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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What areas do you serve?
    I offer online training anywhere in the world! I have been consulting remotely since 2017 and it has only become easier for everybody in the last couple of years. Most of my clients are in California, but I have students in New England, Georgia, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, and as far away as Mexico and Ukraine! Remote training has been standard for many years in separation anxiety, one of my specialties. I offer very limited in-person services for established clients only.
  • How does remote behavior consulting work? Don't you need to see my dog in-person to help?
    You might feel a bit apprehensive about the idea of online/remote dog training or behavior consulting and whether it's the right fit for your family. Try not to worry! Lots of my clients felt this way before working with HOLDENK9, like E. and Maki, who wrote, "I loved your class. Thank you so much for all of the information both in class and in your precious handouts. It was so much information. I actually felt foolish for registering for an online dog trainer class. This class was so worth it and has literally really moved me forward in my relationship with Maki. I love your style and your thorough knowledge of dog behavior. Thank you Holden." WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IN-PERSON & ONLINE CONSULTATIONS? - You can hear your instructor, Holden! Barking will be limited and the atmosphere is as relaxed as stress-free as possible for both you and your dog. This is especially important in the beginning as we set the stage for your dog's success. - More media! You get to see TONS of videos and examples: progress demonstrations, what to do in sticky scenarios, step-by-step examples and more. We can repeat videos and play in slo-mo to zero in on important details. You can review homework videos as many times as you like! - Feedback both in & outside of sessions. I will help you see what you're already doing right and help you course-correct by reviewing submitted videos that you can take whenever is convenient for you and your dog. We can learn about YOUR dog's individual body language and see things on video that may have been missed in the moment. This all aids in progress, and can even strengthen the bond you have with your dog. - My online students make faster and more efficient progress because they are able to focus better without a stranger in their familiar environment. While I realize that you will eventually be taking your training "on the road" and in real-life scenarios (outdoors, around other dogs, around strangers & guests, etc.), we need to build solid foundations, reduce risk, and lower stress at the beginning. We don't hand toddlers their first violin in a packed symphony hall, right? - Especially for reactive, fearful, anxious or aggressive behavior, every experience matters. A human therapist doesn't need to see their patient having a panic attack in order to help. You know your dog and I value your insight and experiences. As a qualified behavior consultant with over a decade of experience, I do not need to stress your dog in order to understand their struggles. And YOU can gain the skills and confidence to change your dog's behavior with the right support! Still not sure? Read "What are HOLDENK9 clients saying?" in this FAQ page for additional unsolicited reviews. Or schedule a Mini Session to get to know me before committing a full package.
  • What is the consultation process?
    After you schedule, you receive a Zoom link and prep instructions prior to your appointment. You fill out an intake questionnaire, services agreement, and you are welcome to submit any video you might have of your dog. (Please send videos at least 72 hours prior to our appointment. And please do not stress your dog intentionally just to get it on video!) Make sure your device (with a camera) is fully charged and you have good WiFi on consultation day. In our initial consultation, we'll discuss your dog(s) and fill in any information gaps. I may ask to see a virtual tour of the parts of your home where your dog spends time (this is especially helpful in separation anxiety training). Please don’t worry about cleaning up, LOL, I live with dogs too! We may watch video demonstrations and see what a typical training log looks like for your dog’s issue(s). And you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions. In manners sessions we get right to work, and I’ll coach you through live skill practice (have lots of snacks ready!) In more complex cases, we will practice in follow-up sessions. You do not need a ton of space, I’ve had students living on sailboats, in tiny homes and on-the-road! All you need is a reliable WiFi connection and a device with a camera. After our consultation or session, you’ll get clear and simple homework steps, video demos and you’ll practice on your own. I will help you through any snags, regressions or plateaus and prepare you for our next meeting. I might ask you to fill out a log, or send me short videos. My ultimate goal is to give you the tools to continue to improve your dog’s behavior, welfare and bond with you for a lifetime of happy trails. Learning is a lifelong process, and so is training. I pride myself on long-term relationships with my clients, so I’m here for you whether it’s a week, a month, or years later!
  • How do I know if I need a fear and aggression consultation or just manners training?
    If you’re wondering what service is right for you, or want to see if we are a good fit, consider a 30-minute Mini Session to get you pointed in the right direction.
  • How much does training cost?
    It depends on your needs and goals. All of my package pricing is listed at the bottom of each service page.
  • Do you provide discounts?
    Yes, discounts are provided for those who’ve already attended one of Holden’s online classes or seminars, or for those from approved referral sources (tell us who sent you!)
  • What services do you provide for shelter and rescue organizations, daycares and boarding facilities?
    I currently consult for organizations on shelter dog playgroups, managing multiple-dog interactions at daycare and difficult/complex cases. I have given multiple conference webinars and can create educational presentations specifically for your organization. Contact me for more information.
