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Broken Trunk


  • What's your policy on vaccines?
    As a new puppy owner, it's common and normal to be inundated with often-conflicting information from sources including your vet, breeder, pet-store owner, and even trainer. We believe in providing you with information from excellent sources to back up our policies, but also to help you make your own decision about how you'll manage your puppy's first exposures and experiences. We at Satellite Puppy School require only one set of vaccines prior to enrolling in our program. For supporting documentation on this decision, please see these documents available in the Puppy Policy & Forms section : The AVSAB Position Statement on Vaccines and Socializing University of Minnesota Veterinary School Professor and DVM Statement, Dr. Robert Anderson Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine Statement, Drs. Andrew Luescher & Steve Thompson
  • I think I understand "socialization" but what does it really mean and why do you use "exposure" instead?
    The word "socialize" is somewhat antiquated in current day understanding of puppy development. Shortly after it was first introduced to companion owners in the 1980's by behavior pioneers such as Ian Dunbar, DVM, and his contemporaries, the word itself became troublesome because of subjectivity in interpretation. "Socializing" wrongly suggests that dogs want to have friendly interactions with other things, including but not limited to, other dogs and people. This is neither accurate, nor objective. Further, the original approach to socializing suggested "proper" socializing could head off serious behavior problems and was the primary foundation for a well-adjusted puppy, and eventual adult dog. This is a flawed design, as each puppy is an individual, unable to be studied as a success or failure behaviorally against himself. In other words, we can't gauge an adult dog's success or lack thereof behaviorally, by measuring his unique socializing experiences created by the owner. A dog's biological temperament plays a much greater role in behavior than the "socializing" model suggests. Decades later, practitioners and researchers have discovered a better approach to properly provide the developing puppy with beneficial experiences is through appropriate exposures, gauging a puppy's response to, and interest in, a given environment. Think of it more as a dialogue with your puppy, rather than a lecture.
  • What type of certificate is awarded for completion of the program?
    Graduates of NWSCS earn a CCS - Certificate in Canine Studies.
  • My dog has some physical discomfort which may make it painful for her to perform certain skills. Will I be expected to push her comfort levels?
    This question thrills us! One of the big foci of the school itself is having a conversation with a dog, a dialogue, never a monologue or giving orders. We are acutely sensitive to dog's physical, emotional, and behavioral health and will never ask a dog to comply with something that knowingly causes pain of any kind. The requirements of the CCS are focused on the human participant of the program rather than how a dog performs. It's hard for some folks to grasp, but we don't care much if your dog can actually *do* a thing, but rather if the handler is able to do all the things. It is common for dog partners to behave unpredictably "when it counts" such as during an assessment or on a given day, and for every dog to face competing motivators on a daily basis. It's crucial human students immerse themselves in all concepts and skills theoretically as well as demonstrated so when a dog doesn't perform as expected, there is a clear way to assess the student themselves. Afterall. If the goal of earning a CCS was to only work with one dog, what good would it be? We want graduates to be proficient working with any and all dogs they encounter.
  • How long is the CCSPRO program?
    The NWSCS Canine Studies Pro program is 55 total instruction hours. Sessions are available in a condensed or expanded format, as per the posted calendar.
  • How does the CCS transfer to the professional world?
    Since 2007, the NWSCS has graduated students worldwide, many of whom have stayed local to the PNW, others of whom have returned to countries like Germany, Australia, and even Mongolia. CCSs have gone on to work in a wide variety of settings in the dog world and contemporaries are familiar with what a CCS is capable of. The school is well regarded in the community and practicing graduates report an easy transition and acceptance into the field among equally and more qualified peers. Graduates are gainfully employed in public class instruction, daycare, shelter/rescue, private training, dog walking, kennel/boarding, veterinary medicine, grooming, sitting/walking, therapy, welfare, and law enforcement.
  • I'm aware that some aversives/corrections are used in LIMA; are students required to use leash pops or similar physical/forceful corrections during class? (Or will instructors use these on participants' dogs?)
    NO. We go over aversive vs pain vs humane vs inhumane vs ethical and so on, philosophies, before ever putting our hands on dogs. We are able to work even the most complex behavior without pops, electricity, or intimidation/fear of any kind. We consider using those techniques on the companion dog low-skill and ineffective, and fundamentally counter-productive to our approach.
  • Is a laptop required?
    No. Some students prefer to use laptops or tablets but that is by no means required. Pen (or pencil) and a notebook will do. Internet access is required. Recording of any kind is never allowed.
  • I want to visit the facility, speak to past/current students and observe classes before I apply. Is this possible?
    Yes. We are always delighted to meet with students considering application to view our facilities and answer any questions. Please note that this is only possible during certain times because of facility usage, program calendar, and material-sensitive portions of the program requiring closed classes. Because of this, don’t wait to arrange a visit.
  • Can you please send me a copy of the syllabus?
