August 12, 2015

Confidence and Composure

A safe learning space for pups and pooches who need extra support to deal with their environment

The Confidence & Composure program is a unique and comprehensive 3-step program that addresses nervousness, fear and over-reactions (often simply called “leash reactivity”; “reactivity”; or “leash aggression” if their behaviour looks aggressive with barking/lunging/growling) that are most often displayed while walking on a leash. Of course, we all react to things in our environment but for many dogs their reaction is out of proportion to the “thing” they are reacting too.

Dogs that are overly reactive and “aggressive” are often nervous or scared. They need to build their confidence when faced with what they perceive as a “scary thing” and learn new behaviours at the same time.

Some dogs display the same types of behaviours as nervous dogs but are not experiencing negative stress at all.  Rather, they experiencing “positive stress”: they are so excited by the environment that they want it “NOW!” and they are frustrated by being held back by the leash. (Hence the term “leash frustration”.)

Confidence & Composure has a proven track record and was developed here in the Ottawa Valley by master trainer, Paola Hoger of Shake-a-Paw

“Urban life is a reality for a lot of dogs today. Walking calmly on leash is a basic requirement for their everyday lives. Walking our dog is one of the reasons we have them in the first place and it’s supposed to be fun. I want all dog owners to experience a calm and relaxed walk.”

If any of these statements describe you:

  • Are you adjusting your walk time, route or routine just to avoid running into “stuff” that will upset your dog?
  • Are you worried about your dog’s emotional well being?
  • Do you think your dog “loses their mind” sometimes?

Then Confidence & Composure is the place for you! 

Do any of these behaviours describe your dog?

  • Lunging, barking, or growling
  • Intense, over-reaction to ordinary things
  • Nervous, scared, worried, fearful
  • Submissive (this can include “rolling over for a belly rub” with a stranger)
  • shies away (or hides) from someone or something
  • refuses to walk in a given direction or on a certain day

Then Confidence & Composure is the place for you! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Covid-19 Update: virtual consults are available via Zoom as well as private session outdoors while maintaining social distance. Social distance is great for reactive dogs!

Step 1: Book an initial training and assessment appointment ($540) which includes a thorough virtual consult (completed in 1 session or 2 shorter sessions) to fully scope your situation and devise a personal detailed plan for management and training.  Check-in weekly by email or phone while you practice your skills and then schedule a follow up session (generally 2-3 weeks after your initial consult (or when you are ready) in-person outdoors) to tweak your plan, review your skills, and address any areas of concern.

Step 2: Follow your plan!  At your own pace on your own schedule.  This is your journey with your dog so flexibility is key.  When you are ready, book another one-on-one session ($200) or move directly to the specialty group classes (package of 3 classes for $200) to work with 3-4 others who understand your journey.

Step 3*: Keep the momentum going: take your skills on the road in a group setting, join a skill class with “non reactive” dogs, take up a sport, or add in some enrichment (scent work is great for reactive dogs).

Let’s work together. Peaceful and relaxing walks are within your grasp!


*extra charges apply for additional private sessions or group classes. Email for details.