For many of us, the idea of children and dogs conjures a nostalgic and often idealized image of best friends exploring, playing together, and growing up together. In the early years though, reality often falls far from that picture, and for many families with dogs, the dynamic is anything but ideal. Babies and young children grow and change so rapidly that dogs are often left confused and overwhelmed without the skills to cope with each new stage, sometimes resulting in a great deal of stress for the dog and the family. In an effort to increase the likelihood of the “happy ending” we all envision between kids and dogs, families need to be proactive in the early years to set their dogs and children up for success. Navigating what “setting them up for success” means can be overwhelming, confusing, and challenging.
This is where I come in! I am passionate about helping families prepare their dog(s) for a new family dynamic to ensure safety from the beginning. Together, we will develop strategies and functional management options in the early years so that you can live confidently as a family, and I will help you prepare to adjust your plan as your baby grows. Whether you are expecting your first child or you find yourself dealing with problems between your child and dog, I am here to help solve those problems, develop a plan, and help your family safely thrive together.
New Family Package ($520): This package includes an initial consult of 1.5-2 hours and four additional follow-up sessions. It also includes phone and email support in between sessions and up to a year after the initial consult. In the initial consult, we will go over a detailed history of your dog’s behavior, discuss dog body language, and develop a customized training plan to fit your family’s needs. In follow-up sessions, we will teach your dog necessary skills and adjust our plan as needed. The timing of this package is flexible, but if you are expecting a baby, ideally the initial consult would happen in the second or third trimester so we have time to develop a plan and teach your dog some of the needed skills. The additional follow-up sessions can be spaced to support you and your dog once baby has arrived.
Maternity Session – New Family Training Package COMBO ($650): In addition to working as a dog trainer, I am a professional photographer (you can view my work here). For clients expecting a baby, if you would like to combine your training and photographic needs, this package includes everything from the above package plus a full photo session (1.5-2 hours) in a beautiful natural setting of your choice. Your photo session can include your dog or it can be all about you. Either way, this session includes 30-35 fully edited, high-resolution JPEG files + print release.
4 Session Package ($425): This package includes an initial consult of 1.5-2 hours and three additional follow-up sessions. It also includes phone and email support in between sessions and up to a year after the initial consult. In the initial consult, we will go over a detailed history of your dog’s behavior, discuss dog body language, and develop a customized training plan to fit your family’s needs. In follow-up sessions, we will teach your dog necessary skills and adjust our plan as needed.
Initial Consult ($145): This initial evaluation typically occurs in your home and lasts 1.5-2 hours. In this session, we will review a detailed behavior history for your dog, discuss some basics about dog body language and how dogs learn, and develop a detailed plan for your dog and your family.
A La Carte Training Sessions* ($90/hour within Valley Center/Escondido areas and $100/hour throughout San Diego County)
*You must do an initial consult before you are eligible to do a la carte training sessions
Family Paws Parent Education
I am a licensed Family Paws Parent Educator available to present both the Dogs & Storks and the Dogs & Toddlers programs. These group presentations are designed to help expectant families and families with crawling (soon-to-be walking!) babies prepare their dog for life with new family members. To learn more about these fabulous and informative programs, click here.
Feel free to contact me today to book one of these talks for you and your friends!
Resources for families
The following websites have great articles, blog posts, and video clips discussing dogs and babies/children that you may find helpful as you work to become a dog-aware family.
Family Paws – articles, webinars, videos, tips, and tricks for your new family
Dogs and Babies Learning – highly informative blog posts by the amazing dog trainer and behavior consultant, Madeline Gabriel on living with kids and dogs
Living with Kids and Dogs – Colleen Pelar offers great photos, videos, and books to help guide your kids to more appropriate interactions with dogs
Doggone Safe – Great resources dedicated to dog bite prevention