  • Are there cases you don’t take?
    I specialize in behavior modification of fear and aggression, reactivity, dog-dog social behavior, separation anxiety and puppy socialization. I do not train agility, bite sports, personal protection dogs, herding sports, nosework, tracking, or pulling sports outside of canicross. I do train retrieve, recall, heel, stay, and firearm desensitization (“gun-breaking”) for bird dogs. My Service Dog training experience is for handlers with psychiatric disabilities and a few physical disabilities alleviated by light mobility tasks such as bracing and retrieving. I do not train guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs or allergen alert dogs.
  • I want to learn how to run with my dog (CaniX or Canicross)!
    Welcome to the sport! I am merely an amateur canicross runner, but I am happy to get you started with gear recommendations, cue training (gee, haw, whoa, on by, etc.), safety considerations, and we’ll see if there are races or groups in your area. Sign up for an Initial Manners Consult.
  • Do you register Service Dogs?
    I have trained (and assisted owner-training of) dozens of Service Dogs for military veterans and those with psychiatric disabilities in the United States. There is no required registration for Service Dogs in the U.S. I will not sign-off on FAA paperwork for your dog to fly without recorded achievement of the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen and Urban Canine Good Citizen tests, as well as evidence of excellence in public access. I am happy to evaluate your dog and prepare you for these achievements. Please watch my recent webinar on Service Dogs for more information and contact me if you are interested in Service Dog training. I do not train guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs or allergen alert dogs. I do not train tethering, tracking, or blocking tasks for handlers with autism.
  • What methods do you use?
    I am a rewards-based trainer who uses primarily positive reinforcement (which can be many things and is decided by the dog!) As a behavior specialist I often use: Management - leashes, fences, crates and gates Desensitization - gradual and therapeutic exposure Classical & counter-conditioning - creating good associations In some cases I may use: Extinction - allowing behavior to extinguish itself because it no longer works for the dog Negative punishment - removing access to reinforcement to reduce behavior I never intentionally use negative reinforcement or positive punishment. I will never recommend training tools that intentionally hurt, startle, scare, annoy or frustrate your dog. I do not use e-collars, prong collars or choke collars in training. Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s position statement on humane dog training.
  • What are HoldenK9 clients saying? (Reviews)
    "Working with Holden was super helpful. Ruby is a complicated dog and figuring out how best to help her has been overwhelming at time. Holden helped us set goals and understand realistic timelines for progress. She was always super positive and encouraged us that we were doing all the right things, which meant a lot since we felt very isolated and alone in our struggles at times. We liked that Holden gave us specific tasks to work on and easy ways to track what we were doing. She also wrote reports that we could share with our vet or other relevant folks. Ruby is becoming so much more calm and at ease and it makes us so happy to see her enjoy life!" - S., S. and Ruby "We love working with you Holden! Grayson is a handful -- whip smart, full of energy, loving, and somewhat insecure at times. You not only helped us with the technical setting of goals around things WE wanted to work on, you worked with us to understand where Grayson was coming from and his potential mindset in various situations. He made rapid progress with your logical approach to giving incentives and working within his zone of proximal development. Each step you gave us was a reasonable scaffold towards being able to stay on the mat regardless of distractions, come when the whistle was blown, or handle his emotions when dogs are around that he didn't really like. With each step, we understood Grayson more, and he trusted us more. The results were incredible! Finally, your data logging spreadsheets facilitated us working as a team, assessing his performance and setting next steps. All in all, thank you! We are so grateful for your service and are so very happy with Grayson's training! We look forward to continuing the journey together!" - J., J. and Grayson "Just wanted to let you know we had a breakthrough today. Even though I thought I was going at her pace and not rushing her, I realized that I in fact was, and for the 1st time I was in the mindset of you take all the time you need, I am not in a hurry. Thank you so much again -- really appreciated your patience, instruction and tips!" - J. and Blue "Thank you so much Holden! And thank you again for the classes, they were fantastic. We kept up with the training and now Luna is so well behaved and loves running off leash at nearby beaches -- the recall training lessons were super helpful!" - L. and Luna "We have learned so much and it's really made a difference in what we feel like we can do with Billie in our house and out in the world. She's much happier and we're happier too! Thank you again! We're in a much better spot than when we started and I'll certainly be in touch if we need more help!" - B. and Billie "We learned so much. Super clear graphics and excellent video examples of 'good' play. We are avid dog park goers and we felt like everyone who goes to a dog park needs to take Holden's class. Thanks so much Holden, for an excellent class." - S. and Rosie "Omelette is doing great around new dogs and we're so thankful for your help in getting her to this point!" - E. and Omelette "It's been very helpful -- I really didn't know what to expect and it has been very eye opening in terms of tuning into and understanding Pippin's behavior and how to help her with different fears. You are so skilled and knowledgable -- it's been a great experience!" - C. and Pippin
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