Category Archives: Dog Training

New Classes Begin Soon!

Group Classes are offered at The Clever Hound LLC!  See class descriptions for locations.  The cost for all classes is $150 for 6 weeks.  Discounts are available for multiple dogs or classes.

Wednesday Evening Indoor Classes at 501 Darby Ave, Temple, PA (formerly Muhlenberg Swim Association).  All classes begin February 28.

5:30 pm: Scent Work is for dogs eight weeks and older.  We will introduce the dogs to the odors and searches that will be used in the AKC Scent Work program.  No previous training is required.   There is a $10 materials fee for an optional but highly recommended odor kit for practicing at home.

 6:30 pm:  Clever Puppy/ Clever Dog (mixed level class)

Clever Puppy is for puppies between eight weeks and twelve months and adult dogs with no previous training.  We will introduce basic obedience cues like sit, down, come, and leash walking as well as introducing the puppies and dogs to new socialization and body awareness experience.  This class will give a great start to your dog’s training, whether he is destined to be a dog sports star or a great family companion.  Graduates under 12 months will earn the AKC Star Puppy Award.

Clever Dog class is an obedience and life skills class for dogs with some foundation training.  Depending on your dog’s level, you may prepare for Canine Good Citizen, Community Canine, and Trick Dog titles.  We will focus on leash walking, stays, and recalls with progressing distractions as well as some fun behaviors.

7:30 pm:  Clever Graduate class is for graduates of the Clever Dog series of classes or dogs with equivalent experience.  Dogs will learn the skills needed to compete in obedience trials, such as heeling, retrieval, and jumping.

​Monday Daytime Classes at Godfreys Welcome to Dogdom, 4267 New Holland Rd, Mohnton, PA beginning February 26.

​10:00 am or 1:15 pm (times will vary with class location) Clever Hound About Townis for graduates of Clever Dog or well-socialized dogs with the Canine Good Citizen title.  This class will include field trips to dog friendly locations in the community to help students to generalize their dog’s skills.  Graduates will have the goals of earning their AKC Urban Canine Good Citizen and Advanced Trick Dog titles.  Weeks 1, 3, and 5 of class will be held at 1:15 pm at Godfreys.  Weeks 2, 4, and 6 will be held at 10 am in various dog friendly locations.

2:30 pm:  Scent Work is for dogs eight weeks and older.  We will introduce the dogs to the odors and searches that will be used in the AKC Scent Work program.  No previous training is required.   There is a $10 materials fee for an optional but highly recommended odor kit for practicing at home.

​​3:45 pm: Clever Dog class is an obedience and life skills class for dogs with some foundation training.  Depending on your dog’s level, you may prepare for Canine Good Citizen, Community Canine, and Trick Dog titles.  We will focus on leash walking, stays, and recalls with progressing distractions as well as some fun behaviors.   This class is  appropriate for DIF K9 graduates of Puppy Start Right (7.5 weeks-13 weeks old) and DIF K9 “Basic Behaviors” class.

​5:00 pm: AKC Rally is for dogs 6 months and older who can reliably sit, lie down, and walk on a loose leash.  We will focus on training the behaviors and handling skills required for AKC Rally Novice, with course work included each week.  The foundation behaviors required for Rally Advanced and Excellent will be introduced as well.  ​

​The Clever Hound Tracking group meets on Wednesday morning at 9 am, weather permitting, at various locations.  This is a drop-in program only.  Cost is $25 per session.  No previous tracking experience is needed, but please email Cleverhounddogtraining@gmail.com if you plan to attend.

​Please email  for more information or to sign up for classes.  Class sizes are limited so that you and your dog will receive individualized attention.  All classes are taught by Megan Esherick CPDT-KA CTDI using positive reinforcement.

​If space is available, drop-in spots are permitted for most classes.  Drop in spots are $30.  Please email Cleverhounddogtraining@gmail.com for availability if you would like to do this.

​Group classes are intended for dogs who are comfortable learning and working in the presence of other dogs.  If you feel that this would be a challenge for your dog, private lessons are always available.

​If you are interested in a class but have scheduling challenges, please contact us to see if the schedule can be modified for future sessions.

​Join The Clever Hound Novice Tricks Dog Sparks Team– a free online class where you and your dog can earn your Novice Trick Dog title.

“My Week” by Elf

This was Elf’s Puppy Class Homework, but she thought she would share it with her friends.

Tuesday January 30:

6 am: Every morning, we have to sit or down and stay while Mom makes us breakfast. She says it’s so we don’t bark. I don’t have to stay in a certain position yet, but I have to stay on a dog bed the whole time. It’s hard, but I get a lot of cookies and when we’re done I get breakfast, which is one of my favorite meals.

8 am: I went to Gromit and Spice’s agility class to watch. Agility looks like fun, but mom says I have to grow up first. In the meantime I get cookies for being quiet in a crate while the other dogs run. If I bark, my crate gets covered so I don’t bark at the other dogs anymore.

