21531 Strathern Street Canoga Park, CA 91304   
(818) 584-7661

Ask the Trainer
Our trainers present a free training seminar every other Wednesday where they will be covering subjects...
Come join us – Check our calendar for dates and times
You can put that trainers are from “its just a dog thing” on both areas.

4 Paws Resort & Spa is pleased to offer training classes for dogs and their humans!  

Whether you have a problem pooch or just want to have a fun time learning new things with your best friend, we have a class for you.

Get your puppy off to the right start!

Did you know that the most crucial period in a dog’s life for determining how he relates to the world around him is before 3 months of age? Early socialization during the first few months of life is extremely important for developing an adult dog that is confident, friendly, and well-rounded. In Puppy Pre-School we will introduce your pup to a variety of sights, sounds, and experiences in a safe, positive environment so that s/he will learn to take new experiences in stride. Your puppy will learn good doggie social skills by interacting with other pups and people, and will be introduced to new experiences such as handling for grooming and vet checkups. You will learn how to deal with common puppy issues such as potty training, chewing, nipping, and more. We will even start teaching basic obedience cues, because it is never too early to learn good manners! In fact, whether you realize it or not, you began training your pup from the moment you brought him or her into your home, so you may as well get your puppy on the right track from the start. Early socialization and education can spare you many behavior problems, which are much easier to prevent than to fix! This class is an excellent starter for puppies who are too young to attend Beginner level training classes.

Prerequisites: Dogs must be between 10-24 weeks old and show proof of current vaccinations.
No prior training is required.

Duration: 4 weeks

Price: $100 (10% discount is offered for Life 4 Paws rescues and 2nd dog in same class)


Beginner level training is a hands-on course where will learn all the basic obedience cues that every dog should know, while having tons of fun! We teach sit, lie down, stay, come when called, leave it, and even help you address unwanted behaviors such as pulling on the leash, jumping up, and mouthing, among others. Our small group classes are a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your best four-legged friend while socializing with other dogs and people. Most importantly, we teach you how to communicate effectively with your dog so that you can strengthen your bond and live together in happy harmony!

This class meets one hour per week for six consecutive weeks in the 4 Paws Resort & Spa training facility.

Prerequisites: All dogs must be at least 16 weeks of age, up to date on vaccinations, and be accompanied by at least one handler.  No prior training is necessary.

Duration: 6 weeks

Price:  $150.00 10% discount is offered for Life 4 Paws rescues and 2nd dog enrolled in same class)


Our Intermediate level group training class is designed to build on the behaviors learned during Beginner level class, as well as teaching valuable new ones. We will help make your dog’s responses to you more reliable in a variety of situations, so that they can remain calm and focused despite the presence of distractions. New behaviors you and your dog will learn include heeling, settling, and fun tricks. This class will help you further strengthen your bond with your best four-legged friend, while solidifying obedience skills!

Prerequisites: Dogs must have successfully completed Beginner level classes, or have an equivalent level of training. Must be 16 weeks or older and show proof of current vaccinations.

Duration: 5 weeks

Price: $125 (10% discount is offered for Life 4 Paws rescues and 2nd dog enrolled in same class)

The Punishment of Positive-Only
Written by Katie Burland Poremba

Credits To Growing Up Guide Pup

Dexter was confused. Scared. Alone. Why was he back here? Would this family never come back for him either?

No. They wouldn’t. Dexter had become one of the millions of dogs relinquished to shelters across the country each year. He could have easily been one of the two million dogs to never leave. He was already on strike two, you see, and he was only ten months old.

What was his crime? Being humongous, young, strong, and silly. That was it. A terminal case of no manners. “Incorrigible,” it was said. Dexter was one of the many silent victims of the R+ movement, which advocates the use of only positive reinforcement in training. He had been turned into the shelter twice, because he was not a dog that responds 100% to R+. Perhaps if he had been taken in hand by a phenomenal R+ trainer with excellent timing and a true talent for training, maybe. Herein lies one of the problems: the average dog owner is not cut out to train a high-drive, incredibly strong, adolescent dog with only R+. These dogs need a little guidance and some boundaries to go along with all that bounce. But because of the prevailing attitudes in most dog training available to the average dog owner, corrections are synonymous to abuse.

