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Sep. 2010 – Training Talk: The Care First Animal Hospital training program

Training Talk: Dog Trainer Mary Pollard discusses the Care First Animal Hospital training program.

  • What training options are available for my dog through Care First Animal Hospital?

    We have puppy and dog training classes which you attend with your dog held at the following sites: Glenwood, Grace Park, and Falls Pointe. The classes go from puppy through advanced training using a level system where you advance at your own rate. Our classes are continuous, so there is no waiting to get in. We offer small class sizes with instructors who each have over 8 years of teaching group classes. We also offer a Dayschool  program at the Oberlin and Glenwood facilities, where you drop your dog off with a trainer for the day, and they work on basic obedience, socialization, and playtime. This is a great way to train your dog, especially if you are in classes; it reinforces what we teach in class. It is also useful for special problems with dogs. In addition, we offer private lessons both at our facilities and in your home.

  • What training method do the Care First Animal Hospital trainers ascribe to? Why?

    All of our trainers use a method of positive reinforcement methods. We use a reward system and will include marker or clicker based training. Most of us have taught multiple ways throughout our careers, and the marker system is by far the most reliable for getting good, reliable behaviors from your dog.

  • I just got a puppy, when should I begin training?

    As soon as you bring a puppy into your home, you are training it! The sooner you get on board with reinforcing good behaviors, the better. We start our puppy classes at 8 weeks of age so that you can get a head start on potty training, socialization, nipping biting behaviors in the bud, and having fun with your dog.

  • Is it true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

    You can always teach a dog something it does not know. And if your dog needs to relearn something it has not done well in the past, that too can be accomplished.  Just remember, it takes a while to extinguish a bad habit, so it may take a little bit longer for your dog to relearn something it has been doing for a long time.

  • What commands should all dogs know and respond to?

    Come, lie down, stay. Those would be my most important ones. Most dogs sit no matter what, so I don’t think the emphasis needs to be on that, but if your dog won’t come to you when called, you can’t do much else with him.

  • My dog has the basic obedience down, what kind of special classes or training are available to him through Care First Animal Hospital programs?

    All of our instructors have competed in dog sports, and all have a general knowledge of the things you can go and do with your dog. This area is full of great opportunities to have fun with your dog in both a competitive and non competitive venue. In our advanced classes, we visit several of these things such as tricks, agility, therapy, rally obedience, and Canine Good Citizen. And if you are ready to move on to a facility or special trainer to learn more of a specific venue, we can help guide you in your endeavors.

  • If my dog has aggression issues, how can you help us?

    We can evaluate your dog and determine the severity of the aggression. We do have trainers on staff who can help you with training, and if it goes beyond our expertise, we have a behavorist/trainer who we do refer to so that you can get the help you need.

  • Anything else?

    The Care First Animal Hospital Dog Training program is the only program in the area where you can get your 8 week old puppy into for classes with no waiting and an educated staff of trainers who want to make your relationship with your dog a lasting one.

Mary Pollard is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Companion Animal Science. She has been training dogs since 1987, and has competed in obedience, conformation, agility and therapy classifications. She is a member of the National Association of Dog Obedience Trainers and past member of the Delta Society Pet Partners and Therapy Dogs International. To reach Mary you can email:, or call the Oberlin location where Mary frequently teaches day-schoolers at 919-832-3107.

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