Frequently Asked Questions

  

  

General Questions

  

What should I look for in a good trainer and a training program?

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) sets the standards for professional dog training and they say it best! To see what APDT recommends, click here.

How is a puppy parenting center different from a general dog training company?

Wonder Puppy’s puppy parenting center specializes in puppy-hood, or dogs under the age of two. By specializing in puppy-hood, Wonder Puppy can focus on the needs of puppy parents and offer more early learning services than the average dog training center. We are also well equipped with all of the trainer-recommended tools that a new puppy parent will need. Wonder Puppy is a one-stop-shop for everything that is needed before and after you get your puppy!

What makes Wonder Puppy's trainers and programs the best choice for me and my puppy?

Qualified Trainers
Wonder Puppy works with Certified Professional Dog Trainers who are Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KAs) and the Certification Council of Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT). All of our trainers are all members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), the world’s largest international dog training association. The APDT is an advocate for trainer continued education and the use of ethical training techniques and business practices.

Small Class Sizes
Wonder Puppy is dedicated to giving you personal attention, even in group classes! Our foundational classes allow only 4-5 pups! This means that your trainer will have more time to help you. This also makes the environment less stressful and more conducive for learning!

Reward-based, Leading Edge Methods
We use only gentle techniques and tools and never use mental or physical intimidation. The only type of punishment we will teach is a neutral “time-out.” At Wonder Puppy, we will show you how your leadership can be established through bonding with your puppy, setting consistent boundaries, and reward-based training.

Our trainers will teach you and your puppy using leading edge training methods, as our trainers are committed to continuing their education and updating their methods to keep up with the latest in scientific research.

Flexible School Options
Wonder Puppy offers a variety of training service options! We offer group classes, private tutoring with your dog, boarding school for day or overnight training options... The list goes on for the many service we provide!

Puppy Supply Store
Wonder Puppy has all of the trainer-recommended puppy products that you will need before and after getting your puppy. If you would like to tour our training facility & retail store, please call and we'd be happy to organize a time with you to drop in and check us out!

How early should I start socializing and training my puppy?

As soon as you bring your puppy home. The biggest impact you will ever make on your puppy is before 16 weeks of age, during the Imprinting Period. It is the time to carefully introduce your puppy to the world and show her that it is a safe and fun place to live. For puppies who have not completed all of their vaccinations, we recommend that you take your puppy to lots of people places. Once your puppy is 8 weeks of age, we recommend attending WP's trainer-led playgroups to meet other healthy puppies in a safe and clean environment. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) believes there is great importance on early socialization and that it is safe to begin early. Please read their article here: Puppy Socialization Position Statement 

What are Wonder Puppy's vaccination requirements & recommendations?

We at WP require puppies to have at least one set of puppy vaccinations (DA/HPP) administered by a licensed veterinarian 7 days before they enter our facility.

We also recommend fecal Giardia testing. Bordetella and/or Lepto, per vet recommendation.

In the case that your puppy has been under-vaccinated, is sick, or you are simply uncomfortable with exposing your puppy to other dogs at such a young age, we can make arrangements for private training sessions to get you and your puppy started off on the right paw. In any case, you should not wait to start socialization and training — we will find a way that works for you and your comfort level!

What kind of training methods and tools do you use?

There are many training methods that work. Our methods are always carefully chosen to ensure that they are safe, fun and effective for long-term training success. We use only gentle techniques and tools and never resort to mental or physical intimidation (ie no chains, squirt bottles, shaker cans, jerking, physical force, etc). The only punishment we will teach is a neutral “time-out.”

At Wonder Puppy, we can show you how to establish your leadership role through bonding with your puppy, setting consistent boundaries, and reward-based training. We will show you how to use management to prevent “bad” puppy habits and how to clicker train to encourage “good” puppy habits. Wonder Puppy can help you and your puppy learn through success!

I don't want my puppy to perform only when I have a treat... will that be a problem with your methods?

