New Beginner Group Class Package
Two Wheels Four Paws is now accepting spots for a group class located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We currently have 4 slots available for dogs over the age of 6 months. Package includes 4 classes to be paid each day of class.
-Leash manner (leash reactivity management included)
-Introduction to "place" command
What you will need:
-6ft comfortable leash. Leather, soft nylon or biothane.
-Prong collar or choke chain. We will provide for you to purchase.
-Your dog's favorite treat. Preferably hotdogs, or other cooked meat. You want the reward to be something special they don't get very often.
-A blanket or bed for place command.
Class Schedule and Location:
Date: To Be Determined when class is full.
Classes will be once a week at same day & time during weekdays.
Class 1: Private Session ($50) at Cosner Park
Class 2: Group Lesson ($25) at Cosner Park
Class 3: Group Lesson ($25) at Lowes Southpoint
Class 4: Group Lesson ($25) at Petsmart Southpoint
Please contact us today to book your pup! First class to be paid upon booking. Dont forget, we love photos!
Lets take a minute to talk about Socialization.
Socialization is NOT taking an older pup or dog out and meeting every person or animal.
Socialization is NOT bringing a young puppy out and letting them meet every person or animal.
Socialization is NOT letting your puppy eat out of stranger's hands.
Socialization does NOT start and end with meeting people, dogs or going in public.
These are common issues we see with socially stunted or socially inept dogs.
Critical Socialization begins at 4 weeks and ends at 16 weeks. Anything after 16 weeks is no longer socialization, it is simply desensitizing dogs to certain stimulus.
Socialization is letting your puppy see, hear and smell the world without having any negative experience. In Critical Socialization, a bad experience will stick with them for life, unless you have professional guidance on the situation before 16 weeks.
We carry our puppies to be in full control. This also allows them to have the best chance of staying disease free at these susceptible ages.
Socialization allows your dog to experience the way of the world at a young age, so it normal to them and not a shocking or scary experience.
Some things to consider socializing your puppy to:
-Surfaces in a safe environment. Slippery, metal, different terrain.
-Water (large bodies, streams, rivers)
-Noises. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, the noises of a city, gun fire if possible.
-People. Seeing all types of people, from all cultures. Even elderly and young children or babies.
-Animals. Other dogs, cats, farm animals, small animals such as birds, fish, rodents and reptiles.
These are things we do with young puppies at TWFP when you elect to work with them younger. This gives them their best possibility at living a rounded life well adjusted.
This article started off as a Board-In introduction and FAQ, but as I was writing it, I felt the need to talk about things we commonly find ourselves explaining in hopes to have something as a written referral.
Understanding Your Dog + Board-In FAQ
Many people worry about sending their beloved friend for 2 or more often than not 3 Weeks at a time.
Will he be mad at me?
No, he wont. Dogs are complex emotional feeling creatures, but they do not realize that their family "left" them- all he will know is he's here and it's fun! But the fun stuff comes with boundaries and structure.
What will she learn?
Anything you want that is reasonable, really. Sit, Down, Leash Manners, Come When Called, 'Stay', and all of this Off-Leash and around distraction/in public. This encompasses basic manners, no jumping, no darting out the door, crating and crate manners, etc.
Do you offer a guarantee?
No. Dog Training has too many variables after the dog has left our hands and is transferred to yours. We have no control of any situation. Dogs are thinking, living, breathing individuals, and the world around us can be frantic and hectic. It is up to us to set our dogs up for success and be in control of what happens to them, even form outside forces.
What if the training regresses?
Most of the time that's failure to communicate between you and your dog. Yes, there are some environmental and genetic factors when it comes to dogs, but once you how to properly speak with your pup, you should be fine setting boundaries and reinforcing them at home. After all, with Board-In we get the consistency and repetitions in to teach them what we want.
Genetic vs Environmental? What?
We use these terms a lot and it is important to go over them with their families.
GENETIC is something that does not change, it is hard wired into the dog and is traits from breeding practices poor or reputable. How do we tell if the issue is genetic? It does not change under any circumstances- there is no improvement to the behavior. This can come with fear, aggression, submission, shyness, hyperactivity, or true steadiness!
ENVIRONMENTAL is something that is learned, or lack of learning. Environmental and Critical Socialization can run hand-in-hand. Environmental issues can improve over time with proper handling, training, and consistency.
What is Critical Socialization?