    No. The NWSCS does not provide a set syllabus for any of its professional programs because of the nature of the program itself. The core material provided is the same for each class, but it may be reorganized, customized, adjusted. It is always updated with the most current information available in the field even if this is during a session already underway. The school is known for this ‘first to market’ approach and a syllabus does not suit our commitment to remaining agile in step with the way the field changes. Course topics are listed on the main CCSPRO page on the Northwest Canine website.
  • How does the CCSPRO differ from the programs at the Karen Pryor Academy?
    The NWSCS is supportive of the Karen Pryor Academy, and those having attended KPA courses. There are a handful of critical differences between the Karen Pryor Academy and our Canine Studies Program: KPA material is heavily focused on training, whereas the CCSPRO focuses on behavior modification. In the professional setting involving the companion dog, behavior modification is more relevant than training. While training is helpful for basic obedience, tricks, sport, and such, it is ineffective when treating the many challenges companion dogs face in the home setting such as anxiety, aggression, and reactivity. It is more sound to address the foundational needs of the human/canine relationship crucial for success in those obedience-type skills, only achieved through behavior assessment and modification. To be clear, the CCSPRO does involve training, but only as it is relevant to behavior modification, not tricks. We find the vast majority of dog owners are in need of behavior-based support rather than obedience. The KPA uses positive methodology exclusively, whereas the CCSPRO uses LIMA (Least Invasive Minimally Aversive) practices. While we do employ positive methodology including marker training, it is within LIMA framework. We find LIMA much more effective with the companion dog as opposed to positive-only methods, allowing practitioners to work dynamically with the dog in front of them. Still, we adhere to all humane guidelines set forth by the SPCA and HSUS, and do not use tools such as prong/pinch/e-collars.
  • Why aren't you endorsed by the CCPDT (for purposes of CEUs)? Can my CPDT-KA or CPDT-KSA help?
    This is a question the school receives fairly often, requiring some clarification. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is not an educational institution; it was established by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) in an effort to standardize, regulate, and legitimize a minimum/standard level of performance for someone calling themselves a "certified dog trainer." The CCPDT offers two types of certificates in the area of dog training (CPDT-KA or CPDT-KSA) and one in behavior modification (CCBC-KA). KA (knowledge assessed) indicates a person has successfully completed a written exam and met requirements. To sit for the exam, candidates must have completed 300 hours in training or behavior respectively, over the past 3 years, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and provide various written/verbal attestations and fees. KSA (knowledge skills assessed) is earned after the above is completed, with the additional submission of a video of basic training skills shown on a dog, and further attestations and fees. That's about 7.5 weeks total of full time dog training or behavior work, respectively, with or without practical assessment. For perspective, our founder/head instructor has been in the training and behavior field full time for 22 years, and has worked with over 10,000 dogs and families. These designations indicate exams/assessments only. CCPDT is an elected-board run organization with thousands of members. The mission of the CCPDT is admirable and appreciated widely. The NWSCS being endorsed by the CCPDT isn't quite the right consideration as they are neither comparative nor cooperative. The CCS is a specialized, in-depth professional level certification of proficiency, exclusive to the educational program to which it is related, the NWSCS CCSPRO, regulated and licensed by the Washington State Workforce & Education Board. The CCPDT certifications are industry-created minimum standard assessments for someone to call themselves, "certified dog trainer", but without the professional designation or state workforce/education board regulation (eg. hobbyist, amateur, enthusiast, etc.) or affiliated educational program(s). It is common for students of the NWSCS to sit for a CCPDT exam during their CCS program and pass. Because of this, applicants are considered based on actual experiences rather than other certification.
  • I am interested in eventually training service/therapy/support dogs. Is your program right for me?
    Past students who are interested in these fields report the education they received at the NWSCS was paramount to their chosen service/support training thereafter, allowing them to launch into a specialized career with a competitive edge among their peers. While we offer no specific service dog training track, the CCS curriculum addresses every aspect of foundational behavior work.
  • Regarding COVID protocols, is it okay with the program for me to remain masked 100% of the time?
    We are big fans of students coming as they are comfortable, masked or otherwise, and we confidently support either decision. The school strictly follows the mandates issued by our state for institutes of higher learning during pandemic changes, meaning we will manage legally and appropriately should anything change during your attendance.
  • Do I need to bring a dog for the hands-on classes?
    Yes. This dog does not have to be yours but does have to be accessible enough to be in your care throughout the program. Please note your dog must be able to kennel and/or be present without disturbing the class. It is possible to use visual barriers in the classroom for dogs with minor reactivities. If you are not able to secure a qualifying dog for your program, it is okay to attend without one, complete training tasks at home, and still take the assessments.
  • Can I speak with any graduates of the program?
    You bet. Please contact the office and we’ll be happy to provide you with a current list of grads available to be contacted by prospective students.
  • Is there flexibility in the class schedule or would I be able to customize the schedule?
    The class schedule is set. We urge students to form study groups immediately to encourage better performance in class, but also so that if a student must miss class for any reason they can work together with their classmates to discuss the material that was missed. It is not advised students miss more than one class during the program.
