Is your best friend addicted to jumping, chewing and barking?
Is he an obsessive people-pleaser?
Dogs have yet to join 12-step recovery groups, and they can't attend Chewers Anonymous meetings. But the right dog trainer can curb most types of dysfunctional behavior.
"A dog needs direction and needs to know how to please its master," said Jeff Hoffman, senior officer in charge of the Humane Society of Ventura County. "Without direction, a dog never knows what to expect."
When choosing a trainer, check references and sit in on a class, since trainers are not required to be licensed. Some trainers use food as a reward, but Hoffman and others caution that too many treats can produce a "counterfeit dog," programmed to respond only to bribes. Praise, what dogs crave most, should be the foundation of a trainer's work.
The following area dog trainers should be able to assist in turning out well-behaved canines. All classes are one-hour sessions unless noted otherwise. The sessions teach the basics of come, stay, heal, sit, stand, down and lie down. Puppies are accepted into most classes at 3 to 6 months of age.
* Tony Rollins K-9 Academy in Port Hueneme offers nine-week group sessions for $70. The groups meet at the academy, 278 S. Surfside Drive, each Saturday at 9 a.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m.
Private, in-home sessions are held twice a week for six weeks and cost $300. Kennel training, consisting of private, daily sessions held over three weeks at the academy, cost $700. Brushup sessions are free during the first 10 days after dogs have returned to their owners. Tony Rollins got his start training dogs with a New York security firm in 1974. 986-3216.
* In-Home Professional Dog Training in Ventura offers 20 private lessons in a four-week course priced at $350. Peggy Davis, a California state certified trainer, said the 20-minute lessons are geared toward a dog's concentration span.
"I put a heavy emphasis on socializing dogs," said Davis, who has trained dogs for 25 years. "I want to make sure that dogs are comfortable around animals, people, places, noises. I teach tricks after that or work on problem behaviors, like chewing, barking or running out the door. But I tell people not to expect their dog to act like Lassie after I'm through with him." 647-8853.
* Inglis Pet Hotel in Oxnard offers six-week group classes for $50. The classes are held in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church on Saratoga Avenue and Ralston Street in Ventura each Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m.
Inglis employs three trainers who provide private lessons in residences or parks for $20 per hour. Kennel training costs $200 for one week and $375 for two weeks. 485-7140.
* Dog Gone Smart in Ojai offers six-week private sessions that cost $300. Brushup sessions are $25. "My philosophy is to train in an owner's home, where problems happen," said Jeff Hoffman, who has trained dogs for 13 years. 646- 9575
* The K-9 Emporium in Oxnard specializes in teaching aggressive dogs that lack social skills. Trainer Lois (Lane) Kingsley boards dogs for weekend, intensive-training sessions beginning 5 p.m. Saturdays and ending 5 p.m. Tuesdays. The cost is $100.
"I take the dog with me everywhere I go--shopping, on errands and in crowds," said Kingsley, who has attended several dog-training schools during her 20-year career. The dogs are trained at Kingsley's 45-acre ranch on Pine Mountain.
Kingsley also instructs six-week group classes on Saturday mornings at 8:30. The classes, which cost $49, are held at the K-9 Emporium, 653 W. Hueneme Road. 986-4033.
* The Ventura County Dog Fanciers Assn. meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Ventura County Animal Control offices in Camarillo at 8 p.m. The free meetings feature speakers knowledgeable about dog training. Free handling classes will be offered June 14, 21 and 28 at the entrance to Camino Real Park in Ventura at 7 p.m. The sessions focus on skills needed to show dogs. 642-5514.
* The Oxnard Obedience Club has been training dogs since 1964. Eight-week group classes are held each Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Oxnard Community Center along 9th St.
Puppies are coached in the basics from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at $30 for the sessions; a novice class for dogs 6 months and older who have not had puppy training is held from 10 to 11 a.m. and costs $40, and intermediate sessions for dogs who have finished novice training are held from 11 a.m. to noon for $40. Advanced dogs are trained in directional jumping, retrieving and scent discrimination from 10 to 11 a.m. at a cost of $45.
Monthly meetings are held the second Saturday of each month in Oxnard Community Center's Camarillo Room at 7 p.m. 486-5504.
* The West Valley Obedience Club meets each Saturday morning at Valley Lindo Park in Camarillo at 11:30. The seven-week course is $48. Trainer Elaine D. Bergem once assisted the head animal trainer at MGM studios and has been training dogs for 20 years. 944-4347.
* The city of Ventura Parks and Recreation Department offers six-week group classes at Camino Real Park in Ventura on Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. Cost is $35. 658-4726
* The city of Santa Paula Recreation Department offers six-week group classes at Obregon Park's upper level in Santa Paula on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Cost is $35. 933-4216.
* The Humane Society of Ventura County offers six-week group classes each Tuesday and Wednesday evening at 6:30. The course, which costs $35, is held in the society's parking lot, 402 Bryant St., Ojai. 646-6505.