Acadia Canine Academy Board & Train Curriculum
Welcome to Acadia Canine Academy’s descriptive curriculum of its Board and Train Program, which will assist you in properly determining who is the best fit for training your dog. The first thing we ask of any prospective client is to review three pages on our website, with those pages being the About Page so that you know who you’re speaking with and what their qualifications are (Master Dog Trainer & Animal Behaviorist with over 30 years of experience). The next page is the Board and Train Page. It will give you a synopsis of the board and train curriculum that your dog will learn and the pricing, which is more affordably priced than any other dog training enterprise you will find—beware of the thieves and frauds! The next page is the Facility Page, which you may find the link at the bottom of the Board and Train Page, or if you are on a mobile device, you can open up the menu in the top right of your screen (3 horizontal bars) and click on the About Tab. This will open up a link to the Facility Page. If you are on a desktop or laptop, you can just hover your mouse arrow over the About Tab, and a link to the Facility Page will come up. The Facility Page contains 10 enumerated things that we do at Acadia Canine Academy that other proclaimed dog trainers do not do. It also contains photos of our facility.
One of our numerous philosophies is that a dog comes from a home, must return to a home, and there is no better place to train a dog but in a home. Once you have reviewed these three pages, we encourage you to call the competition and ask them one question. That question being, “What are the eight instinctual drives of animals?” If they have to think about it or do not know, ask them one more question: “If you do not know those instinctual drives of animals, how are you going to train my dog?” The resounding answer will be, “We use E-collars, electric collars, and prong collars.” That statement is an attestation to their inexperience, and they are not dog trainers. They are amateurs and likely frauds. They use compulsion and pain.
Here at Acadia Canine Academy, we use positive reinforcement through the reward system. The rewards being praise, food (raw hotdogs), and toys. The food and toys work with a dog’s instinctual food drive and play drive. There is no reason to hurt a dog to teach it. Each dog is unique in its levels of instinctual drives, and the job of a true dog trainer is to identify the most present drive and to use that drive to effectively train the dog. Never punish the dog; any error is always the handler’s fault. We also encourage you to read our Google reviews from satisfied customers. Once you have done your due diligence, and you are convinced that Acadia Canine Academy is the best game in town for your dog, we ask that you go to our website homepage and click on the registration tab. This is a drop-down menu that contains two forms. Fill out the long registration form, which has a provision within it to upload current vaccination records in a PDF format. You may also send your current vaccination records via a JPG photo through email or text. The other form is the Board and Train Agreement, wherein you suggest the dates that you would like to have your dog trained. When you hit the submit button, the forms are emailed to us automatically. We immediately print out those forms and put together a folder for your dog. We contact you within 24 hours and ask that, together, we pull up our calendars and determine the best time of the day that works for you to drop-off your dog. Payment is due in full at the time of the drop off. Unscrupulous people have set this precedent. We pay for our gasoline at the pump and our groceries at the cashier checkout. Credit cards are not accepted nor debit cards as they have a 3.9% processing fee. We do not believe in passing that incidental charge onto the client, and we have discovered through breeders’ experiences and other trainers that credit card charges can be contested and the provider does not get paid boiling down to theft of services. We accept personal checks, Zelle, Venmo, cash, and money orders.
On the day of the drop off, we ask that you call us when you are 15 minutes away prior to your arrival due to the fact that clients are often delayed due to late starts or traffic, restroom stops, etc. We are located at the last house on a dead-end street next to the woods with trails. We do not come out to your car to greet you or to the front door as all too often dogs will go into defense drive and bark at us, as we are strangers to your dog’s pack, which can be just your dog and you. It is not the way to begin a relationship with your dog. We sit at the dining room table unimposing with a raw hotdog, tennis ball, and microchip reader and ask that you come in through the front door into the living room area and remove the leash from your dog and join us at the dining room table. We ask that you ignore your dog so that we may observe its natural behavior which should be that the dog sniffs around investigating its new environment and eventually comes over to us at the dining room table. We will then explore its food drive with the hotdog and its play drive with the tennis ball. We also observe your dog’s body language, which is whether its tail tucks, its ears go back, its fur goes up in fear, or it cowers under the dining room table or hides behind its owner; these are all important factors in determining your dog’s temperament. We try to determine if your dog is what is called a “Spook” by professional dog trainers prior to your arrival with preliminary questions over the phone, such as have you ever seen your dog tremble and, if so, under what circumstances? Is your dog sensitive (startles) to loud sounds, such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or tractor-trailers passing by? Has your dog been bitten by another dog as a puppy? This causes trauma often categorized as being similar to PTSD, resulting in amplified defense drive. Unfortunately, all too often, dogs that have genetically weak nerves or have been traumatized by being bitten as a puppy need to be put on Prozac before being able to be trained.
