Santa Cruz County
Dog Training & Puppy Classes
Helping people & dogs become better life partners.
Located in Santa Cruz County since 1999
8022 Soquel Dr
Aptos Village, CA, 95003
Living with Dogs specializes in group dog training classes. We offer a wide variety of puppy, obedience (life skills or family dog), sport, and semi-private group classes. We do not offer private lessons at this time, but we will refer you to trusted, certified trainers and behaviorists in the local area.
All training at Living with Dogs is “dog-friendly.” Our methods are based on behavioral science. Our training system utilizes proactive methods including management, supervision, positive reinforcement and time-outs. We train by relying on dogs’ natural tendency to seek rewards for their behavior.
The psychologist B. F. Skinner discovered that animals learn by repeating behaviors that are reinforcing. He called this “operant conditioning.” We train dogs to do the things we want by using positive rewards including food, praise, patting or play to reinforce their actions.
We work hard to minimize the use of verbal corrections and we never use physical corrections, or training tools and methods that are designed to cause pain, discomfort, fear, intimidation or coercion; these tools and methods are not allowed in our program. While these 'tools' may have formed the foundation of old-fashioned training programs you can probably still find today, they have no place in a modern dog training program.
Rather, we strengthen the behavior we want and if the dog engages in an unwanted behavior we withhold the reward, or give a gentle reminder to prompt the appropriate behavior.
Another scientist, Ivan Pavlov, found that dogs have emotional reactions to events in their worlds. These can be either positive or negative for the dog. Pavlov’s principle is called “classical conditioning”. Dogs make associations, so we help our dogs become "socialized", well-adjusted family members by making pleasant associations with people, places, handling, objects, events, etc.
Dogs, unlike people, rely mostly on their bodies to communicate with one another. Have you ever seen your dog “play bow,” by stretching forward on his front legs, saying “I’m friendly”? In teaching our dogs to perform behaviors such as “sit” or “down” we first use hand signals to communicate with the dogs in their native visual language, and later add human words as cues. We find that dogs learn more quickly when we talk to them in their own language using body language.
Finally, we conduct all of our training step-by-step to ensure that dogs learn each behavior thoroughly before moving on to more complicated commands. Dogs need to learn first in low-distraction environments before they can perform in more challenging conditions. So we provide you with concise instructions for “proofing” your dog’s performance so that you will be able to take her into the world with confidence!
"Art & science aren't enough, patience is the basic stuff of animal training." -- Konrad Lorenz
No ethical dog trainer or behaviorist guarantees success because dog training and behavior is much too complex and variable to do so and each person's commitment to training and behavior modification is different. It is unethical to make guarantees about behavior and dog training results and as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and member of the and Certification Council For Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) we have willingly pledged not to make such guarantees. We can help you train your dog and if you follow our training system and continue your dog's training, it will increase the prospects that you will have a dog that you can be proud of at home and out in public.
What we do guarantee is:
Our commitment to continuing education in the disciplines of canine ethology, cognitive ethology/psychology, training, evolution, physiology, neurobiology, sociology, learning theory and animal husbandry
Our pledge to dedicated customer service, professionalism, respect, courtesy, integrity and punctuality
That we treat our clients professionally, sincerely, respectfully and honestly
We treat our dog students compassionately and humanely
A commitment to excellence, expertise, education and safety
To provide you with the most up-to-date, scientific, force free, positive reinforcement dog training and behavior modification knowledge
To uphold to the highest ethical and moral standard and to stay true to our ideologies
Giving back to the community by volunteering promoting animal advocacy and providing community educational classes and seminars.
Our Training Philosophy
"Animals learn by repeating behaviors that are reinforcing."
"Be the cookie!"