Train With Sara2022-10-16T20:42:54-04:00

Training With Sara

Sara offers both in-person and virtual canine behavior modification options. An initial Behavioral Discovery Session is required for all new clients, along with completion of the Canine Behavior Questionnaire.

The first step is to complete the Canine Questionnaire (~5 minutes). Once that is complete you’ll be prompted to schedule your Behavioral Discovery Session.

View Canine Questionnaire
Sara Ondrako with Husky Puppies

The Path To Behavioral Success

1. Canine Questionnaire

The Canine Questionnaire is the first step in changing your dog’s behavior. The questionnaire is designed to give Sara the information she needs for your Behavioral Discovery Session, and to help better understand your dog’s behaviors.

2. Behavioral Discovery Session

The Behavioral Discovery Session is a virtual session designed to help identify what may be causing your dog’s behavioral issues (environment, nutrition, stresses, relationships, etc…). This session is the basis for creating a Behavior Plan for addressing your dog’s behavioral issues.

3. Behavior Plan

If Sara recommends behavior modification, and you decide that she is the best person to help you with your dog’s behavioral issues, she will then create a Behavior Plan that will be the foundation of your behavior sessions (whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid sessions).

4. Behavior Sessions

A typical behavior modification case that Sara takes on is structured over an 8 week period, with one session per week with required homework in between sessions.

The Path To Behavioral Success

1. Canine Questionnaire

The Canine Questionnaire is the first step in changing your dog’s behavior. The questionnaire is designed to give Sara the information she needs for your Behavioral Discovery Session, and to help better understand your dog’s behaviors.

2. Behavioral Discovery Session

The Behavioral Discovery Session is a virtual session designed to help identify what may be causing your dog’s behavioral issues (environment, nutrition, stresses, relationships, etc…). This session is the basis for creating a Behavior Plan for addressing your dog’s behavioral issues.

3. Behavior Plan

If Sara recommends behavior modification, and you decide that she is the best person to help you with your dog’s behavioral issues, she will then create a Behavior Plan that will be the foundation of your behavior sessions (whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid sessions).

4. Behavior Sessions

A typical behavior modification case that Sara takes on is structured over an 8 week period, with one session per week with required homework in between sessions.

What is the Difference Between a Dog Trainer and a Behaviorist?

When trying to find the right dog professional to meet your needs, all of the titles thrown around can be confusing. Here is a rundown of the most common terms in behavior and training to help you understand the different, and sometimes overlapping services that these professionals provide.

Read The Article

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Behavioral Discovery Session and why do I need one?2022-12-15T11:13:30-05:00

The Behavioral Discovery Session is really important when it comes to understanding what may be causing the behavioral issues you’re facing with your dog. The process actually begins with the Canine Questionnaire so that Sara can gather information about your dog to gather background information and make the most out of your time together during the Discovery Call.

  • 45 Minute Virtual Session
  • Follow-up Email
  • 15 Minute Follow-Up Phone Call to Review Summary / Q&A as Needed
What type of behavior cases does Sara take on?2022-12-15T11:21:38-05:00

Sara works with a multitude of behavioral concerns, everything from instilling foundational behaviors in puppies (to prevent behavior problems in the future) to severe aggression cases involving injury. Sara takes a particular interest in fear aggression cases; however, she will also work with obsessive-compulsive disorders, conflict aggression, prey-driven aggression, selective aggression, and Separation-Related Problems, including separation anxiety, cooperative care for medical and handling procedures, and low-stress handling techniques.

Sara will also consult on cases being addressed primarily by other behavior professionals, dog trainers, and veterinary staff as needed.

Is Sara a dog trainer?2022-12-15T11:27:17-05:00

Sara is a Certified Behavior Professional, which is different from a Certified Dog Trainer. While training is often intertwined with behavior, they are two separate fields. This is often a confusing topic for pet parents, especially since some Dog Trainers will take on behavior cases. Sara wrote an article outlining all of the different titles (and what they mean) in an effort to help pet parents better understand the differences.  You can check out that article here:

What is the Difference Between a Dog Trainer and a Behaviorist?

The short answer is that you can think of dog trainers as those that focus primarily on obedience skills and cues (sit, down, stay) and canine behavior professionals as those that focus on why the animal is acting a certain way and how to modify undesirable or dangerous behaviors into alternative, appropriate, healthy behaviors.

While Sara is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, for years, she has been training PTSD Service Dogs in her spare time for a nonprofit program called Operation Sidekick. Included in her position with the team, she specifically trains obedience, relationship-building, and tasks specific to handler needs. She teaches volunteers and other trainers how to train the dogs, and teaches veterans being paired with the dogs how to utilize the skill set of their service dogs.

 

What comes after the Behavioral Discovery Session?2022-12-15T11:14:29-05:00

Once you’ve had a Behavioral Discovery Session with Sara, she will send a follow-email based on your discussion to outline a plan to move forward with your dog. You can then schedule a 15-minute post-session phone call to review the summary and ask for any clarification on the topics covered (if needed).

If you decide that working with Sara is the best fit for your situation, we will then schedule sessions for you and your dog.

I had a virtual consultation but want to work with Sara in person. Is that possible?2022-12-15T11:09:29-05:00

Yes. Sara does in-person behavioral modification all throughout the Greater Charlotte Area. Due to the demand on her time, she limits her travel for the initial evaluation but extends that radius for clients that want to hire her for behavioral modification. For clients located out of state (or area), Sara requires that the client covers travel and lodging in addition to her consultation fees.

Does Sara offer single training sessions for behavior modification?2022-12-15T11:04:46-05:00

Not typically. Changing behavior in dogs (and humans) takes time and consistency.  A single session or two will generally not lead to completely modifying a behavior. When Sara takes on a behavioral case, the average to onboard behavior modification skills is between 8 – 12 weeks, and then often, modification and progress continue well after sessions have ended. Sara is committed to each case individually and finds open, frequent communication, homework completion in between sessions (practice), consistency, and a team approach as needed to prove most successful in modifying undesirable behaviors.

Do you offer board & train?2022-12-15T11:36:40-05:00

Sara does not offer a board and train option. While these situations can be helpful in jump-starting obedience for pet parents, the majority of the cases that Sara works with require coaching pet parents on how to open up communication channels and modify behaviors so that they can continue progressing once sessions with Sara have ended. Sara prefers to work with the client and the dog in the environment/s where the problem behaviors occur. When Sara works with dogs in her home on a very limited case-by-case basis, the dogs progress well in a controlled environment under constant supervision and direction from a behavior professional; however, what is instilled in a board-and-train type situation also needs to be able to translate back into the environment where the problems occur and remain consistent through the guidance of the pet parent.

Are virtual appointments any good?2022-03-15T09:43:10-04:00

Absolutely! Sara works with people (and their dogs) all over the country with great success. It’s amazing what can be done virtually to help improve your dog’s behavior.

How does a virtual session work?2022-12-15T11:37:28-05:00

Once you book your appointment online you’ll receive an email with a link to your Zoom Meeting. If you prefer to use something other than Zoom please let us know and we can work that out.

After your virtual session is completed, Sara will send you a follow-up email with her recommendations moving forward.

Does Sara wear a mask?2022-03-15T09:45:24-04:00

Sara will not be wearing a mask when meeting for the first time. It is important for dogs to be able to read her facial expressions and wearing a mask impairs that from happening.

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