For the first day, your dog stays in a jumbo size crate (48” long x 36” high x 32” wide) in the living room. This has a threefold purpose. First, your dog can observe the pack hierarchy. Your dog, being a pack animal, must understand who the leaders of the pack are and the pecking order here at Acadia Canine Academy. Second, its education of what to do and what not to do begins immediately through observation. The new dogs learn by observing us interacting with other dogs. Monkey see, monkey do. If your dog is not being personally trained at the moment, it is learning from observing the other dogs. More than two decades ago, we established a methodology of using other dogs as mentors to the new arrival dogs. It is truly amazing how this works. This can be observed in a short video on our website of a small brown puppy being taught by an 18-month-old German Shepherd. Third, the dogs currently at Acadia Canine Academy take the opportunity to introduce themselves to the new arrival dogs, and we can ascertain which dogs are compatible with your dog by reading their body posture and language.
One of the first things that your dog will learn is to sit when we raise our index finger without saying sit. We will take your dog with one or two other dogs that he or she is compatible with and say, “OK, let's go do pee pee,” and walk through the kitchen to the door that goes to the garage, turn around, and raise an index finger while looking at the dogs. The two dogs your dog is with will sit; likely, your dog will not. We will look at your dog and then look at the other two dogs. Maybe at this point your dog will look at the other two dogs and see that the pack is sitting and your dog being a pack animal, and he or she will also sit. We then use the reward of praise, saying “good sit” in a sweet, high-pitched tone of voice. We will then open the door and allow the dogs to go into the garage to the next door that goes from the garage to the backyard. The same routine of the raising of the index finger is done while looking at the dogs. They must sit. When they do sit, we praise them and allow them pass through the next door into the backyard. This amounts to passage through 2 doors to get out and 2 doors to get back in, which occurs 3 to 4 times a day, amounting to 12 to 16 times a day that the dog learns to sit when we raise our index finger. This carries on to where all you have to do is make the sound of exhaling, make eye contact with your dog, and raise your index finger regardless of where you are and your dog will sit.
The basis of our curriculum is impressioning and imprinting through repetition, repetition, repetition. Training begins at 4:30 a.m. every day, seven days a week. Somewhat like brainwashing. The dogs are immersed in training daily. It is one of our numerous philosophies that this is the best way to train a dog. If they are not being trained directly, they are observing other dogs being trained and learn just through observation what to do and what not to do also. The next stage of training involves working on the “sit” and the “down” commands with the dog remaining in the sit and down to the point that we can leave the room and come back into the room and the dog is still in the sit and down. This is called the long sit and long down. Sit is sit, and down is down. Stay is not a necessary word nor is place. We never say, and we suggest you don't ever say, "good job”. This phrase is not a cognizable command, and it is all too often iterated by dog owners. We keep the vocabulary simple. Always praise the act, such as good sit, good down, good heel, and good come, not the dog such as good boy or good Riley. A dog has no self-concept. It looks in the mirror and thinks it's another dog that it sees.
Once we have established the long sit and the long down, we begin to work on the recall command, which is “come,” “come here,” or “here,” whichever your dog more favorably responds to. Each dog is catered to individually to obtain the best responsive results. The recall begins inside the home and extends out into our secure fenced-in backyard, and then out onto the trails through the woods where we employ a 50-foot leash. We allow the dog to go out 20 or 25 feet ahead of us and then step on the leash, bringing the dog to a startling stop adding the word “halt,” and then the recall command which can be “come,” “come here,” or “here,” whichever command your dog responds to more favorably. When the dog comes to us, we give the command “sit.” Often, when the dog does come to the recall command, he or she will sit without being commanded to sit through our repetitive training. The recall command is then built-upon in the backyard, which is fenced in and large. We take the dogs to the local dog park when there are no dogs present in the park. The park is about an acre in size and a very beautiful dog park. We will throw frisbees and tennis balls for the dogs and get them in play drive and then yell the recall command to come here. They have to break out of play drive and come immediately. This is the final stage of perfecting the recall command. It is our belief that dog parks are like gladiator rings. You do not know what is in there as concerns other dogs. For the most part, people do not know what they have for their own dog and all too often dogs are traumatized by being bitten by other dogs in dog parks. We never expose our own dogs or our clients’ dogs to dogs we do not know, and we suggest that our clients continue that practice when they take their dogs home. When a young dog is bitten by another dog in the dog park, this will traumatize the dog for life and amplify the defense drive to the point that they become fear barkers and fear biters. All too often, these dogs need to go on Prozac (fluoxetine) to assist them in going through life no different than a dog that has been determined to have genetically weak nerves through poor breeding.