From ages 6-16 weeks you have a very important window of socializing your puppy. Yes, many people get puppies at 8 weeks (which later like 12 weeks is more preferred from a dog-social aspect) - however many people are afraid of disease and the large world to take their baby out and give them the start they truly need.
-Socializing does not mean walking your puppy into a dog park or Petco & turning them on every dog.
-Socializing does not mean forcing your puppy to let people pet/hold them, or letting strangers offer your impressionable puppy treats for approaching them.
Critical Socialization is letting your puppy see people and friendly dogs from a safe distance, only interacting if it is a happy, positive interaction. It is letting your dog smell things, be in the company of a busy store while being carried. Hearing loud noises, seeing strange animals. Like I said above you want these all to be super happy, yet informal greetings. Puppies do go through Fear Periods and can be impacted negatively by socialization, making it look genetic. If a puppy has a negative experience, in or out of a Fear Period, it will stick with them for life.
What is a Fear Period?
Puppies go through fear periods about two times going through Critical Socialization, where things that would normally not phase them are suddenly scary. The most common ages are 9 weeks and 13 weeks, but it is not decidedly so in every puppy. My advice for a puppy in this time is keep them home and keep it very happy for the few days to a week they are uncertain.
We do offer a crash-course in puppy rearing as a private session!
I got my dog at 6 months, can we social her now that she's a year and a half? She is scared of people and dogs.
No, socialization has long passed. However, we can desensitized her and build her in situations she needs help, and correct the negative. At this point it becomes Behavior Modification Training, which is no extra cost to regular Board-In, but we will update on you and what you should expect. This will take EXTRA time on your end at home to make sure she has the consistency needed to excel!
I hope this helps with the most common questions we receive in regards to dogs and our Board-In Programs.
Do not fret if your dog has an environmental, genetic, or socialization issue. Majority of dogs can be trained nonetheless. Just love your dog, reward them when good and give consequence when they are not.
As always, everyday is an adventure!
Amanda (and Boden pictured)
Seriously, I forget we even have this feature. A lot has happened since we acquired Fury. We had a really successful stint of working dogs, pet training was slammed, we moved 2 times, got married officially, and have since seen the death of 4 vehicles. What a time we've had!
With the dogs, at our peak we had 12. Working dogs, companions, and rescues for others. I have actually started a page for our GSD Rescue happenings, and a website for our (Garmrskyn) German Shepherd Breeding Program!
All in all, quite exciting! Sure we've had some serious low points, cancer took hold of my Doberman, Juno summer of 2018 and I lost my imported working male, Baxy. We lost a litter of working puppies. Our highlights included training and selling a Dual Purpose dog (K9 Anna!), selling 3 working Personal Protection Dogs (Go Sokka, Thyrie and Cynic!), training and selling a PTSD K9 for a veteran (Service K9 Killian from our A litter) and rehoming 5 dogs in need (Beau, Ringo, Mabel, Dino and Leif).
2018 also brought me a surprise. My best friend. My K9 Partner. Pictured above, Boden. His first accomplishment at just 9 months old is his CGC, but we have many many more adventures ahead of us.
Now in 2019 we are temporarily located on a beautiful 800 acre property where our own dogs and training dogs alike have room to roam, explore, and gain new sets of trained skills. We have plans for breeding and raising working dogs , in addition to helping Owners build a better relationship with their dogs. Thank you everyone who has stuck by us making TWFP and Garmrskyn K9 a success! We cannot wait to share 2019 with you all.
Every day is an Adventure.
Amanda here again!
No, I'm not raging or ranting, but this bitch is!!
"Fury" is a Colorado Shepherd come to Virginia with prospects of becoming a Utility Protection Dog. She is 13 months old and comes from Czech/DDR lines. She is petite and will probably mature to be 60 lbs, but don't let her size mistake you. She is cunning and FAST! She shows the ability to think while in drive, has immense hunt drive, ball drive, prey drive AND defense drive! Fury is independent and loves to get into, on top of, and under everything she can manage. She is a button pusher, but makes friendly overtures. She enjoys getting in people's face and jumping all over them, but is very sweet and cuddly to her handler. She is weary of strangers. All around a good example of a working line Shepherd bitch.
My two favorite personality traits she possesses:
1.) If you mess with her, she messes with you back. Blow in her face? She will jump in your face and clack her jaws at you.
2.) When she sees me, she smiles. It's tough to get a picture of it because she's constantly moving!!
We have had her home for a little less than a week now and she is showing promise and progress in bite work. She is picking up her obedience nicely; she's even trying to outsmart the game already. I am very excited to see where we go together as a team.
