Learn More About Training at Happy Dog Acres

About Kelly

Kelly is a life-long animal lover and absolutely loves her job helping dogs and pet parents to achieve their real-life goals.  

She began her dog training journey at PetSmart where she worked for 6 years teaching life-stage classes, private lessons, trick & CGC courses, and more.  

In 2018, Kelly became certified in force-free games-based training by Absolute Dogs.  She is also certified through the AKC as a member of APDT to be a CGC and tricks evaluator.  

Intro video coming soon!

About Games-Based Training

There are many different "schools of thought" when it comes to dog training and the terms for them all can be quite confusing: fear-free, positive reinforcement, balanced training, clicker training, classical conditioning, dominance method, and more.  This is what makes it essential for you to be able to get to know your prospective trainer and their methods before allowing them to work with your dog.  Using the wrong type of training method for your dog can have lasting consequences!

Here at Happy Dog Acres we utilize games-based training.  Games-based training is a non-aversive, positive-reinforcement style of training which has been proven to help create real-life results for dogs.  Games-based training:

  • Is fun and engaging for your dog
  • Provides easy wins help jump-start learning and build confidence
  • Helps build a better bond between you and your pup
  • Results are more predictable than when aversive methods are used
  • Results are more transferrable to real-life problems than obedience training
  • Games work with your dog's brain to help condition your pet to look to you in new and exciting situations
  • Creates a happy and optimistic companion
  • Quick and easy to fit into your busy schedule

Tom and Lauren from Absolute Dogs are pioneers in Games-based training.  Take a look at what they have to say:

What to Expect from Games-Based Training

When training a pet to walk nicely on leash, many expect to be taught a specific way to hold the leash, the right tone of voice, the right commands, and the right movements to get your dog to walk next to you.  For some dogs there may be a magical combination that helps them learn what you are asking them to do.  For many dogs and their owners, however, it is much more complicated.  It is the same with teaching your dog other concepts as well.  At Happy Dog Acres we typically walk all students through a 4-part process to create a training plan that will lead to real success.


Assess your dog's strengths and weaknesses

Each dog has different struggles: some are too nervous, some are too excited, some spend too much time sniffing, some never want to stop running, some are great with other humans or dogs and some aren't.  Your pup's personality and problem behaviors will provide a roadmap to your training plan.


Employ management strategies

Management strategies are techniques you can use to prevent problem behaviors from happening.  Preventing your dog from rehearsing (practicing) these bad behaviors keeps them from being cemented into lifelong habits while you build the skills they need to teach them new habits.


Create a plan to help fulfill your pet's needs

Many behavioral issues arise when pet parents unknowingly fail to fulfill their dog's basic needs.  Did you know your pet should be sleeping between 12 and 20 hours a day?  A lack of rest, being unable to engage in breed-specific behaviors, or not having an outlet for natural behavior can cause a whole host of problems. 


Begin building your pets skills

Beyond obedience skills your pet has a deeper set of skills which influence their behavior: ability to be calm, body awareness, optimism, tolerance of frustration, and more.  Only once your pet has been set up for success through the previous steps can we begin making a games-based strategy to build the skills that will help them become the dog you dreamed of.  And have fun doing it!

What We Can Help With

This training method works for a wide variety of issues.  Some common problems we work through with dogs and their owners include:

  • Building a reliable recall
  • Reducing reactions to people and dogs 
  • Being able to relax at home or in public settings
  • Loose leash walking
  • Focusing on you in exciting environments

We Will Need Your Help

Have you ever heard the saying that dog training is training the people and not the dogs?  Although we have training options which do not require you to be present for all the training, dogs need clear feedback and consistency to make and retain desireable habits.  Expect to work hard at creating a good environment for learning, being consistent, and how to be clear and effective with your cues and treat delivery.  All of this is necessary for your pup to be able to learn and keep the skills you are looking for. 

About The Free Consultation

The Free Consultation is a scheduled 30-minute phone call where we can discuss your pup, your home environment, any problem behaviors, your training goals, and a potential training plan.  It's a great way to be able to get to know Kelly and ask all your questions without the commitment and cost of a full, in-person private training lesson.  Click the link below to view available call times and book one that works for you.