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Questions and Answers

Below you will find some common questions and answers about clicker training, affordability, groups vs. in home dog training lessons, punishment vs. positive dog training methods and more.

Must I use the clicker if I work with Linda?

While Linda wil certainly encourage you to give the clicker a try, if you really don't like it, it doesn't have to be used.  Linda has 30 years of experience and much knowledge in many training techniques; her goal is a happy and satisfied customer.

Will my dog obey using postive dog training methods?

Yes. Times have changed. There was a time when people believed in corporal punishment for children, but convential wisdom has shifted to a positive model. In the same way, dog training methods have changed. Positive methods work because your dog enjoys training right from the start since it is a rewarding experience for him. Positive methods encourage a lifelong desire to learn. Clicker training is the most effective, quick and easy way I know.  Puppies can be taught from the moment they come home with you; early dog training puts you and your pup on the right track, thus avoiding formation of bad habits. The gentler, positive methods are the only methods appropriate for training puppies. There is some evidence that more forceful methods can create problems of their own.

Shouldn't my dog obey simply to please his master?

Dogs trained through motivational, positive methods certainly love to please their masters, especially since they are happy and having fun during their training sessions. Dog training done by trainers using  force and correction often claim to be teaching your dog to please his master, while forgetting that the dog is actually working to avoid the punishment. The proof that postive methods produce animals with great reliablilty in their training can be seen at any Marine Mammal demonstration. When one sees Dolphins and Orcas performing complicated behaviors reliably and daily, you can be assured that motivational, positive methods work. After all, how would a trainer "force" an Orca to do anything?

Can an old dog really be taught new tricks?

Absolutely. While old dogs can require a bit more patience and persistence to teach them new behaviors, they certainly can learn. Motivational methods are the key to getting an older dog's cooperation. When your older dog feels he is being rewarded for new behaviors, he will become keen to learn them. Rescue dogs are certainly a prime example of this. Dog training methods that are positive make dogs feel safe and confident.

"Some people enrich our lives and I must say that LL (Linda Lukens) is one of them."


Posted by Scott & Debbie Goldman

What if my dog is a finicky eater and treats don't "turn him on"?

Food reward is only one type of reward. Whatever your dog really enjoys can be used as a reward. If your dog loves to play with toys, they can be used as reward. If intense belly scratching is your dog's idea of heaven, then belly scratching can be used to motivate your dog to become your ideal canine companion.

My dog is very noise sensitive, what if he is afraid of the clicker?

No problem. You can substitute the clicker with a special word, or clucking sound, also quieter clickers are available.  As long as you take the time to condition the dog to understand that the sound means reward, it will have the same effect. It is recommended that this be done even if the clicker is used, for times when your clicker is not handy, but you want to do some dog training.

How do I decide whether to take group or in home classes

Let's take a look at the differences. Groupclasses are naturally very distracting for your dog and yourself, which is a disadvantage if your dog is hard to handle and easily distracted, but an advantage if your dog needs socialization. In a group class setting, you are responsible for the outcome, as the owner is the student in group, and the dog is your student. So good students who work hard and do all of their homework religiously, will have more success in a group dog training class. Attendance plays a big part in success; missing a few group classes in a row can make an owner feel lost, although a hand-out is given in the first class which explains what you will be learning.

Some people simply prefer to takein home dog training lessons. Having a lesson done in your own home in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, NY or Fairfield CT, is certainly convenient, and scheduling can be as flexible as you need it to be. In home dog training lessons are appropriate if the main reason for training is a behavior problem. In a private dog training lesson, focus can be on whatever is most important to you. Children can be taught duringin home lessons, while in class they must be 15 years old to participate. They are, however, always welcome to watch from the sidelines. Dogs with aggression problems either toward people or other dogs, must take some in home, private dog training lessons first to assure everyone's safety in class.

Is in home, private dog training very expensive?

Common Ground's dog training prices are in the mid-range, despite Linda's extensive experience. Call today to find out details on cost. Discounted dog training package rates* are available, as well as a per hour private lesson price. In these tough economic times, I am willing to work out payment plans, as well as a hardship discount if you really can't pay my regular fee. My goal is to keep your dog in your home, the dog shelters are overflowing due the the current economic situation. Give me the opportunity to help you and I will. 

When can I start clicker training my brand new pup?

Immediately. Whether you realize it or not, when your new pup comes home with you, you have already started training. Pups are little sponges, soaking up information every day. Many common misbehaviors are inadvertently taught when your dog is little. Example: Jumping up. When your pup is small, jumping up might be viewed as a cute and affectionate behavior. Family and friends might actually pet the cute little guy as he jumps up to lick everyone's face. Now the little guy has grown, and weighs 75 lbs. or more, and suddenly this behavior is not so cute. Early dog training can avoid this kind of mistake, and get your pup and family off to a great start. Obviously, there are numerous other examples like this. Dog training done from the very beginning is the best investment any puppy owner can make.


Carrying the clicker around is not an issue, simply wear it on your wrist, or put in on a lanyard around your neck. Dog training treats are easily carried in a treat pouch you can wear, making you unencumbered, and free to do your clicker training.


Dog training makes your dog a pleasure for both your family and guests to be around. Your dog will be welcome in more places if he is a well behaved canine companion.


Hope this has been helpful. E-mail me with any questions at: cgdogtraining@gmail.com

* Discounted Lesson packages are non-refundable except at the discretion of Common Ground Dog Training 


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