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Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a certified trainer and why does that matter?

Yes, Eileen Koval is a certified dog/canine behavior consultant (CDBC, CBCC-KA) and certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA).  This means that she met the extensive experience and education requirements, and passed rigorous exams designed and adjudicated by certified animal behavior consultants and behaviorists to receive these prized certifications from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers.  She has also agreed to abide by the codes of ethics of these organizations, which are the largest certifying bodies for dog trainers and dog behavior consultants nationally and internationally.  


This type of independent certification is different than many other "certifications" you may see advertised. There are those certifications offered by other companies who certify their own employees in a program that they design.  With these companies' certifications, the standards the employees are measured against are unknown.  The education and experience requirements are unknown.  There is no outside oversight, no knowledge assessment, no accreditation.  Similarly, there are certificate programs such as Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) and Animal Behavior College (ABC) which provide certificates to graduates who pay them a lot of money to receive training, so there is incentive to provide a certificate.  There is no outside oversight of the quality of their programs, the testing process, or the standards for who is chosen to graduate.  These certificate programs are NOT accredited, so the programs are only as good as those organizations choose to make them.  Many trainers are also members of APDT, but that organization gives membership to anyone who pays the annual fee.  It does not require anyone to have a certain degree of knowledge or experience to be a member.  Then, there are trainers without any certification.  They may claim to have years of experience, but their level of knowledge and education are unknown.  Years of owning dogs in and of itself does not qualify anyone to be a trainer.


The dog training and behavior industry is unregulated -- anyone can call themselves a "trainer" or "behaviorist" and work with dogs.  So buyer beware!  With an independently certified trainer who has been rigorously evaluated to the highest standards in the field, you know that you are receiving the best training and most up-to-date knowledge that the industry has to offer!  The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) created a breakdown chart of training and certification requirements for training school, independent certifications, behavior consultants and board certified behaviorists How Well-Trained is your Trainer/Behaviorist?.

Do you train and certify service animals?

No, we are no longer offering service dog training.  

Will you do all the training for me?

Owner involvement is vital to successful and reliable performance of the desired behaviors.  Without owner involvement, your dog may be wonderful with the trainer, but they may not readily perform the behaviors when you ask them to do so.  This is why we do not offer board and train programs or day training.  These programs are a boon for trainers, but generally do not bring about the lasting behavioral change that owners are hoping to see.  Owners must be the primary trainer and develop good two-way communication with their dog as an individual, understanding their needs, desires, and drives.  Let us help you facilitate this and bring about your dog's transformation!

What training methods and equipment do you use?

Eileen Koval/Confident Canines is committed to spreading the idea of force-free training because we believe it helps create a better trained dog who has a deeper connection with their human family.  We use the Humane Hierarchy, developed by ethologist and psychologist Dr. Susan Friedman, to guide our training (see graphic below).  We will NEVER instill fear, intimidate, or use harmful or painful techniques on your dog.  Our training is designed around training useful skills using fun, relationship-building techniques utilizing your dog's preferred reinforcers and natural drives.  We do NOT use shock, choke, or prong collars.  We do NOT use leash or collar corrections.  Our philosophy is that we want your dog's cooperation.  We want him to perform the behaviors willingly, so that he knows how to make good choices.  We want a happy dog who WANTS to work for you.  We focus on showing your dog what behaviors we want, not just what we don't want.  Shock collars and other aversive methods that involve physical or psychological punishments will not help to create this.  That said, we respect your choices of equipment.  If you use a shock collar or other aversive tools outside of lessons, that is your choice, but using such tools could negatively impact the progress of your dog's behavior modification.  These aversive tools or methods are not permitted during training sessions or on Confident Canines property.

Do you use clickers during training?

No, we do not advocate the use of clickers over marking behaviors with our voices, and we do not use them during training.

Do you use treats during training?

We use rewards-based training methods, but that said, a reward is in the eye of the beholder.  For some dogs, the best reward is food, while for others it is praise/petting/playtime/toys.  Your dog chooses what is most rewarding and we use that during training.  We use these rewards to mark the behaviors we want to see repeated to get them in a pattern of performing good behaviors, with a positive association made with performing those behaviors.  Once performing those behaviors becomes a pattern, we fade out the food rewards to just praise, and the occasionally toy or treat.

Do you train all breeds and sizes?

Our team is experienced training both pet and working dogs of all breeds, temperaments, and sizes. 

What is your refund policy?

Clients must click and agree to the following terms and conditions when booking an appointment. 

"By clicking below and booking this appointment, I understand that I am reserving a time and making it unavailable for other potential clients to book and access Confident Canines LLC's services. That said, I understand that there are NO REFUNDS after booking an appointment. Appointments may be rescheduled ONCE if done at least 48 hours in advance of the appointment time. No exceptions. Appointments rescheduled more than once will be charged as a missed appointment.  Dogs displaying human-directed aggression will meet over Zoom with Eileen until safety training and protocols can be established for in-person appointments (at Eileen's discretion). An appointment will be switched to Zoom if Eileen, someone in your home, or one of your dogs is ill. A dog is considered "ill" if they have an illness that is contagious to other dogs (e.g. kennel cough, coccidia, giardia, etc) and have not been cleared by a veterinarian as free of illness, or are unable to partake in normal training activities. If Eileen comes to your home and you or someone in your home is actively showing signs of illness then the appointment will be forfeited and charged as a regular appointment if she chooses to leave early to avoid getting sick.

Please book the correct appointment type. Booking the incorrect appointment type will result in a $25 fee deducted from any refund to cover transaction fees, and any refund will only be issued after the client has booked the correct appointment type.
No refunds are given for cancelled appointments, missed appointments, or appointments that have already taken place.
In cases of inclement weather for outdoor appointments, appointments will be switched to a suitable indoor location, the client's home, or Zoom."


Online courses are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Is my dog suitable for agility training?

Most dogs that try agility enjoy it considerably.  Some are more successful than others in the competition ring, but a blue rosette ribbon is not the crowning achievement for all agility dogs.  It is the growth made during training, the bond made with the owner/handler, the confidence built, and the fun times that were had that are the real achievement for many agility dogs.  That said, your dog may be suitable for agility even if you do not anticipate he will be going to AKC Nationals or Westminster any time soon!  Here is what a dog needs to train agility safely:

  • Healthy weight -- being overweight puts significant stress on the shoulders and joints

  • Normal eye sight

  • Free of current injury​

  • Growth plates must be closed 

    • Growth plates close anywhere from 10-24 months of age, earlier for smaller dogs and later for larger dogs.  Ask your veterinarian for additional information.  They can confirm growth plate closure with x-rays, if needed.​​

    • Puppies' growth can be negatively affected if puppies exercise heavily or undertake exercise with impact.

  • Cannot be aggressive toward people or other dogs

    • Dogs that need it will be given more space at class to be comfortable in close proximity with other dogs or handlers.  Dogs do not have to like other people or dogs, but cannot react aggressively​.  

    • Dogs that are good around people but do not enjoy other dogs may be suitable for private agility lessons.

Are you licensed and insured?

Yes, we have both state and local licensing, and are fully insured.

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