No! This is one of the big differences between WP and other positive reinforcment training programs! For all of our basic skills, we use methods where the behavior happens before indication of earning a reward. As your puppy’s learning foundation becomes solid, we will also take care to step you through the process of fading out your management and training tools.

How can I make sure that my puppy doesn't become overweight from eating lots of extra food treats? 

We recommend that you decrease regular daily meals by the amount you are substituting with training foods, and only use natural, healthy treats. In fact, most of the treats we use and recommend are actually holistic types of dog food.

What is clicker training?

Clicker Training is a type of positive reinforcement dog training that uses sound (a click) to instantly tell a dog when he/she does something right.  When the “click!” sound is consistently followed by food, it becomes a meaningful to the dog; the dog learns, “when I hear the “click!” there is a treat on the way!” In turn, this provides you with an effective communication tool to instantly mark good behavior. In a short time, your dog’s brain will recognize the muscles that are acting at the moment the click happens. Your dog will begin to enthusiastically repeat the behavior in hopes of more clicks and treats.  This is the building of good habits!

Does the clicker tell my puppy when I want him/her to do something?
Clicking doesn't tell your puppy when to perform a behavior – that is what a cue/command does. The click only “marks” a behavior, conveying to your dog that, “Yes! That is a good behavior,” at the exact moment it happens so that your puppy knows exactly what is being rewarded. In other words, the click doesn't cause the behavior; the behavior causes the click.  Once your dog is performing a behavior reliably, you would then pair a verbal cue or a hand signal with the behavior so that you can communicate when you want the behavior.

Why click? Why is it better than using my voice?
The click is useful because it is…

  • Precise: marks the exact moment the dog performs a behavior you like

  • Fast: processes instantly (faster than words)

  • Unique: only heard when something good is about to happen

  • Consistent: always sounds the same

  • Safe and Forgiving of Mistakes: won’t set back your training or damage your relationship with your dog.

  • Creates a “bridge” of time for reward delivery: the marker gives you time so that you don’t have to rush to get the treat to your puppy.

  • Concentrates on focus, enthusiasm, and creativity: Clicker Training creates a safe, nurturing learning environment with clear communication that will bring out the best in your puppy.

 

I don’t want to have to carry a clicker around with me all of the time. Will I always need to have it with me?
No! The clicker is simply a communication tool that is used when you are working on new skills or spiffing up old ones. If you don’t have it on your when you are working with your puppy, you can still use your voice (“Yes!”) to mark good behavior. We also work with you to fade out the tools of treats & the clicker in our signature training series.

What puppy training books and start-up products do you recommend?

For recommended training & pet care books, DVDs, and products, click here.

Can adult dogs come to Wonder Puppy?

Yes—It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks! Although we specialize in puppy-hood, there are many great benefits to practicing foundation skills with your older dog and we would love to have you join us! We welcome dogs of all ages and stages.

What type of training services do you offer, and how do I know which one is best for me and my puppy?

Wonder Puppy offers a variety of training options! You can click on each of the services below for more details:

Public School         |           Private School       

Here is how you can determine which type of service is best for your situation…

Public School might be a good choice, if you want to:

  • Train in a group setting.

  • Attend regularly scheduled classes.

  • Budget your money spent on training.

  • Expose your healthy, people-friendly, dog-friendly pup to a new environment, new people, and new furry friends!

 

Private School might be a good choice, if you want to:

  • Work one-on-one with a trainer.

  • Tailor the training completely to the needs of you and your puppy.

  • Have flexibility in your training schedule.

  • Train in your own home.

  • Work on your dog's special needs or adjust for his/her health issues.

  • Respect your dog's emotional over-reactivity (ie barky; overly-hyper; overly-shy; overly-stressed) and work on those issues within your dog's abilities - training at his/her own pace.

How do I sign up for Private School?

We offer a variety of services for Private School. Please visit our Private School page to learn more about each service.

