FAQS

General Questions

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards, and in our  facilities, we also accept cash and checks.

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes. We offer flexible packages to meet every need, and we also offer payment plans. Please reach out to find out more.

How long do we have access to the online resources?

If your program includes our online portal, the Canine Connection School, it’s yours to keep for as long as it exists.

Can you guarantee results?

We do not offer a traditional guarantee. Your dog is an individual, your situation is unique, and the real world contains variables outside of control and possibly even ability to predict – and all of this will impact your training. To give a guarantee would be to mislead you. 

Here is what we can promise: 

  • We will be honest and transparent with you about the likely outcome and timeframes in your very first session – and we’ll continue to be honest throughout our relationship.
  • We will deliver cutting-edge techniques based on the highest levels of current, scientifically-sound research. 
  • We will use only methods that are dog-friendly, maximally positive, minimally aversive, and pain-free. We will never ask you to do anything that might damage your relationship with your best friend.

Do you offer discounts?

We offer limited discounts for non-profit organizations, military, veterans, and first responders. Reach out to see if you might qualify.

Do you offer group classes? Board and train?

Yes. We offer group classes, group workshops and outings, day training options, and board and train options. For some eligible clients, we can also offer general boarding as well. Some of these are offered through our Greenville facility and some through our Asheville facility. Check out our services pages or reach out to learn what’s available in your area.

 

Do you offer service and therapy dog training?

Yes! We have robust programs for both. Extensive information about our Service Dog program can be found here. Reach out to learn about our customized options for Therapy Dog training.

Do you work with puppies? Disabled dogs? Elderly dogs? All breeds of dogs? Intense behavioral concerns?

Yes! We work with all dogs, and all needs. If, after your initial consultation, we do not feel that we can help you, we will let you know and will point you to the best resources available, including making a referral to other professionals when necessary. However, it is rare that this occurs, as we accept more than 99% of cases. 

We have a large team, and our team members are specialized in a wide range of areas. This allows us to provide high-quality, knowledgeable service to the vast majority of dogs. Regardless of the need, someone on our team likely has experience in that area.

I don’t live in your area. Can we still work together?

Absolutely! We have multiple trainers and consultants who are very experienced and skilled in virtual consultation and training. In fact, in many cases, it can even be more effective to work virtually, even if you are local. 

If you want more info about this, I explain it all here.

Can you help me find the right dog?

Yes! We love performing this service for clients. Getting a dog that is the best match for your family and needs can make life together so much easier in the long term – and finding that perfect fit is more complicated than it may at first seem. Not every dog is the right match for every family or situation, and that’s ok. We need to consider factors such as the dog’s history, breed, and individual personality to ensure the most harmonious, seamless fit possible, and we have trainers and consultants on staff who have done a great deal of training in how to assess all of this. This is true regardless of your future goals for your dog.

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Training Questions

Don’t you need to meet my dog and see the behavior in order to assess it?

No. We understand this may be counter-intuitive, but even if we see the behavior, we are only seeing one tiny slice of time, in one specific situation, and involving the consultant or trainer, which impacts everything. 

Plus, triggering the behavior in order to assess or train is unnecessary and unkind. This would be like assessing whether or not someone can swim by throwing them off a boat in the ocean and seeing what happens. Just like we don’t need to see that person drowning, we don’t need to see your dog respond to a trigger. 

 

Instead, what we need is to take a very thorough case history from you, while we observe your dog(s) as close to homeostasis as possible so that we can assess your dog’s general disposition, the relationship dynamics between you, and the potential for your dog’s specific nervous system to adapt and change.

I’m still not convinced. Does any form of virtual training REALLY work?

Look – I get it. The first time we did online behavior and training sessions, we were skeptical, too. However — we’ve done both online and in-person sessions for 20+ years, and have consistently seen BETTER results by leveraging online methods. 

YOU are the one we primarily need to train, because YOU are the one who is going to have to help and live with your dog on a day-to-day basis. Our experience and training allows us to quickly know what needs to be done and how to do it to get the best results. But since your dog doesn’t live with us, whether or not we personally can get your dog to do (or stop doing) something is immaterial. The question is, can YOU, with the right guidance? 

Virtual methods allow your dog to learn initially in the distraction-free privacy of your own home, and take things on the road into more demanding environments once you’ve mastered it there. This makes learning easier, faster, and more “sticky.”

Our approach is designed to minimize roadblocks and maximize learning. If you want more info about this, I explain it all here.

What methods do you use?

We are committed to prioritizing methods that support dogs’ emotional health and well-being first and foremost, especially for our behavior clients. We do not believe in suppressing behavior out of pain or fear. Instead, we dig deeper to find out the root cause of the behavior, and address that in a scientific and positive way that creates a better, more lasting outcome and a stronger relationship with your dog. 

We appreciate and respect that many of our clients have come from a wide range of training backgrounds and may be using a range of different methods with their dogs, and we make an effort to meet everyone where they are at to begin.

If you have concerns about what methods may be best for your specific dog or situation, our trainers and consultants will be happy to discuss this with you in-depth during your initial consultation, and help you decide on the best route forward.

What certifications will my trainer have?

At Canine Cohesion, we take professional education very seriously. The dog behavior industry is unfortunately an unregulated one, and that means anyone is free to call themselves a trainer or behaviorist, regardless of their background or education. Because of this, we believe it’s vital to enlist third-party certification from industry-leading bodies to validate our staff’s knowledge and expertise. 

