Puppy ‘Head Start’ Program

This program is for puppies that are aged 8 weeks to 16 weeks.

Note: We may allow puppies up to 6 ½ months in this introductory program if your puppy hasn’t had any training at all yet.

Girl training puppyThis program is 3 private lessons at your home and covers:

  • House breaking/potty training
  • Handling exercises to prevent nipping and puppy biting
  • Introduction to socialization
  • Basic household structure and rules
  • Resource interruption exercises
  • Intro to meeting people
  • Introduction to obedience:
  • Intro to sit
  • Intro to down
  • Intro to leave it
  • Intro to come
  • Drop it

Cost: $235

Frequently Asked Questions


How long is each lesson?

The first lesson is an hour and fifteen minutes and lessons two and three are one hour.


Do these one-on-one lessons take the place of a puppy kindergarten?

Not really. Puppy kindergartens can be helpful from a socialization perspective. However, most puppy kindergartens don’t allow puppies younger than 16 weeks of age as this is the typical age when a puppy has completed their vaccination schedule. This is one of the main reasons we developed this “Head start” program. As you may be finding out, there is a lot that happens between 8 and 16 weeks of age and it’s often helpful to take advantage of those two months to get your puppy going in the right direction. This preliminary work also maximizes any future experience you may have at a puppy kindergarten group class because your puppy has the fundamental understanding to perform in the higher distraction environment of any group class.


What equipment is used in the puppy program?

We use a regular 6-foot leash and a martingale collar. We also use food as a lure and a primary reinforcer of behaviors.


What methods are used in this training program?

Our general philosophy of training is more naturalistic. Meaning that when you observe dogs interacting with one another, they use balanced positive and negative feedback in social interactions to encourage behaviors they like and discourage behaviors they don’t like. For dogs over 7 months old, food isn’t a primary training tool for basic training. However, since puppies have a different association with food and the rest of the “pack” when they’re young, we can take advantage of all the benefits of food-based conditioning in our puppy programs.


Why it makes sense to use different training techniques at different ages

I often give people a human analogy to illustrate the notion that different developmental stages require different training techniques. Imagine a thought experiment where you saw a parent in a grocery store telling a toddler aged child to stop doing something they’re not supposed to; you may hear the famous parent counting technique. “Little Johnny, put that down … 1, 2 … 3!” You may like or not like that particular parenting technique, but you likely wouldn’t think that parent was crazy for attempting that technique with their two-year-old kid. However, imagine the scenario where you saw that parent at the grocery store with their 17-year-old kid … still using the same parenting technique, “Jonathon, put that back … 1,2 … 3!” Without being a developmental psychologist, you’d probably, rightly, think that parent was a bit nuts in their choice of parenting technique with their nearly adult aged child.