Noon: Mom was working with a client at Bass Pro Shop in Harrisburg. They are dog friendly, so I walked around the store too. I climbed into a boat and onto an ATV and sat in a bear’s lap.

8 pm: I started Star puppy class at the Dog Training Club. The building is really big and noisy- much noisier than the classes that Mom teaches. There are lots of dogs, but I’m there to play with Mom and get cookies. I practiced sit, down, stand, and come and ate lots of cookies. Did I mention that I like cookies?

Wednesday, January 31:

9 am: I went tracking at the Fairgrounds. Tracking is fun- I use my nose to follow a trail of cookies that Mom drops and at the end there’s a glove to play with. Mom was tricky this time though- she didn’t leave me as many cookies on the track so I had to sniff out her footprints instead. After about 70 steps, she must have turned. I almost lost the track but I figured it out and found my glove.

Noon: I practiced putting my back feet on a target for lunch. Mom makes we work for lunch everyday, but that’s ok because the big kids don’t even get lunch.

6 pm: Mom had students tonight so I had my dinner frozen into a slow feed bowl and then got a nice marrow bone to chew on.

Thursday, February 1:

Noon: I went to Home Depot and practiced my sit stay. Mom and I had a nice game of tug when she told me “all done”.

1 pm: I got to watch Silk’s herding lesson. She was playing with some noisy animals called sheep. I think she was bossing them around (Silk is very bossy) because they kept moving around the pen and through gates. I met some nice people and a pig named Scrapple.

2 pm: My lunch was very late today! Good thing I had some cookies to tide me over. We worked on my fold back down for lunch.

4 pm: I had a bath. I don’t see the point of this. I mean, water is fine, but soap? Yuck!

7 pm: I went to the training place again for the end of novice class. I’m too much of a distraction to join class, so we played Recallers Games on the side.

Friday, February 2:

Noon: We did some cookie stretches and Mom started teaching me left and right for lunch. This wasn’t a good time to work on this because I really wanted my food.

7 pm: I went to Clever Puppy class. Mom is teaching, but uses me to demonstrate things and Dad works with me. Don’t tell Silk that Dad gives me some of her cookies.

Saturday, February 3:

All Day: I went to a dog show called Canine Learning Experience. Gromit and Silk got some ribbons in rally, but I think I was the star of the car. I met lots of people, saw lots of dogs, and practiced some of my skills.

Sunday February 4:

We stayed home because Mom says that drunk football fans don’t drive well in the snow. I had a few training sessions throughout the day.

Monday, February 5:

2:30 pm: I went to Scent Work class. I found odor in lots of boxes and some that wasn’t in a box- that was pretty sneaky putting it someplace else. I practiced some other stuff in between classes.

Why Use a Certified Dog Trainer?

Dog training is something that can be done on many different levels.  In fact, if you’ve ever lived with a dog, you have probably done some dog training whether you realize it or not.  However, the concept of dog training as a profession is relatively new and there is a lot of misconception about the difference between a dog training professional and someone who has trained a dog.

One of the major changes in the dog training community in recent years is the use of science based techniques that have transformed modern dog training into an applied science, where theories and methods can be researched and tested for validity.  Traditionally, dog training has been viewed as more of a form of mystical knowledge to be passed on- and if the knowledge that was passed on didn’t help it was common to blame the human or canine student for being somehow flawed.  Dogs are pretty good at figuring out social cues, so there are many training methods that work some times with some dogs even though they probably shouldn’t, but operant conditioning based methods can be applied to any human and dog team without stipulating that the person needs to be “assertive” or “dominant” and that the dog not be “stubborn” or “untrainable”.  In other words- science is real. (Yes, I know that is apparently a controversial statement.)

As animal training is studied and researched more thoroughly, new information is available all of the time.  A key requirement of maintaining professional certification is meeting continuing education requirements to stay updated about animal learning, behavior, and cognition.  A trainer who has worked with dogs for many years may have a lot of hands-on experience, but if they are still using the same methods and techniques they started with decades ago, they are probably missing out on a lot of important data.

Hands-on experience is another thing to consider.  While there is a lot about dog training and learning theory that needs to be comprehended on a cognitive level, to have consistent results in training, there is also a lot about the profession that can only be experienced hand-on.  An amateur trainer may have experience with a few dogs of a few breeds, but a professional should have a much broader knowledge base.  Professional certification requires at least 300 hours of hands on training time, which would be difficult to achieve just by dabbling in dog training for an hour per week.

Because dogs are so forgiving and accepting of human behavior, many training techniques have evolved over time that are very hard on the dog, both physically and emotionally.  A certified professional trainer will have made an ethical commitment to utilizing the Least Invasive, Minimally Aversive technique required to achieve the desired result.  As research is now showing that punishment based training can have long term negative side effects on a dog’s behavior, this seems more important than ever.  Force based training techniques can often present the illusion of a quick fix, but the long term effect of reward based methods is a stronger relationship with a more mentally stable dog.

To learn more about the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, visit www.ccpdt.org.