At Acadia Canine Academy we train your dog in the "no paws, no jaws” philosophy. No paws means no jumping up and no hitting with the paws. This behavior is all too common with puppies and not out of the norm. No jaws means no mouthing or biting in play. We at Acadia Canine Academy are the crash dummies that take all the nicks and bites so that your family members, including children, do not. We teach the dogs the word “ow” and “easy.” One of the commands that we teach is "out of my kitchen." Dogs are not allowed in the kitchen for a number of reasons. One reason is we don't want their hair in the kitchen. Another reason is we don't want to step on them inadvertently and possibly injure them or ourselves. Another reason is there are hazardous objects in the kitchen, such as knives, that can fall from the countertop onto the dog and seriously injure them. This trained and enforced rule ensures that they also do not counter-surf. This rule also reinforces no begging, which also is enforced at the dining room table with the commands of “no” and “go.” We intentionally leave the garbage can cover propped open in the dining room area to set up a scenario for your dog to exhibit the errant behavior of attempting to go into the garbage so that your dog can be trained not to go in the garbage. The command is “out of the garbage” in a commanding tone of voice. When your dog retreats from the garbage can, we praise (reward) the good act in a high-pitched sweet tone of voice. Your dog is also trained to not drink water out of the toilet in the same manner.
Now, we will discuss the training of proper heeling that your dog will be trained to do. Proper heeling is done in two fashions. One fashion is where your dog learns the "basic position" also known as “in the pocket,” which is on your left side always and right next to your left knee parallel to you and not askew. This can be considered precision heeling for high-traffic situations where you are with your dog in public. The benefit from this type of heeling is that you are in your dog’s peripheral vision and when you come to a halt, and the dog automatically sits without being told. If you are not in your dog’s peripheral vision, he or she cannot key into your body language of coming to a halt. This training is not done overnight and takes a lot of work on our part. It must be carried on by the owner when the dog returns home to build on the foundation that we established. This type of heeling is in preparation of going out into public in the second week of our board and train course to stores such as Lowe's Home Improvement Center, PetSmart, Petco, and Home Depot to practice obedience under distraction.
The second type of heeling on leash is allowing the dog to be a dog. This equates to allowing the dog latitude to go out in front of you on a loose leash without pulling so that he or she may take care of their business and sniff around using their olfactory glands to do what comes naturally to them: investigating their environment. In both types of heeling, your dog learns the command of “easy.” The concept of a loose leash in heeling is that the dog is not on a taunt leash. A taunt leash indicates tension to the dog, and when the dog is allowed out in front of you on a taunt leash, it takes the position of the defender of the pack even if the pack is just you and your dog. This amplifies the dog’s instinctual defense drive and can even allow the dog to think it’s the pack leader, which should never be allowed.
On the subject of leadership, you should not allow your dog to choose which toy he wants to play with. You demonstrate leadership through you choosing which toy to interact with your dog with. Any toy is an inanimate object until you bring it to life. It is through this concept, which you will apply, that you instill in your dog that you are the leader of the pack and that the dog is a member of your pack. Through this process of interacting with your dog with a toy, you build respect, trust, and a relationship with your dog. You should not give your dog the latitude of choosing what toy he or she wants. You make that decision—and only you. Little things like this reinforce the pack hierarchy in your dog’s mind that you are the leader.
In the middle of the second week of our curriculum, we contact you and discuss your dog’s progress. We will detail to you what the dog has learned and if there are any deficiencies that need remedial training or continued training, and we will explain why and what the plan going forward would be. There is rarely a dog that we cannot train in two weeks. It is not financially advantageous for us to keep a dog longer than two weeks because each additional week beyond the two-week curriculum is incrementally $400.00 more. We can have another dog come into the two-week board and train program for the full price of the two-week curriculum. We are not into warehousing dogs to generate fees to you that are unnecessary as many other proclaimed dog trainers do. We are success orientated, not money orientated. Yes, we do get paid a fair dollar for our services, which are competitively priced with the competition, making us more affordable to our clients. You must be careful when selecting a dog trainer, as there are many thieves out there.
Our goal is to train your dog so that he or she can be a happy dog with a happy family, making a happy ending. A trained dog is a happy dog. On the day that you come to pick up your dog, the first thing we do is educate you on the 8 instinctual drives of animals. All too often, people say, "my dog’s personality." Only people have personalities, not dogs. In order to truly understand your dog’s makeup, you must know these instinctual drives and the level of these drives in your dog. This is what we educate you about, so you have a true understanding of who and what your dog is. Next, we demonstrate to you what we have trained your dog to do and what we have trained your dog not to do. We do encourage people to record this interaction of having their dog returned to them. It is good to memorialize on video or audible recording so that you can always reference back for instructional purposes when going forward with your dog’s training. We then ensure that you understand how to carry out the commands that your dog has been trained in and properly handle your dog. We tell all our clients that, for the life of the dog, you can call us with any questions or issues that may come up. Call us, do not email us or text us, as it is too cumbersome and time-consuming to respond in those matters.
Your dog is always welcome to board with us if we have trained your dog. We do not board dogs that we have not trained. Our home is a second home for your dog. It knows our home, us, and our dogs. If you are flying on vacation, you can check flights out of the Albany, New York, airport for convenience’s sake. Drop your dog off before your flight and pick your dog up when you return. This is the detailed summary of our board and train curriculum.