frequently asked questions

Training Questions

What is your training philosophy?

All of our trainers are committed to the Humane Hierarchy and the concept of force-free training. This means that we always strive to use the most gentle and effective methods and do not use force, pain, fear, or coercion in training. You can read more about that here!

Do you use food in training?

Yes - if your dog likes food! We always use what motivates the dog to want to participate in training. Reinforcement is determined by what your dog likes, not what we *think* they like. We also incorporate play, praise, and other reinforcement into our training!

Do you use clickers?

We love clickers, but we don't insist that you use one. The foundation of much of our training is using a marker to let your dog know when they've done a behavior that will earn them a reward. This could be a clicker, word, gesture, or other auditory or visual cue, depending on your preferences and what works best for your dog.

What happens in training when my dog gets it "wrong"?

We will never set your dog - or you - up to fail. Because our focus is on teaching new habits (what we want your dog TO do) we design our training sessions to produce the behaviors we're looking for, so your dog starts to understand how to make the right choice. But before any training starts, we'll talk to you about how to manage your dog's enviroment to prevent the unwanted behaviors from happening, as well as how to respond constuctively - not punitively - if they do happen.

Do you guarantee the training?

We guarantee ethical solutions rather than "results at any cost." Because you and your dog are living, breathing creatures, it would be irresponsible of us to claim any kind of guarantee with regard to the results of the training. What we do guarantee is that we will support you through the training, provide honest answers and help, and ensure you have the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in training.


What vaccination records does my dog need in order to participate in training?

We require that your pup's rabies, distemper/parvo, and bordetella vaccinations be current with your vet. Any puppies must be up-to-date on their age-appropriate vaccines.

My dog hasn't been spayed/neutered yet. Can I still use your services?

Yes, we absolutely allow intact dogs to participate in our services! If your dog is still intact, we ask that you provide an undergarment in the event we have other intact dogs in our care to protect against accidental breeding.

What is your service area?

With virtual services, we can provide training to anyone, anywhere! For in-person services, we provide private training and training hikes to the Denver area. Contact us for exact locations - however, if you are just outside of our service area, we can meet you in Denver. Puppy socials take place at Waldschänke Ciders at 4100 Jason St. Denver 80211.

What's the best way to contact you?

Our contact form is the quickest way to get a response! You can also reach us via email at or via phone at (720) 316-5882. With any method of contact, we will respond within one business day, Monday through Friday.

Do you sell any training supplies?

We proudly carry Blue9 Balance Harnesses, our favorite front-clip harness. We also carry Mutt Matts, which we love for mat work/stationing. For a list of other products we use and love, check out our faves page!

I'm interested in becoming a dog trainer. Can you help?

Our apprenticeship program is currently on hold, but we hope to restart it soon! If you are interested, you can contact us for more information, and we will keep your name on file for when the program reopens.
An ideal apprentice should have foundational knowledge of dog behavior and training, experience handling dogs of different sizes and temperaments, and excellent people skills. In the meantime, check out our faves page for book recommendations and other resources.

Do you ever cancel for weather?

We do sometimes cancel for weather - since we are currently meeting clients outside only due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions, if the weather is unsafe, we will contact you to reschedule.

Canis Major Dog Training 

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