Until next time! Remember, Every Day is an Adventure. :)
Hey everyone, Amanda again. Here to talk about what we train when you opt for our Board In Programs.
If you’re having a specific issue, of course we will address those first and foremost, otherwise, this is what we usually start with.
We’re going to assume the dog I am talking about is over 8 months old and very much into adolescence, or the “teenage years”. With puppies, we use purely motivational or “all positive” techniques. With these teenaged dogs, we see a lot of the “I don’t wanna” or “I don’t have to” – that’s where corrective training is your friend. Yes, motivation is a good place to start, but especially with higher drive or higher intelligence in dogs, they will learn what they can and cannot get away with. Dogs will also learn who they can play and who they have to obey.
Tools: Hot Dogs, Leather Leash, Prong Collar, Dogtra Electric Collar
Leash Manners: I can’t tell you how important everything is transferred once we teach respect down the leash. A dog that is dragging you, sniffing everything, blowing off every command, running up to other dogs, or barking at passing people is a dog left to his own devices. Yes, you may have him leashed but are you really in control, or a leadership position? I expect all my leashed dogs to walk right beside me, not sniffing anything, not greeting anyone unless I tell him to, and most of all I want him to be RELAXED! Not concerned, not “excited” (worked up), not possessive (barking). We use a prong collar and hot dogs to show the dog the right and wrong way to walk on a leash. We’re going for a WALK! Also, walking in “heel” position is one of the most exhausting things to do. Not just the physical excursion, but the mental aspect as well. I teach the dog how to follow me; left turns, right turns, walking, jogging, stopping, about turns. The dog has to follow my every move and pay attention to it. Its hard work! A dog that is “with me” is a dog I have control over, a dog that is following me and looking to me for guidance or leadership. This is taught with either of our Board In Programs. I teach off leash heeling in my Two Week Program.
Heel Position: I teach dogs who to come into heel in either program. The dog approaches, and sits at my left side before strutting off into the sun set.
Down means Down: I was going to use “sit mean sit” but that’s also associated with a company I am not. Anyways, this applies to sit as well, and I often train this with pet dogs as a “sit” since that appeals to most people. I use down as it’s a more comfortable position for a dog to stay in. Essentially this command is a two-in-one, “down” and “stay”. Stay is extra. Down in black & white. I figure, why not go all the way? Instead of the dog getting up after I say the command, the dog should stay in position until I say otherwise! Down is also lifesaving, I’ve had my personal dogs out on my property, off leash, and they see some critter they NEED. Zoom! They take off towards the neighbor’s house, who doesn’t like dogs. I yell “DOWN!” and my dog is conditioned to drop down and stay there until I say otherwise. Of course, that takes a fair amount of consistency, but it’s definitely achievable. Used to teach this is hot dogs and a collar (either corrective or a regular flat collar) – so the dog learns the initially behavior is greeted with food but once they have learned the command consequence comes in, showing them they have to. I teach both in my Two Week Program but often opt for just one of these with my One Week Program.
Recall: Come when called. I used food to show them when they get to me, it’s worth it. Once they are conditioned, I used a long line and maybe a prong collar to show them the consequence for not coming in my One Week Program. The dog is still rewarded with food when they return, to show that blowing off the command sucks but coming back to me rules! In my Two Week Program, we do this Off Leash with food and an E Collar. We don’t do Off Leash in the One Week Program (unless it’s the focus of the single week) because I like to have more time with the above training. This stuff is tough for them, and I have a small window of bonding to do with your four legged friend.
This may not seem like a vast list of tricks or complicated behaviors, but this is what we teach. I like to send my client dogs home being able to pass your basic Canine Good Citizen Test. Unless out rightly aggressive or unsound, every dog should be able to pass a CGC, and it’s a good thing to have. It also helps you as the handler/owner, you should be able to perform with your dog!
I hope you enjoyed, tune in on Monday 7-10-17 as we have an exciting announcement to make!
Hi everyone, I’m Amanda, Two Wheels Four Paws’ second trainer and HB’s other half. I realize I haven’t formally introduced myself, and I’d like to take the time to tell how I became affiliated with TWFP. Brace yourselves; I’m starting from the beginning! I had two dogs before starting my life with TWFP, Juno the Doberman and Spotted Dog the Catahoula x Border Collie.
