started. 

How much training is usually needed?

It depends on the severity of the issue. Dogs learn through repetition, and consistent repetition builds new habits. Most dogs need several weeks of consistent training to successfully perform and offer better behavior reliably. For owners who lack the time or experience to complete training tasks on their own, we recommend Full Service Training which allows us to do the work for you!

What types of behavior problems do you handle?

We handle the following and more:

  • House training issues(including crate/confinement training and marking issues)
  • Jumping up, mouthing, and pushy attention seeking behavior
  • Pulling on leash
  • Leash reactivity (lunging/barking) on leash
  • Destructive chewing
  • Digging
  • Excessive barking
  • Anxiety 
  • Running away and boundary training (wireless fence training without use of forced corrections)
  • Counter surfing, food stealing and garbage raiding
  • Handling problems (vet exam, nail trim issues, grooming difficulties etc.)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Possession guarding
  • Fearfulness/shyness
  • Acclimation to a new home ( for rescued/adopted dogs)
  • Dog/Dog aggression- socialization with unfamiliar and multi dog household pack order

We are happy to evaluate and have an initial consultation with just about any dog, but refer serious aggression cases to a Vet Behaviorist.  (Aggression seriousness is determined by discussing bite history, determining the dog’s bite threshold and the dog’s bite inhibition before or during the initial consultation).

Does it matter that my dog has some health problems before training?

Behavior problems are often linked to medical issues. We require all dog clients be under the current care of a veterinarian and current on rabies vaccination( age appropriate). We recommend all sudden onset of behavior or aggression cases consult with a veterinarian to rule out medical reasons for changes in behavior. If your dog cannot do something in the training curriculum because of a medical issue, we will find alternatives (same goes for the humans, too). When necessary, we can work with your veterinarian to get all the information necessary to appropriately help your dog. We also recommend your dog has a full physical exam before starting a new exercise program. Puppies who attend any of our group services must be current on all age appropriate vaccines and have been examined by a vet to ensure they are well and healthy, free from communicable illness and diseases.

Since you offer full service dog training could you pet sit overnight if we go out of town?

We are happy to offer day training lessons for dogs whose owners are away at work or on vacation, but do not offer in home care that a full service pet sitter offers. If you are going to be gone and would like to continue manners training services while you are away, we are able to work with your in-home pet sitter on a schedule that ensures the best options to keep your pet happy and content while you are gone. 

How do you handle our keys for full service training? Do you keep a copy or do we need to hide them?

For clients that regularly use our full service in home training, we do ask to obtain a copy of keys or security code at the initial consultation or when you purchase a package. This is the safest way to allow us access to your home. We do not recommend the hide-a-key option. Keys in our possession are kept secure and labeled in a coded fashion for security purposes.

How do you handle payments? What types of payments do you accept?

Payment is due at the time of your first appointment/initial consultation. We accept cash, check, or credit cards via Stripe or PayPal. For group training classes, private lessons and Behavior Consultations payment must be received first to hold your spot. For multiple session packages, full payment is made when we confirm your appointments.  Our policy requires a 48 hour notice to cancel or reschedule a session or a minimum charge of $50 applies. No refunds can be given for group classes with less than 48 hours notice or once a class session has started.

Is Ideal Dog bonded and insured?

Yes. We are certified, bonded and insured. Client references available upon request.

Additional Cancellation policy details

All services require scheduling 24 hours in advance, and scheduled services require a 48 hour prior cancellation notice. Appointments can be cancelled by calling at least 48 hours before the appointment. Cancellation with less than 24 hours notice will be charged 1/2 the cost of the appointment. Payment is required for services unless proper 48 hour cancellation is made. Private Training is completed at our training facility or in your home. In home training cost for travel is $1.50 per mile round trip, minimum fee $30  All services are available by appointment. Private training and behavior packages must be used within 6 months of the purchase date. Four lesson packages must be completed within 6 weeks of purchase date. Prices and fees may change without prior notice, please check prices on our website before scheduling any service.