You may request a session by using the drop-down menu under the service you desire, clicking the button that says "Request a Session," and filling out the form. Once you have filled out the request form, you will receive an email from us asking you to register with our site so we can get to know you and your pup better. When we have received your request and your registration, a trainer will contact you within 48 hours to schedule a training session. Our trainers will match your schedule and can meet at a variety of locations so as to better address any concerns you have with you pup, be they crowds, their feline sibling, or crate training!

 

Group Class Questions

   

Is it safe to bring my puppy to your facility if his/her puppy vaccination series has not been completed?

Yes! Although your puppy's health is vulnerable at a young age, more dogs die from lack of early socialization than from disease.  You just need to be discerning about where and how you socialize.  Please read what The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) has to say about the safety and importance of early socialization: Puppy Socialization Position Statement 

At Wonder Puppy, we sanitize and clean to the satisfaction of veterinarians. To make our facility as safe as possible for you and your puppy, we:

  • Sanitize the floors daily with a vet-approved disinfectant - Lemon Green by Flo-Kem. 

  • Provide "potty pads" for very young or tiny puppies to place on the ground outside of the facility during potty breaks.

  • Require that only healthy and parasite-free dogs are allowed in WP - dogs that have been lethargic, coughing, vomiting, or had diarrhea within 24 hours, are not allowed in the facility until cleared by a veterinarian

How do I sign up for playgroups?

Click here to enroll in playgroups. 


We will need 72 hours to verify vaccinations with your vet prior to your attendance. If you have signed up 72 hours prior to Playgroups, come on in and you are all set! We will only call you if we have questions or concerns regarding vaccinations. If you have signed up for Playgroups within 72 hours of your first attendance, please bring your vaccination records with you.

To learn more about Playgroups, please visit our WoGo Playgroup page!

What do I need to bring to playgroups or group class?

  • Leash 6ft, non-rectractable leash

  • Harness and/or collar no chains or prongs

  • Treat Pouch and Treats - a variety of high value*, pea-sized yummies

  • Edible Chew Stick and/or Stuffed Kong

  • Vaccination & Giardia fecal test results if it is your first Playgroups & you registered just 48 hours prior to Playgroups,  or you did not enroll online

  • Your semi-exercised, semi-hungry & well-pottied pup! Additional items for Group Class only...

  • Toy - squeaky toy and tug toy

  • Clicker (received at the first Group Class! - only needed for Group Class, not Playgroups)

  • Your trainer will also email 48 hours prior to the course to send you more info on your Group Class!


* In terms of "treats," we recommend Stella & Chewy (example: Duck, Duck Goose formula) or Ziwi Peak (example: Venison formula) dehydrated meals. Please read their ingredient list to give you a better idea of what will really get your puppy focused and motivated in a distracting environment! If you feel stuck, we sell a variety of food and can offer some recommendations. We also recommend some great, quality pet food stores in each area of Portland, so you may find the one most convenient for you & your pup!

What skills do we learn in each group class level?

In “Good Puppy” Class, you will learn…
Basic Skills - name recognition, sit, down, stay, gentle, drop it, take it, come, walk with me, and go to your bed, and more!
Social Skills - self-confidence around: strangers, other dogs, new sites, and sounds; increasing comfort with being left alone and being handled; softening the mouth/bite and giving up valuable resources. 

In "Great Puppy" Class, you will learn...
How to build on those basic skills and how to apply them to real life situations.
Creating impulse control for adolescent puppies 
Prep for the Canine Good Citizen test in Level 3 (Wonder Puppy Course)

In "Wonder Puppy" Class, you will learn...
How to get your pup's focus when you are outdoors.
How to fade out markers ("click" or "yes!") and rewards.
Prep for the Canine Good Citizen Test at the end of the course.

Can my adult dog take good puppy?

Yes! Dogs of any age can take our Good Puppy course. The oldest pup to graduate Good Puppy was 12 years young! Taking Good Puppy with an adult dog is a great way to brush up your basic skills skills and we also often have rescue pups and their people join our classes for bonding and working towards building a healthy relationship.

How long is a group course?