I had been living in Woodbridge working in Fairfax when I met Spotted Dog (SD), he had bitten someone at a mere 14 weeks old and was facing possible euthanasia if his aggression was genetic. Being a Catahoula, this was likely. SD was 5 months old when I met him. Even though Juno and I were living in a group home with several other people, my landlord thought he was “small and adorable” so I could keep him. Life went on, he was so smart, willing to please, and damn cute. I wanted to try the ALL POSITIVE training route! Things were going great!!.. Until adolescence.. I was working in Doggy Daycare and everyone was pushing me to neuter him, his aggression would get better.. He wouldn’t mark in the house.. And Juno is intact so I figured altering him at 7 months would be our best option. WRONG! He got waaaayy worse! Through my own personal life turbulences, I ended up moving back down to my hometown of Fredericksburg, and SD became unmanageable. I was living in a one bedroom apartment with a family member, his dog, cat, and then my two dogs. It was pretty tight but we made it work.
At the Fredericksburg Pet Expo, I received a very vague dog trainer’s card from someone who had used him before. I stuck it in my pocket and continued at the Expo, working Spotted through distraction, and he was growling at people, dogs, and kids. About a month later, at home, he would jump on people asking for attention and then start snarling and growling at them. I decided to pick up the card and check out the website. Since I have read about and worked with dogs for years (click here to learn more about my experience) I am always skeptical of other trainers or peers in the dog world. I check out this very website, watched HB’s videos, and learned he was a Protection Dog Decoy.. I was in awe! Someone could help me identify SD’s issue AND help me along with Juno’s protection! Yes! His prices were also incredibly fair! I gave him a call and scheduled something for that coming Saturday to work with both of my dogs. Well, Friday morning came quickly and after I had taken the dogs out for a walk and was sitting down with my coffee when Spotted Dog lunged and grabbed my face. Shaken, and knowing how to stop a dog fight, I yanked the 11 month old 45 pound dog off of me. At 8:30 in the damn morning, I called HB like 3 or 4 times. I left a voicemail depicting the incident while crying. HB later called me back, agreed to meet me that evening, and push our session forward. Long story short, he deemed SD was an asshole with no boundaries and told me to correct the behavior, not ignore it. In my pursuit of All Positive, I lost one of the most important aspects of Dog Training: consequence. You can’t band-aid an issue like that, you have to confront it!
We had a very enjoyable first session, so we agreed to meet for protection work the next day. In the pouring rain, he worked my Doberman, and taught me how to catch Lucca on the sleeve. I honestly thought I was going down, the mud was slick, the dog is HUGE and powerful, and I am quite small. HB coached me through it, told me he was impressed with Miss Juno’s ability, and how I handled decoying. He asked me to take a picture with him. We did, and I had never felt so appreciated. I won’t lie, that evening I went to sleep thinking about that. We again, set up another session. This time it was to teach me how to decoy more, and I met Anna (Aw-Naw) the Malinois for the first time. At the time, she was the cutest 5 month old firecracker and belonged to a client. I had never really worked with a dog like her before, and won her over playing tug. I had chosen quite the serene place to train; it was a beautiful, quiet fall afternoon. We sat in the back of HB’s truck and chatted about all things working dog. He kept kissing Anna on the head, and I so badly wished I was that puppy. We trained again, this time he took me on business ventures with him. I assisted him in training sessions, and we got to know each other more and more. Later I hid for Twitch in her SAR training. I helped him with more sessions, and I fell asleep every night thinking about him and his life, wishing to be a part of it.
After one particular session, we were sitting at Loriella Park, and HB mentioned he needed a partner to start his working dog business. I agreed graciously, as I so badly wanted to spend more time with him doing something so close to my heart. I had become so confident, so sure of my abilities, and I could see the results with my dogs. He jokingly mentioned he once told his apprentice, Whitney, she could live in a van in his backyard and train dogs for him. I told him I would do it in an instant if my dogs could be with me. Later that week, HB assisted me in working on my parent’s farm while they were away. My mom had an accidental litter of Anatolian puppies, which we whelped together. We continued to teach and train, the following week we talked more about the role I would play within TWFP. We spent every day together, and a romance blossomed between us. We decided it would be most efficient for me to move in and start to apply my knowledge to training dogs. Within the first month I trained a dog of my own with happy results.
