30 Years Serving the Great Lakes Region
Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

   Behavior Therapy   

 

We don’t live in the Detroit-metro area, but do see a number of...

We don’t live in the Detroit-metro area, but do see a number of out-of-state dogs on your website. We’ve tried everything local, how can you help?

We are proud of our reputation and have clients throughout Michigan, including the upper peninsula, and in more than 8 states, including: Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee,Virginia, and Wisconsin. We have also served families in Canada.

We begin with extensive communication with you and when deemed appropriate arrange a personal meeting, either by traveling to you, or by you bringing the animal to us. Some recommended programs may be implemented at home, by you, and monitored through ongoing communication with us. For dogs that require “inpatient” treatment, we adapt our protocols for transfer to home in a way that assures success. Some families spend a few days here with us before taking their dog home. Other cases are best served when we bring the dog home to you and spend the time necessary to assure success before our departure.

We work, can we get an evening or weekend appointment?

We understand the competing resources for your time. Our concern is that you have the time available to focus on the animal when we do meet. We see clients days and evenings and have limited Saturday availability. At least one adult living with the animal must be present.

Do you make use of medications?

Only a veterinarian can prescribe medications for your animal. However, we utilize a holistic scientific approach to assessing behavior and often consult with veterinarians when we believe that medical testing and treatment, including use of medication can benefit your animal. Fewer than 5% of the animals we see are candidates for drug therapy in treating behavior problems.

What if my pet doesn’t do the things I need help with during our...

What if my pet doesn’t do the things I need help with during our appointment?

Truthfully, we don’t always need to see the problematic behavior to understand it and to determine methodology for changing it. But we do need to see the animal and benefit from your input to develop the right plan for you and your pet.

How are you different from other in-home trainers who specialize...

How are you different from other in-home trainers who specialize in behavior problems?

We differ in the ability to accurately assess the underlying emotion and motivation affecting behavior, as well as the biologic processes controlling behavior. This academic interpretation allows us to more accurately predict outcomes and set more realistic expectations. Too, treatment protocols we recommend are more targeted and therefore more likely to be effective then typical training approaches.

What is the difference between training and behavior therapy?

Training teaches an animal to respond to “commands” like come, sit and stay. Behavior Therapy isolates the causes for inappropriate and undesirable behavior and effects the animal’s motivations and emotions that accompany behavior. For example: if your dog is mischievous or worse yet, is aggressive towards you or someone else, teaching it to come or sit on command, likely won’t inhibit the undesired behaviors. The two are discreet things.


 

   Off-Leash Training Programs   

 

We are a busy family, we love our dog, but we just don’t have the...

We are a busy family, we love our dog, but we just don’t have the time to get the results we’ve dreamed of. And, we are in Florida! Our niece told us that you can train our dog to be perfect for us. How can that be?

We are proud of our reputation and have clients throughout Michigan, including the upper peninsula, and in more than 8 states, including: Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee,Virginia, and Wisconsin. We have also served families in Canada.

We begin with extensive communication with you and when deemed appropriate arrange a personal meeting, either by traveling to you, or by you bringing the animal to us. At the completion of the training, we adapt our protocols for transfer to home in a way that assures success. Some families spend a few days here with us before taking their dog home. Other situations are best served when we bring the dog home to you and spend the time necessary to assure success before our departure.

After the training will my dog listen to everyone?

No. While the dog will be more likely to respond to others the training is only reliable and the dog is only expected to be responsive to those people included in the transition process to home.

What training methods do you use in the Off-Leash program?

Each animal is unique and our training is adapted to meet the capabilities and limitations of each dog that goes through our program. We use many academically proven and humane approaches to achieve the finest results for your companion. The exact process for your dog will be determined and discussed at your initial planning session and before you make any decisions to move forward.

If you do the training how can I expect my dog to listen to me?

Great question! If we only trained the dog we couldn’t expect it to listen to anyone but us. An essential part of the process is teaching you and the dog to work together. This is accomplished in just a few sessions at the end of the program and before discharge to home.

My city has a leash-law how does that affect the training?

Off-Leash training is a privilege and a responsibility. Having an Off-Leash trained dog gives you the freedom to enjoy the animal in any venue, leashed or not. Although your dog will be able to accompany you anywhere without being leashed for control, we urge everyone to act responsibly and obey community standards.

Won’t my dog feel abandoned by me or be angry when it first sees...

Won’t my dog feel abandoned by me or be angry when it first sees me again?

