Want to learn more about Beyond the Dog? Do you have questions about our training processes? Below are common questions dog owners have about Beyond the Dog and our practice!

What makes Beyond the Dog different?

Beyond the Dog is different from other training companies because of the level of education and experience our founders have received. Dr. Kristyn Echterling-Savage and Sean Savage, both former marine mammal trainers, started Beyond the Dog in 2005. After starting Beyond the Dog, Dr. Kristyn Echterling-Savage earned a PhD in Behavioral Psychology, became a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Sean has earned the title of Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and began developing the art of training that we use today. More than their education and certifications, their hands-on experience in clients’ homes and their home, living with and training client dogs for decades, has shaped Beyond the Dog and our practices today. Simply put, the hours dedicated to training dogs and their owners, combined with their credentials, are unmatched. This has resulted in not only science-based training but also its real-world application across dogs, owners, trainers, and communities. Our trainers are taught these practices, undergo rigorous training, and are supported in their application of these training practices.

Friends have told me I have to be the one training my dog. Is that true?

So many of our clients are worried about not being directly involved in every training session. Would you believe that it is more effective for us to train your dog and then train you rather than having you teach right from the start? Your dog learns quickly by allowing us to teach your dog with 100% accuracy and consistency. As they learn the new skill, their behavior becomes more resilient to slight errors or inconsistencies, which are very common when owners learn our training protocols. These facts are backed up by years of research across various learners! It’s akin to learning a foreign language from someone who speaks fluently versus just learning it themselves. It is essential that you attend the owner lessons so you can be taught what your dog has learned. At that point, you’ll begin practicing and applying that training in your day-to-day life.

What are your training methods?

Generally speaking, our training methods are based in positive reinforcement and classical counterconditioning—both very dog friendly! We use science to teach dogs and cats what is expected of them. For treating problem behavior, our approach is functional. We identify why the animal is engaging in a behavior and teach them an appropriate way to get the same or similar results. Later in training, suppose problem behavior is present, and the animal understands what we expect and offers the appropriate behaviors regularly. In that case, we use the science of behavior to tell us when or if punishment is appropriate to eliminate the problem behavior. It is important to note that punishment does not have to be painful or scary, and we do not use shock (sometimes referred to as “stimulation”), choke, or prong collars. We do not throw chains or other scary objects at dogs as a form of punishment. Depending on the function of the behavior, we use things like timeouts or verbal reprimands, just like we humans experience!

Do I need to buy anything for training?

Before you begin your training program, you will be sent an email that outlines products necessary for training based on your dog’s (or cat’s) individual needs. It is important to note that we train as gadget free as possible, and our training programs are not designed around expensive collars or devices. Usually, the list of training items does not exceed $100.

Do you offer a guarantee?

We, unfortunately, do not offer a guarantee. The organizations with which we hold credentials deem it unethical—and we do too! Given that dogs are live, behaving animals, guarantees are unethical. It is like a veterinarian guaranteeing that a medical procedure will go 100% smoothly. While we cannot guarantee a dog or cat’s behavior, we can give you an estimated treatment outcome with our training programs and history of success with a particular behavior. We want our clients to be happy with the change in behavior from their pets and do our best to accurately predict those outcomes before a client enrolls in our training program. After 20+ years of practice, we are pretty reliable!