From 8 week old puppies to older dogs needing a reminder in their manners, our obedience lessons are informative and FUN! Scroll to the next section down to learn more about our positive reinforcement methods and curriculum.
Built on the same skills as drug detection, search and rescue, and bomb detection work, this super fun set of classes will blow your dog's mind! If your dog has a nose, he can succeed at this game. Learn more by scrolling down two sections.
If you are interested in preparing your dog to visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools, etc, we can help get you going the right direction. Please scroll to the bottom of the page for details!
"Clicker Training is an animal training method based on behavioral psychology that relies on marking desirable behavior and rewarding it. Desirable behavior is usually marked by using a "clicker", a mechanical device that makes a short, distinct "click" sound which tells the animal exactly when they're doing the right thing. This clear form of communication, combined with positive reinforcement, is an effective, safe, and humane way to teach any animal any behavior that it is physically and mentally capable of doing."
Thanks to www.clickertraining.com for that great definition! Want more details? Click on over to the site!
Will is one of just three Karen Pryor Certified Training Partners (KPA-CTP) in Montana. What's that mean, you ask? It means he has undergone extensive training with the premiere clicker training academy in the world. Yes, the WORLD.
The comprehensive program from which he graduated (with High Honors, BTW), offers an in-depth curriculum that teaches both the science and the practice of dog training in particular and animal training in general, client teaching, and canine behavior problem-solving. This program is based on the most up-to-date behavior science and modern training and teaching practices.
What that means for you is that you will have an instructor who understands the science behind the method and can teach you that knowledge so that you can successfully communicate with your dog. If he runs into a snag, he has a rich library of resources to which he can turn to help figure out how to help you.
Will is also very active in earning Continuing Education Credits. He is currently working through a (surprise, surprise!) Nosework course. He also attends the yearly Clicker Expo for up-to-date information, seminars, and products.
Training dogs is Will's full-time career. He dedicates countless hours to honing his skills and expanding his knowledge. Talk to him for just five minutes, and you'll hear the passion.
Our goal in CMK's training program is not to train your dog. It's to train YOU how to train, communicate with, and fully enjoy your dog's intelligence, energy, and learning potential using positive reinforcement methods. We do not use prong collars, shock collars, or any other aversive tools.
In our pre-Covid world, we offered group classes with up to four dogs in attendance at one time; however, the hoopla changed all that. We continue to offer training classes but have shifted to one-on-one lessons. At this point (April 2021), we still have just the personal lessons but hope to be able to reinstate group classes as soon as possible. The quickest way to check for updates on this front is on our Facebook page.
Sessions last 4 weeks, at which point it is your choice to continue with your reserved time or surrender it to another student. Will is an amazing teacher and is in high demand, so you may have to wait a bit for an opening. Please give us a call for available times and session cost.
While we do offer board and train services, in general, it is better for your dog for you to teach him desirable behaviors rather than us teaching him and handing him off to you. We have found that dogs are much more successful long term that way. We liken it to an addict - you can send him to rehab, but if his home environment and methods of communication don't change along with him, he will simply regress back into his previous behavior when he returns home. It's very important for you to understand his new needs and ways of communicating in order to keep him from falling off the wagon, so to speak.
Will does accept board and train clients for 30-90 days at a time. These are typically for specific tough situations where safety for both dog and people is an issue. That being said, if you are not in a safety-induced situation and are still interested in board and train, give us a call. Will is happy to discuss what's going on with your dog, what your expectations are, and give individual counsel as to what may be the best approach for training. He can also give you a cost quote and let you know when he has an opening.
Is my dog too old to learn?
The cool thing is, no dog is actually too old to learn new tricks. In fact, sometimes older dogs need to learn new things in order to be dealt with safely regarding health issues. Regularly stimulating the old codger's brain also helps keep him mentally sharp in his golden years.
Is my dog too young to learn?
No! Your puppy has been soaking up information like a sponge since the moment of birth. The younger you start, the better, especially with large breed puppies. It's much easier to teach a 30 lb, four month old Saint Bernard to walk on a loose leash than it is to teach a 140 lb, one year old Saint Bernard to not drag you across the parking lot.
Will I be stuck carrying around a clicker and treats forever?
Nope! You will teach your dog using an audible marker and a reward, then wean him off as the new skill becomes a learned behavior.
I have a couple of very specific behaviors I want to address. Can I do just those things?
Our method of training is all about communication. Once you learn the basics of positive reinforcement communication, you can apply what you know to specific behaviors you either want to change or learn. We can help you with those steps.
Can you train my dog while he is there for a short stay or day care?
Nope. We do NOT formally train while a dog is in attendance at day care or while he or she is staying with us for a weekend. Training a dog simply doesn't work that way! That being said, your pup will learn so much by staying with us - not breaking through a gate, waiting politely for his food bowl, what a regular schedule feels like, how to be confident by knowing where he is supposed to go...all kinds of good things!