The end result is Dexter. A Weimaraner-Viszla mix that was twice relinquished to a kill shelter, because potential death at the end of a hypodermic needle at ten months of age was considered kinder than a leash correction and the word “no.” Many people will tell you that the notion that R+ can cause things like this to happen is a myth. I am here to tell you I own that myth. He’s drooling on my foot as I type. And he’s my service dog. For those of you who don’t know, R+ stands for Positive Reinforcement, which is one of four quadrants of operant conditioning, a learning theory that illustrates that by applying or removing stimuli, you can elicit or extinguish behaviors. The other three quadrants are: negative reinforcement (R-), which is when you remove something in order to increase the likelihood of repeated behavior; positive punishment (P+), which is when you add something that decreases the repetition of a behavior; and negative punishment (P-), where you remove something to decrease a behavior. These four quadrants work together. To use one, without the other three, is a bit like hopping around with your hands tied behind your back to get to the grocery store. Sure, you can do it, but it’s not a very efficient way to travel, and it is far more difficult and time consuming than it needs to be.

Here’s the thing about dog training. Dog training is supposed to involve the human figuring out the drives, motivations, and learning style of a dog, and then putting that all together and communicating with the dog in the language and methodology he, the dog, chooses. That is not how it often ends up working out to be though. All too often, the human uses the exact same strategy for every single dog, and makes no allowance for individuality of the dog. It is a bit like stepping into a classroom in Kansas and proceeding to teach a biology class in French. Sure, maybe the some of the kids know French, but odds are fairly high that most will stare at you with a blank look on their faces.

When some dogs do manage to learn via an inflexible training ideology, it should not be thought of as a glowing endorsement of that ideology, but instead an amazing commentary on the ability of dogs to adapt to a multitude of communication strategies. The flip side is the sad side, because while the successes of an inflexible training ideology are attributed to that training ideology, failures are often prescribed to faults of the dog, or faults of the owner that is trying to execute the training. The shockingly high failure rates of R+ in the community setting lead owners to get discouraged, and dogs end up being the ultimate losers in this situation.

But corrections! They’re abuse, right? No. Dogs correct each other, naturally, all the time. The environment corrects, whether it is the consequence of attempting to eat a porcupine, or being kicked by a horse, or being hit by a car. The real world is full of natural consequences for behavior. Is it not kinder to teach our dog with a harmless correction for attempting to eat a porcupine, chase a horse, or dash into traffic, rather than have the dog experience a far more dangerous natural consequence? Personally, I think so.

I think we do our dogs a great disservice by treating all of them as though they were spun glass, ascribing all of their behaviors to fear, and thinking you will break their spirits and their bond with you if you simply pop the leash and tell them to knock it off. Rover isn’t trying to chase a squirrel because he is frightened. Fluffy isn’t knocking over house guests because she is traumatized. Eventually, many pet owners give up on strategies that are failing them, as R+ requires very specific skills to work, namely excellent timing, a dog that is toy/treat-motivated, and an environment devoid of any stimulation that is more rewarding (like squirrels) than the highest value treat you happen to have on you. R+ trainers are quite simply asking their clients to hop on one foot with their hands tied behind their backs and expecting a graceful result. What they get is clumsy flailing and a pet owner who gives up, tired and frustrated.

And then you get another Dexter. Sad, scared, confused, and wondering what he did wrong.

To quote Anna Sewell, in the book Black Beauty, a book that quite literally started the humane treatment of animals movement… “It’s a pity, that a good horse should go to the bad, for want of a real good chance.”

Let’s give all our dogs a real good chance, and teach them not by the ideology we think they should like best, but by the method that proves to be the most successful, as evidenced by a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dog.

4 Paws Resort & Spa strongly believes that teaching and learning take many forms.  Dogs and humans alike are individuals.  Some learn better with one kind of training while others learn better with another.   

Therefore, our training classes are designed for your dog and for you, the human companion. 

In the world of humans and their dogs, learning is most certainly a team effort. 4 Paws Resort & Spa offers several different methods of training at all levels – beginning, intermediate and advanced.

We also offer puppy socialization classes as well as private training that is customized to your specific needs and requests. For information on our training class schedules please
email us.