No. Once admitted into a training program your dog will be so busy adjusting, making new friends, and working that it won’t have time to feel abandoned. Too, dogs live in the moment – like it or not – they don’t think of us when we are away. Program Dog’s lives are enriched and their attitude changes so significantly that by the end of the program your dog will thank you!

My dog just needs a little training could you take him for just a...

My dog just needs a little training could you take him for just a few weeks?

We offer a turnkey training program that results in a minimum standard of behavior and attitude. Our Off-Leash training program is an investment in the animal and your long-term satisfaction. We want our finished dogs to give you a maximum return on your investment and that takes time. And, to protect our reputation we don’t want someone with a poorly or partially trained dog crediting us with that outcome.

If my dog is gone for training – 6 weeks or more – won’t it forget...

If my dog is gone for training – 6 weeks or more – won’t it forget me?

Dogs don’t forget anyone who had an emotional impact on them. So, regardless of the nature of your relationship with your dog prior to the training it will remember you. In more than 25 years we have never experienced a dog forgetting its family.

Can we visit while our dog is in training?

Unfortunately, your dog must complete its lessons before being reintroduced to its family. Visits are disruptive to the learning and can cause stress and confusion for the dog and family members. You will receive updates along the way to help the time go by quickly. Of course, you are welcome and encouraged to visit our facility before the animal is admitted into our program.

Why does my dog have to go away for the training?

Learning and behavior is highly ritualized in dogs. This means that they behave in context to their environment. Think about how differently you behave at home versus work or school, or in your religious community versus a party. By removing the dog from its familiar places and routines we can start fresh, accomplish the maximum, and then transfer the results to the old stomping grounds of your dog with little difficulty. Additionally, our system immerses your dog in new learning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until permanently discharged to home.


 

   Family Training Courses   

 

Our dog is a handful do you suggest Private Classes?

Private Classes best serve those whose lifestyles and schedules don’t conform to group schedules. Private classes follow a structured syllabus and cover the content of the corresponding group level. Whenever possible we encourage all dogs to attend group classes to benefit from training the dog in a more complex environment with strangers and other dogs. If you feel unsure or unsafe entering a group environment with your dog, consider a behavioral assessment before enrolling in a group class.

Our dog seems to know the basics can we start with your Level 2...

Our dog seems to know the basics can we start with your Level 2 course?

For safety and efficacy we require all dogs entering our group class program to start with our Level 1 Course regardless of previous training. Our methods are substantially different from most obedience classes and the inclusion of children combined with limited off-leash training necessitates the animals be known to us at all levels of group participation.

What if my dog is sick one week?

If the dog is showing any signs of possible illness we request that the dog stay home and that your family attend the lesson for content and participation with the group. Coughing, diarrhea, and lethargy are the top reasons to keep the dog at home. And, to see the veterinarian. Once healthy we look forward to seeing you and the dog back in class.

Do you use clicker training and what is that?

No. Ever heard of Pavlov’s Dog? In the early 1900s, Ivan Pavlov, a Russian scientist specializing in neuro-physiology discovered what we now call Classical Conditioning: the capacity for an organism to learn to elicit involuntary behavioral responses to a neutral stimulus. In his experiment Pavlov’s Dog naturally salivated upon the presentation of meat powder. By pairing the presentation of meat powder with a neutral sound, soon the neutral sound caused the dog to salivate without the meat powder present. Clicker training is basically treat based training, food reinforcement training, where the dog learns to appreciate the sound of the clicker almost as much as a treat. Instead, we teach the animal to feel good about responding to us without the use of a clicker or treat.

Why don’t you have a puppy kindergarten class?

Our Level 1 Course includes basic training and skills appropriate for dogs 8 weeks and older. Mixing ages and sizes in our group classes is developmentally helpful to proper socialization and play, and facilitates achieving reliable responses from your dog.

Can my dog and I visit a class before we enroll?

You are welcome to arrange a visit to one of our sessions to observe and ask questions of our staff. Dogs must be enrolled and have proper health screening prior to entering any of our facilities.

What if I miss a week?

Each session reviews previous lessons and includes new material. If you miss a week we will do our best to catch you up the following week. Since the course material and lessons are tailored to the individual group we are unable to give you the lesson ahead of time or by phone or email.

How many instructors are at each class?

Group classes have an instructor and at least one, but typically two, teaching assistants.

How many dogs are in each class?

Group class size is limited to 10 dogs. There is no limit to the number of family members attending the class and we encourage everyone to participate.