Do you have more questions about our training program? Give us a call or shoot us an email!
Nosework (also called K9 Nose Work, Fun Nose Work, Scent Work, Search Work, and Detection) is a sport for pet dogs and their people. The activity is an offshoot of the training that professional scent detection dogs receive (think: bomb detection, drug detection, search & rescue dogs). Elements of the training are used in Nosework, but for recreational purposes only.
Nosework encourages your dog to use its natural hunting drive and unique talent for picking up scents and locating the source. Nosework training teaches your dog to search for, find, and indicate on known odors, wherever you decide to hide them.
Target odors introduced in training are the following:
Birch (“Sweet Birch” aka Betula Lenta)
Anise (“Aniseed” aka Pimpinella Anisum variety – NOT Star Anise, Illicium Verum)
Clove (“Clove Bud” aka Eugenia Caryophylatta or Syzgium Aromaticum)
Some titling organizations use different or additional odors. We can add additional odors at a later date if you would like to compete in one of those organizations.
Nosework is NOT an obedience-based activity. Instead, it works with your dog's natural instinct to hunt and track scents. There are few commands given during the activity, and no attention to the owner is required while the dog is working. Your dog has the keys to the car and is in the driver’s seat. You are just along for the ride.
Nosework is NOT a socializing activity for your dog. It is a time to learn and a time to work. Many dogs who participate in Nosework are aggressive, reactive, nervous or shy.
We offer Nosework classes in two progressive levels. Due to space and setup time, each level meets once a week for six weeks.
Shed Hunting class is also available for those who love an excuse to tromp through the woods with a best friend!
Please contact us for pricing and scheduling.
Before we begin talking about therapy dogs, let's make sure we are on the same page of basic definitions.
Performs particular tasks for a person who cannot perform those tasks on his or her own
Full rights of public access
Focuses on one person only - the handler
Highly trained in obedience, i.e. will never urinate indoors, bark at distractions (other than trained warning signals), or seek attention from others
Full-time working dog, not a pet
Ministers to multiple people at facilities such as nursing homes, rehab centers, schools, etc
High standard of obedience and behavior
Must be invited into facility by facility director/administration
NO rights of public access
Pet with a part-time job
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOG:
Focuses on one person only
NO rights to public access other than housing and transportation
May or may not have any obedience training
Pet prescribed by mental health professional
According to Intermountain Therapy Animals (link provided below), dogs suitable for therapy work display the following characteristics, among others:
If your dog displays the characteristics in the following list, therapy work is probably not a good activity for him or her:
If, after reading through both the ADA definitions and information on the ITA web site, you are still interested, give us a call. We can help you by evaluating you and your dog and working with you on training certain skills needed for testing. When it comes near certification time, we also offer Testing Prep classes, where we do dry runs to practice the actual test.
Also, follow our local therapy dog group's Facebook page, Flathead Area Therapy Dogs, for up to date information about meetings, facility needs, and more.
My relationship with Will and Andrea Brunz started because I wanted to give my puppy Lucy some socialization a couple times a week. In the daycare program, I never feared that Lucy would be placed in a group of dogs that were “out of her league”, even as a 4 month old puppy. Will and Andrea are so skilled at determining the best level and type of interactions for the dogs placed in their care. I would pick Lucy up from daycare and she would be relaxed and tired from a day of playing. Because of our positive experience with daycare, Lucy and I started Will’s “Levels” training program. Our progress has been a steady and fun journey that my dog and I enjoy together. We are learning how to communicate with each other and are planning on continuing through the Levels program with the goal of becoming a Licensed Therapy Dog team. To strengthen our communication skills and our ability to work as a team, as well as keeping Lucy’s brain engaged and sharp, Lucy and I have taken Will’s Nosework classes and enjoy solving the nosework puzzles. I never knew interacting with my dog could be so rewarding.
Everything we have experienced through Columbia Mountain Kennels supports a happy, healthy, ever-growing relationship between dog and owner. I have complete trust in the care and service Will and Andrea provide and cannot recommend them highly enough.
LeAnn Speakman and Lucy
Nosework - is that a workout for your dog? It sure was for Remmie and is a great experience at that. I thought I would try a class for fun and we both got so much more than fun learning the skill of Nosework. Remmie's confidence bolstered and it actually had a calming effect on her overall being. She is not really obedience "trained", but this experience helped her focus on given tasks and what was asked of her. Nosework is an exciting activity for us to share in and so easy to learn! Will's training is positive, hands on, broken down into small, doable steps and super easy to follow. Even if you aren't interested in competition, Nosework will enhance your relationship with your pack mate. Love it, love it!
Renee Sinclair and Remmie