  • Is the school accredited?
    While the NWSCS is state licensed by the Washington State Workforce and Education Board under RCW 28C.10, it is not accredited by any traditional accrediting agency like universities might be. Private vocational schools such as ours have very limited options for legitimately becoming accredited, with size being one requirement our school neither currently meets, nor intends to grow to meet. In other words, we are simply too small to meet the minimum amount of required tuition income annually to even be considered for accreditation. Our licensure through the state Workforce and Education Board is sufficient for quality control and practice standard.
  • The school is state licensed; why aren’t financial aide and alternative loans available at this time?
    Unfortunately, the economic climate has resulted in Sallie Mae suspending all new loans to small schools licensed after 2006. On the advisement of Sallie Mae, the NWSCS checks the federal loan offices every six months for updates. While no new loan options are anticipated in the future, the website will be updated immediately if this should change. Meanwhile, students are encouraged to research private loans with various financial institutions with whom they may have relationships. Many smaller banks in particular are amenable to supporting private loans for school purposes. For more information, see policy and loan info with Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the application page.
  • Where can I find more detailed information about the school and what are my student responsibilities?
    A complete catalog including more specific course, requirement, loan, and enrollment information is kept on file with the Washington State Workforce & Education board. Registration into the program acknowledges acceptance of these policies and agreements. There are copies of our enrollment policies and agreement on the Northwest Canine website as well, under the main Northwest School of Canine Studies tab.
  • I noticed that dogs are not allowed at certain workshops/classes. How is that effecive?
    Wonderful question! Most of the dog behavior programs that folks are familiar with are actually obedience-based training programs. These are fantastic for a number of reasons including finding community, learning basic skills, and installing common and familiar management techniques such as sit, stand, down, recall, etc. But, there is a large population of dogs who are unable to attend classes with other dogs due to reactivities or fear, and the classroom environment with dogs and people is not possible. These dogs and their families need support without dogs present *first* so they can be properly assessed and treated behaviorally.
  • Your rates/prices seem higher than others. What gives?
    Please visit our Word About Rates page.
  • What is the general methodology used by Satellite?
    Northwest Canine's public classes and workshops are pretty different than what you might expect in puppy and dog training education. ​ Discipline, not punishment. Consequences, not orders. Humane, but not permissive. Relevant. Professional. Proven. ​ No clicker. No yelling. No bribes. No pinch/prong/electric collars. Neither permissive, nor woo. No alpha-rolls, no "dominating" BS, no contrived pack structure nonsense just good 'ol lovin' your dog, but also, really likin' him. You CAN train and condition the highest level of behavior without those tools. Basic obedience, recall, property boundaries, pleasant leash behavior, and so on. But also aggression, reactivity, attachment disorders, impulse issues, self-regulation, etc. You just have to have a great coach, like our CCSs. ​​ Brain over brawn. Leaders over bosses. ​ Our workshops and programs are designed to ditch boring, antiquated formula-style classes in favor of spending time and energy on things that really matter. We've bailed on obedience, and embraced manners, checks and balances, predictable structure with consistent results, and super fun ways to make the most of lessons. ​ It's out with boring repetitions of sit, stay, come, and heel, and in with polite greetings, in-home expectations and consequences, and navigating life with a dog. Our unique lifestyle approach gets to the nut of what makes cohabitation between primates and canines better, and actually focuses on that. ​ Perhaps most different is our distinct and unwavering dedication to compassion for people. We welcome, heartily, all pups and their peeps without judgement or criticism. We're here to coach and guide, teach discipline not punishment.
  • What are the specific methods used?
    Northwest Canine is lead by industry leader, Cristine Dahl. She and her staff are 100% committed to the LIMA paradigm. LIMA stands for Least Invasive Minimally Aversive. This phrase, like so many in the field, is subjective depending on the skill and interpretation of practitioners using it. Our founder is certified by the SFSPCA Academy, which ensures methods adhere to humane guidelines and principles set forth by the American Humane Association (AHA) and American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB). When working with companion dogs and families, we DO NOT allow or use pinch/prong, choke, or electric collars including "tap" collars. We do not use shaker cans, leash pops, physical manipulation, or any method which causes physical pain, emotional distress, or fear. Please note: while we do not employ these tools/methods, we are very well versed in their usage and do not, under any circumstances, pass judgement on those who do. We understand fully the reasons owners use tools considered aversive, and our goal is to continue to listen and understand, while teaching alternate skills with better effectiveness and prognoses. We do use alternative tools as needed when working with specialized practitioners and teams such as law enforcement. We DO use flat collars, martingales, long-lines, and flat leashes as well as verbal and visual markers. Depending on case, we may use management devices such as head-collars or harnesses. We often begin work using food with dogs, but we refer to it as "bait" with the goal of fading it away for more intuitive and effective techniques. While our founder is fluent in clicker training, we do not find clickers useful with companion owners and use markers instead.

We will post real FAQs as they come into our office

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