top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

Golden Retriever Dog looking over a valley; obedience; behavior

What is your philosophy? 

I use rewards-based training and procedures to change behavior using the most up-to-date and ethical procedures. As a scientist, my goal is to gather and use information from you and your pet to identify and address concerns. With my expertise in classical and operant conditioning, we can make demonstrable changes for the better. I do not use forceful methods to change behavior such as choke chains, prong collars, or electric shock. Instead, I utilize rewards individualized to your pet such as food, toys, or even play, to change behavior. 

What's the difference between a behaviorist and a trainer? 

A behaviorist is someone who has experience in identifying the function of a given behavior. In short, my job is to determine "why" a behavior may occur. This involves looking at the whole context, including the environment in which your pet lives. Then, taking that information, I can develop individualized programs to fit your needs. A trainer often works to teach new and more appropriate behaviors. Although I don't function as a typical "trainer," and instead provide coaching so that you gain the skills and confidence to work with your dog, you will get the best of both worlds such that I am an experienced behaviorist and use my experiences as a trainer to guide behavior change. 

What is your servicing area?  

I generally operate between Hartford and New Haven, going as far east as Glastonbury and as far west as Cheshire.  More specifically, my servicing area will travel 25 miles from Middletown. If you think you are on the edge of that area, please don't hesitate to reach out as there are options available for you such as virtual consultations or a mileage fee for in-person services.  

What about guarantees? 

Our companion animals are living creatures and as such, reputable credentialing bodies state that guarantees are considered unethical. Furthermore, other factors like prior learning history, genetics, and the amount of time owners work with their pets can alter success. With that in mind, I want to ensure that expectations are addressed before you get started, so if you have any questions about treatment outcomes for a particular behavior, please reach out! 

My dog is [insert age, breed, other condition here]. Can my dog still learn?

This is a resounding YES! Every species continues to learn throughout life and the same is true for dogs. And although each dog is different (e.g., breed), the principles underlying classical and operant conditioning still will be effective for your dog. What may differ is the type of rewards we use - for example, my Sheepadoodle will eat ANYTHING, while a German Short-haired Pointer may prefer activities. Paying attention to the individualized needs of the specific dog in front of me is more helpful than broad classifications. 

This seems like an investment. Why is the price set up this way? 

My goal is not only to give you tools to address the immediate behavior of concern but to ultimately help you better understand and communicate with your dog. As such, I aim to develop unique and individualized programs and notes for you, which involves creating those materials in time spent outside of my sessions with you. The science of behavior allows us to make lasting positive changes for you and your companion, meaning the investment is worth it over the lifetime of your pet. 

*Some pet insurance companies provide coverage for Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists. 

How does the online consultation work? 

The challenges of COVID-19 led to tremendous growth in online consultation options. These program options allow us to meet virtually where we will discuss your needs just as we would in your home. You will still receive behavior plans and the same amount of support as you would if I were to meet you at your house. In both types of programs, I often ask for videos to best see the behavior, so I can still see the whole picture of your needs. Some types of programs are better suited for virtual consultation methods than others, so if you are debating between in-person or online, please let me know and we can discuss it!

What if I need help outside of scheduled sessions?

I want to be here to support you, and sometimes issues arise between our scheduled sessions. One aspect of my career in academia was to provide "office hours" for my students, and I have found that it works great for client questions too! I offer weekly "office hours" to respond to inquiries from current clients. Once we get started on a program, I can offer more guidance on what "office hours" look like and how you can take advantage of that time. 

What will be expected of me for success? And what does success look like?  

My goal is to provide you with tools that you can incorporate into your daily lives. As such, success will look a little different for each household. I will give you guided activities between sessions that I ask you to work through to best prepare for our next session. Working in stages helps build confidence for you and your dog, and preparation outside of our sessions is key to maximizing our time together. I may also ask you to collect data or record videos of your dog between sessions to ensure we are all discussing the same behavior. 

bottom of page