 

   Boarding & Grooming   

 

Can I arrange grooming only for my dog?

Grooming services are restricted to dogs boarding with us and for dogs participating in our Off-Leash training programs.

Do you offer daycare?

Yes, we offer day programs of care, that include basic and recurrent training. Day program dogs receive the same services as extended stay dogs, except we don’t turn down the sheets.

Can I send my dog’s bed and toys?

We provide all of the accessories your dog will need. We do not allow dogs to bring their own bedding and toys. This is to control “bullying” (dogs fighting over new possessions) and to assure health and safety in the kennel.

What if my dog was to get sick while staying with you?

Every dog in our care is monitored daily for signs and symptoms of illness or injury. In the very rare event that your dog shows signs of needing care it would be transferred to either a multi-specialty veterinary hospital or emergency center. We don’t wait for permission or to reach you, dogs needing care are taken to the veterinary hospital and you are notified as quickly as possible.

How can I be sure my dog won’t get kennel cough or some other...

How can I be sure my dog won’t get kennel cough or some other sickness?

All dogs staying with us are required to adhere to strict health requirements, which significantly reduces the chance of your dog being exposed to common contagious illnesses. “Kennel Cough” is a catch-all name for a variety of upper respiratory viral and bacterial infections that can be airborne or spread through saliva. Vaccinations are your first line of defense regardless of whether your dog stays at home, is only exposed to neighborhood dogs, or a busy kennel. Talk to your veterinarian for more specific strategies to protect your dog from these and other common illnesses affecting dogs.


 

   Containment Solutions   

 

Will this help protect our dog from the coyotes?

Coyotes are an increasing part of the urban environment as are a number of large predatory birds that can be a threat to small pets. Pet containment systems can be used to keep dogs away from the most vulnerable areas of some yards, but they are no substitute for proper supervision.

Aren’t some dogs just impossible to keep home?

No, but a few dogs are not candidates for pet containment systems. Our staff will assess your dog and make the right recommendation for you.

Is it safe to leave my dog outside when I am away from home?

No. While containment solutions and proper training provide confidence that your dog will stay within the boundaries, they cannot prevent people and animals from entering your yard and interacting with your dog. Containment solutions should always be used with some level of supervision.

How is this different from an Invisible Fence®?

Invisible Fence® is a brand name pet containment system. We utilize systems manufactured by a variety of companies giving us the flexibility to design and install the right solution for your situation.


 

   Referral Network   

 

What am I doing wrong? The Referral Network button doesn’t...

What am I doing wrong? The Referral Network button doesn’t seem to do much.

Check back soon! We are very excited in anticipation of announcing our Referral Network and expect it to be launched later this year.


 

   Members' Community   

 

What am I doing wrong? The Member’s Community button...

What am I doing wrong? The Member’s Community button doesn’t seem to do much.

Check back soon! We are very excited in anticipation of announcing our Member’s Community and expect it to be launched later this year. Look forward to a rich community of ideas and information based upon your participation.


 

   Events   

 

A friend attended your 3 Rs of Puppyhood: Raising, Rewarding...

A friend attended your 3 Rs of Puppyhood: Raising, Rewarding, and Reprimanding seminar and recommended it for us. How can I find more information?

Our 3 Rs seminar is a free, people-only, lecture and discussion. It is a free community service program offered at various locations throughout the Detroit-metro area and throughout the year. To learn more or for schedule information, call our office, check our Events Page, or subscribe to our Newsletter.


 

   Other   

 

What payment methods do you accept for your services?

We accept cash, check, Money Order, Visa, Master Card and American Express. Payment is expected at the time of service, discharge, enrollment, or participation in one of our programs.

I am having trouble viewing your site. Is there a preferred browser?

Our site undergoes rigorous testing and is fully compatible with Safari 6 and higher, Firefox version 4.6 and above, and Internet Explorer 9 and later browsers. Our site is XHTML 5 and CSS3 based and we do not utilize Flash, however, the world of the internet is not static and issues can develop. If you are having difficulty with any aspect of our site please help us by contacting our webmaster by email or telephone 313.882.6180.


 

Not finding your answer? Submit your question here.

 

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Animal Learning Systems, Inc.
Business Office

18540 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan 48236
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

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Animal Learning Systems, Inc.
Urban Dog Campus

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Rochester, Michigan 48307
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

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Bloomfield Hills MI 48304
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

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Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan 48236
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151

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Plymouth, Michigan 48170
phone: 313.882.6180
fax: 313.882.6151