Good Puppy - 10 weeks
Great Puppy - 10 weeks
Wonder Puppy - 8 weeks

Note - Each course meets once per week. You attend at the same time and day each week.

What is your class size?

Wonder Puppy is dedicated to giving you personal attention, even in group classes. Our foundation classes allow only 4-5 pups! This means that your trainer will have more time to help you. This also makes the environment less stressful and more conducive to learning!

What if I have to miss one or two classes?

It's ideal to attend all of the training sessions, but sometimes it's just not possible! Wonder Puppy can provide you with a trainer-outlined handout for that week & you will already have the homework prior to the class. We offer you the following options should you miss a class:

  • Auditing the missed class in another training class (observe withOUT your pup)

  • Making up the missed class in a private make up session. $40 per hour at/near WP or $110 per hour in home

That way you can work at home with your pup and you will also get the opportunity to practice the previous week's materials in the following weeks class during review! 

That being said, if you know your schedule is really varied, you may want to schedule the course in private so it can be tailored at your convenience. Or, if you know you are going to miss multiple sessions and you can't audit or schedule a private session, it's probably best to register in a different class. 

What days are you closed?

Wonder Puppy will be closed for services on the following holidays:

  • Memorial Day Weekend  (last Sat thru Mon in May)

  • Independence Day (July 4)

  • Labor Day (first Mon in Sept)

  • Thanksgiving Weekend (last Thur thru Sat in Nov)

  • Winter Break (Dec 24 - Jan 1)

 

Can I bring other members of the household to class, too?

You bet - We love having well-behaved kids come to class, and having whole family involved!*

In class we will have a "Puppy Class/Playgroup Promise" with rules for kids and parents to sign to help ensure the experience is safe and positive for all. When children work with the pups, we ask for calmness, patience, taking turns, and recommend bringing a book, game, or movie for down time. 

*If your children are under age 6, we ask that  two adults attend - one parent for the four legged and one parent for the two leggeds.

How do I sign up for group classes?

Click here!

What if none of the classes fit my schedule?

We recommend choosing the next class that works best for your schedule, even if it begins a month later! This is because you can...

  1. Attend ANY of the first-day Good Puppy classes on our schedule as soon as you want! The first class is without puppies and helps you to get started at home as soon as possible. If there is one that works for your schedule, please just let us know and we can notify the trainer you will be attending that class.

  2. Enroll in our award-winning WoGo Playgroups right away for essential early socialization! These classes are drop-in after the first session, and offered three days per week. Playgroups are primarily for socializing your puppy to other puppies, and also includes training tips and socialization exercises for grooming, handling, sights, sounds, softening the mouth, and more! If you'd like to enroll, click here.

  3. You can also request a private session in Private School for personal attention tailored to your needs and schedule. (note - We also can cover our entire Group Class series in Private School sessions, if you prefer)

Our schedule is created by our trainers and we post classes about two months in advance. If a class does not work for you at this time, then please keep your eye on the site and we will update them soon. Our classes do fill up quickly due to our small class size, so once you find a class that works, please sign up soon as you can!

What if I have to drop my class? (Wonder Puppy's cancellation & credit policy)

  • Refunds for courses will be granted until 72 hours before start of service.

  • Refunds for classes (ie WoGo Socialization Classes) will be granted until 24 hours before start of service. 

May I observe a group class to see if it is right for me? 

Absolutely! We recommend attending a playgroup or observing a group class before making any training commitment. We want to make sure that you are where you need to be. Please contact us at info@wonder-puppy.comor call 503.697.PUPS (7877) to schedule an appointment.

* If your children are under age 6, we ask that there be two adults in attendance so that one may be available for each kid : ) We ask too that if your child attends class, but has trouble calmly participating, that you bring a book or game for your child for the next class. 

Where are you located?

Our address is... 

1500 NW 18 th Ave, Ste 117
Portland, OR 97209

We are located at the corner of NW 17 th Ave & Quimby, in the ActivSpace Center behind the Sultan Cafe. We welcome tours and class observations by appointment