Training Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know which is best for my dog, class training or private lessons?

Class training provides an excellent opportunity to socialize your dog while learning basic skills in a structured environment. More information on the different classes we offer can be found here. If our regular classes do not address all of your needs, your dog may benefit from private lessons. Private lessons are custom designed specifically for you and your dog and what you want to achieve. Our private lessons can also be geared toward teaching special skills, like conformation handling for German Shepherd Dogs and practice for Companion Dog titles. If you are still unsure, contact Colleen Smith at J.L. Legacy and ask about our Training Evaluation.

I would like to have private lessons. Should I have you come to my home or go to your facility?

The location of the training depends on the type of issues you want to work on with your dog. If you have a specific issue to address in your home (like greeting strangers or learning to wait at your door) then in-home lessons are appropriate. If you are interested in general obedience training (like walking on a leash, sitting or staying) then lessons at our facility may be a good fit for you. 

What kind of leash and collar do you recommend for training?

All dogs can start out with a flat collar, martingale collar or a chest harness and a six foot leash. If your dog needs additional reinforcement during training, we can work with a "Halti-lead style" head collar or a "gentle leader" collar. Some dogs respond best to a "training collar" (sometimes misleadingly referred to as a "choke chain") which, when used correctly, simulates a mother dog's correction to her pups. Owners that choose to use this type of collar will be shown the correct way to put on the collar and the correct way to administer a harmless correction. This collar is only used to get the dog's attention. It should never be used as a punishment or as a noose during correction. We NEVER advocate the use of "E" collars or Tritronic collars for regular obedience training. Please keep in mind that for the CGC Test and STAR Puppy Test the only collars permitted are flat, martingale, a harness or training collars.

Do I need special treats for training?

We recommend that you use a small, easily consumed treat that is only used during your training sessions. Discover what treat particularly motivates your dog and by using it exclusively during training it becomes a "high value" treat that will motivate your dog even more.

How many lessons will I need to train my dog?

No trainer can honestly tell you how many lessons it will take for you to train your dog. Training depends on the temperament of the dog, the enthusiasm and commitment of the owner, the consistency of the lessons and what level of obedience you expect from your dog. For example, it may take longer to train a dog for precise obedience competition as opposed to teaching a dog to sit when he comes to you. Whether it takes one lesson or several, J.L. Legacy can work with you to determine the best method and duration of training for success. Our goal is to empower you with the tools you need to maintain the level of behavior you expect from your dog.

I would like to train my large breed dog to guard my family and property. Can you teach him how to do that?

We do not offer training for protection or Schutzhund work (of which only one part is geared toward protection). Our training philosophy is geared toward teaching your dog to be a well-behaved and valued member of your family. Whether your dog is a Chihuahua or a Great Dane, the dog that is well trained and a member of your family will warn you of strangers and protect you regardless of it's training or size.

My dog came from a rescue shelter and has behavior problems. Can you help us?

Absolutely! Whether it is a requirement of adopting your dog or if you want to correct some bad habits, we can tailor training for you. Private lessons can address specific behaviors and group classes are an excellent opportunity to socialize your dog. To determine which type of training is right for you, consider a scheduling a training evaluation with Colleen Smith by calling 540-872-4123. Colleen has worked with the the Humane Society of Louisa and has trained many dogs to help ease their transition to their forever homes, so she is familiar with the specific needs of rescue dogs.

I have heard about "clicker training". Do you have a class for that?

Currently we do not offer a class specifically geared toward clicker training. During class or in a private lesson, we can tailor your participation to include clickers, hand signals or any prompt of your choice. If you want to include a specific component in your training not previously mentioned, please contact us so we can work with you to include it in your training session.

I have an older dog who has developed some bad habits. Can you help us with that?

You can teach an old dog new tricks! Whether your dog previously showed good behavior or if this is a new problem, we can help. First, we recommend that you visit your veterinarian to ensure that the bad behavior is not caused by an underlying medical problem. For example, your dog may not be responding to your commands because of a hearing problem, or they may growl at you because of a vision problem. Once medical problems have been ruled out, we suggest you contact Colleen Smith at 540-872-4123 to inquire about a training evaluation to determine the best training fit for you and your dog.

At what age should I begin to train my puppy?

Most people should receive their new puppy no earlier than 8 weeks old and plan for his or her arrival by puppy proofing their home. Informal training can begin the moment the puppy comes home. This time should be spent defining boundaries, potty training, fostering good sleeping habits and most importantly forming a loving bond with your dog. Formal training can begin at around 14 to 16 weeks, after your puppy has finished receiving their first vaccines. A puppy kindergarten class or a STAR Puppy class (as is offered at J.L. Legacy) is a great way to start. It encourages socialization and teamwork, and you may discover your dog has a particular aptitude for dog sports, like agility, rally or obedience!

My dog is exhibited in Conformation events. Can I still take an obedience class?

Even show dogs need to have good manners! We can tailor your participation in class to accommodate you and your dog. For example, you can stack your dog during the "stand for exam" lesson or place them on a table and we can practice going over your dog as a judge would. We can also avoid encouraging your dog to sit during the class. If there are other special requests to help your dog's show career, please let us know. We even encourage Owner/Handlers to use our outdoor training ring to "play dog show" when the weather permits! 

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"To err is human; to forgive canine." -  Anonymous                   "Do not make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans or they will treat you like dogs." - Martha Scott                    "I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive." -  Gilda Radner                      "A person who has never owned a dog has missed a wonderful part of life." - Bob Barker                      "A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk." - O.A. Battista                      "The dog represents all that is best in man." - Etienne Charlet                       "Dogs are, after all, man's best friend. The least we can do is try to understand them a little better." - Nicholas Dodman