The following month, I had 3 dogs specifically in for MY Board and train. All the while we were traveling, doing In Home sessions all over Virginia. I hadn’t even known these places existed, and we were making money. We ate in a lot of cool places, saw a lot of beautiful sights, and to this day I could not tell you how many dogs I’ve trained. We’ve whelped our own litter of German Shepherd puppies (Twitch and Lucca babies!!), and he has “converted” me into the “elitist” GSD owner lifestyle. Yes, I don’t know if any dog will ever amount to my German Shepherd puppy. Whelping that litter, imprinting my puppy, Killian, and raising him to what he is now is my first endeavor I will have control of start-to-finish. While at the time of this post he is only 6 months old, I know he will be an unforgettable chapter in my life, in the TWFP growth, and our other endeavors. None of that would be possible if I didn’t keep HB’s card and check this website.
Together we have done so much in a short amount of time. We now have our own facility, 7 dogs (potentially 8 here soon..), a successful business, and an incredibly strong, passionate relationship- which will become a marriage this fall. I’m excited to share my own thoughts, my knowledge, and my experience with everyone who comes to our site. Thanks for reading!
We train for Perfection and achieve Excellence
So today I would like to talk about five crucial topics in dog training, Teaching, Training, Proofing, Correction and Reward. Three of these are stages of training and two of these are necessary in the process of training. Lets start off with the stages!
Dog Training is done in 3 stages; Teaching, which is the process of showing the dog what action you want them to do and this is done by luring the dog through this action. This is all reward and baby steps until they understand the action, no pressure and no distraction.
Step two is Training, they now know the action you want, now you stop luring and begin the training. This is where the verbal command and hand signals are solidified and you begin improving the action. You train them to perform quicker and more sharply, more consistently. You train for Perfection.
Then comes Proofing, step three, and now that the dog knows and can perform the action without hesitation we begin to lay on distraction. We start small, someone moving around you and the dog while you give commands and give corrections when the command isn’t followed and rewarding heavily when it is, and eventually stepping the distraction up and up until your performing in noisy parking lots. This concretes the whole process, the dog learns not only is it incredibly fun and rewarding to perform the commands and work with you, it’s equally unpleasant to do otherwise. This is where you achieve Excellence.
Now, Correction and Reward. Correction is often confused with other things, a lot of people don’t understand the line between correction and abuse and because of that, others have become very shy of any correction at all. Thus all Positive training. The important thing to remember about correction is that it must be timed exactly and given and forgiven quickly. The moment you carry on with correction beyond what is necessary to make a point, it’s no longer a correction. If it lasts for more than a couple seconds, you are no longer training. You give a correction immediately, and then you move on and soon thereafter you must find a reason to reward equally. All corrections must be followed by reward.
Onto Reward! Reward should only be given for an action or behavior you want the dog to perform. Never…I repeat, Never, reward the dog when they fail to perform an action or behave negatively. If you ask your dog to sit, they do not get a reward until they sit, and the moment you do reward a failed action all training goes out the window. Even if you have to baby them through the action, never reward a failed action…and always end on a success.
There is a balance between Reward and Correction, you must have both to be successful in training. Think of Reward as power, energy, or drive, and think of Correction as control. You can have all the Power, all the Energy, all the Drive, but without control its absolutely useless. Its unpredictable and unmanageable. Its like lightning, its amazing and powerful…and completely useless and dangerous, as opposed to the controlled electricity that powers your home. But too much control is just as bad…or even worse than too little control. It’s a balance, and its something you will be dealing with for the life of your dog.
Oh and one more thing, many people think that you reward until you have a “trained dog” and then stop. Well, there is no such thing as a “trained dog” they are in training their whole life, and you never stop rewarding unless you wish to stop receiving the obedience you worked for. You wouldn’t work if you stopped getting paid.
the Fredericksburg dog mart was a success, we had a lot of fun and met a lot of good people. Our demonstration didnt go so well, Twitch and I were on two separate pages and then the microphone went out on us! But we fun, folks seemed to enjoy it and they loved seeing and taking pictures of Twitch on the bike. We also forgot our banner, and our canopy had a few holes in it, but Twitch on the motorcycle seemed to bring in plenty of interest! We couldnt have gotten a better spot, second booth on the road in, everyone that came saw us as they drove in, and our neighbors were Dogs East Search and Rescue. They were excellent as were their dogs, and I spent alot of time talking with them. I hope to train with them here very soonly, some of you may know that I really want to get into K9 SAR. If you wish to know a bit more about them, their website is here.
I cant wait for our next event...dont have a next right now...because I love doing it, and demos, I have so much fun performing. Twitch and I are training hard for our next demo, we are going to do it right! In the mean time you may see us practicing in parking lots and parks around the area.