The exact credentials your trainer will have will depend on their area of specialization. However, all of our staff are Certified Family Dog Mediators and hold a behavior or training-specific credential from the International Association of Animal Behavior or Certification Council of Pet Dog Trainers – at a minimum. Our staff have all pursued additional continuing professional education and certifications on top of this. 

If you’re curious about the specific credentials held by any of our staff, please visit our About Us page.

What does FDM stand for?

FDM is a training credential. It stands for Certified Family Dog Mediator. This is a cutting-edge way of understanding dog behavior based in applied ethology. 

There’s a growing, serious fundamental problem facing pet dogs and their people in the modern world – a complicated truth that no one really talks about.  Many “behavior problems” are just symptoms of this greater issue. You must discover and address why behavior is happening before you can ask how to change it, because you can’t solve a problem that you don’t understand. Family Dog Mediation is one tool that we leverage to get to the root of the issues and address behaviors where they begin – without relying on obedience training, and often without even really “training” at all. 

Family Dog Mediation takes into consideration the quality of life for members of a dog’s family, including both the dog and the people and other species that may be involved. This way, you can have confidence that the recommendations you’re being given are built around the life you live, not an unachievable “ideal” that isn’t rooted in reality.

How many sessions will it take to train my dog?

This depends on many things, including your dog’s history, learning style and speed, and environment, as well as your commitment to practicing and implementing our suggestions. Instead of thinking of building a relationship and meeting your dog’s needs as something that can be accomplished in a limited number of sessions, we prefer to look at it like we would look at working with a human therapist or tutor:  whether you’re trying to overcome anxiety or learn to play piano, these things take time and dedication.

 

Where do the training sessions take place?

This depends on what training program you’re doing with your dog. Sessions are generally in our facilities, in your home, or at field trip locations. 

We also have options for day training and board and train. Board and train can be a great option if you’re traveling and will be boarding your dog anyway, and day training is perfect if you want to keep your dog at home with you, but have a busy schedule and would like someone else to do the heavy lifting. 

How long are the sessions?

This depends on the type of session. Here are a few examples:

  • Initial Consultations (behavior):  90 minutes
  • Initial Consultations (puppies and life skills): 60 minutes
  • Skills Sessions:  45 minutes
  • Behavior Check-Ins (Senior Consultants):  30 minutes
  • Service Dog Public Access Sessions:  90 minutes
  • Group Classes: 60 minutes

How does the Initial Behavior Consult and Behavior Case Management system work?

You’ll start your behavior program with your Initial Consult. This is a 90 minute session with one of our two Training Directors/Senior Behavior Consultants. During this session, you’ll dive deep into your dog’s history, assess their behavioral health, and then explore diagnostics and prognosis. After this session, you’ll receive detailed, specific notes giving a summary and analysis of your dog’s case and the initial action steps your Case Manager recommends before you begin your program. You’ll also receive your dog’s personalized Canine Life Skills Assessment, our proprietary tool for measuring behavioral health. 

From there, the next step is a 15-minute meet-and-greet call with the first trainer or consultant that’s been assigned to your case, so that you can get to know them and ask any preliminary questions.

Next, you’ll dive into implementation sessions to set the behavior plan your Case Manager created for you into motion, under the direct, 1:1 guidance of your trainer. We call these “Skills” sessions, because you will be focusing on helping your dog build the life skills they need to thrive. Depending on your individual case, you might work with more than one trainer or consultant as you move forward, so that you are always receiving guidance from the professional who is most specialized in the area of your specific needs. 

 

Every 6-8 sessions, you’ll schedule a Check In Session with your Case Manager to assess your dog’s progress and evolve your behavior plan.

 

If you are also working with Dr. Hilliard, our Veterinary Behaviorist partner, your sessions with her will be included in your behavior plan and your Case Manager will work directly with Dr. Hilliard to ensure that you are receiving the best possible level of care.

How do Life Skills and Puppy Initial Consultations Work?

Our Life Skills and Puppy Initial Consultations are focused around two areas:  assessment of your dog’s current behavioral health and skillset, and what goals you have for them moving forward. These sessions last for approximately 60 minutes. Afterwards, you’ll receive brief notes outlining your plan, and you’ll also receive your dog’s personalized Canine Life Skills Assessment, our proprietary tool for measuring behavioral health.

What items do I need to prepare/ provide for the training?

Just your dog’s regular leash, collar, and/or harness, and a good supply of high-value treats! High value treats mean ones that your dog finds delicious and irresistible and will be motivated to work for. We usually recommend things like hot dogs, cheese, soft training treats, and other meats. Your trainer can help you determine what is best to use for your dog.

If your Case Manager or behavior consultant recommends it, we may suggest muzzle training for certain behavior cases. In these cases, we’ll help you find a muzzle and get started.

I have multiple dogs. Can you work with all of them?

Yes! For 1:1 training, we commonly work with multi-dog households, even when the dogs aren’t getting along. In fact, in most cases, we can do this within the same package and without having to schedule separate Initial Consultations. This saves you money, because the discounts will apply to any dog in your household. 

There are some exceptions for highly specific training (such as Service or Therapy Dog training), and this doesn’t apply to our group classes and workshops.