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FoRCE-FREE Dog Training


Here at Hikin’ Hounds we use only force-free training techniques when working with you and your dog. The training will be enjoyable for both you and your best friend and be an extra bonding experience that will bring you closer together! 

As well as having a BSc in Animal Behaviour and Physiology our trainer, Valerie van Breugel, studied for 2 years at the Academy for Dog Trainers, which is considered to be the Harvard of all dog-training schools, to gain a comprehensive education in science-based dog-training techniques. 

If your dog is lacking in certain basic obedience behaviours, like coming when called, polite greetings, sits, stays, waits, not pulling on leash etc, we use consequence-based, positive-reinforcement training to teach him which behaviours work and when. Dogs do what works so, if we can control whatever is motivating them at the time (be that food rewards, attention from us, access to other dogs, toys etc), we can sculpt their behaviours by rewarding the behaviours we like and withholding the rewards to get rid of the behaviours we don’t like. Most dog “problems” (like digging, chewing and jumping up) are normal and natural dog behaviours, we just need to teach our dogs when and where these behaviours are appropriate and when they are not. It’s all about letting dogs still be allowed to be dogs but setting up boundaries so that we can all live together happily!

For dogs with behavioural issues that are based more on fears, aggression and stress in certain situations or to certain triggers we use an association-type training that gets to the underlying emotion that is causing these issues (like fear of kids, body-handling, dislike of wearing a muzzle or being in a crate, stranger aggression etc). By associating the things they feared/disliked with something they absolutely love (like super, duper yummy treats!) they will, over time, learn to love these things too as they will always predict that something great is coming their way. Dogs are great dot-connectors so if they learn that the scary thing always mean that they are going to get steak then the scary thing won’t be so scary anymore! There are important rules to follow so don’t try this without a qualified trainer but if you have a dog with any fear or aggression issues we will be happy to help so that you are your furry friend can live a happier, more stress-free life together.


Puppy Training

Congrats on your new puppy! Now is the time to set you and your new puppy up for success with a good foundation of basic obedience behaviours as well as techniques to prevent unwanted behaviours from popping up later. We offer one-one-one training sessions or group puppy classes.                                                                    


Behaviour Consulting

Does your dog: jump up on people? Guard his food bowl? Show fear or aggression to other dogs/people? Get stressed out when left alone? We offer one-on-one private counselling sessions to help you and your dog work through these and other behavioural issues in a positive and effective way.                             


In-home Training

Does your dog need extra training for some issues that you are just not comfortable dealing with yourself or maybe your busy schedule does not allow you the time? We can come to your home and train your dog for you. Once we feel your dog has mastered the training we will transfer the knowledge and techniques to you.