Mutts Have Fun uses scientific, positive reinforcement methods to train dogs and their human guardians. Other terms associated with our methods are clicker training, force free, non-violent communication, and behavior modification. We teach you to observe your dogs closely, so you know what might trigger fear, excitement, or stress; what relaxes your dog; and what is rewarding and fun for your dog. Our training helps teach you how to “fill your dog’s emotional cup.” See the awesome poster from Sarah Owings and Lili Chin below.
Our approach is to teach your dog what behaviors you want and reinforce him for offering those behaviors willingly, rather than using force, nagging or yelling “NO NO NO!” Reading your dog’s body language and providing your dog with choice are important aspects of our approach.
We also help you learn to manage your environment and set your dog up for success. For instance, it may be easier to put your delicious pizza out of reach than to leave it on the low coffee table and train your sweet, cheese-loving puppy not to eat it. (See exit 2 on the diagram below – this is called “antecedent arrangements” in the behavior world and by training nerds).
We do not use intimidation, force, pain or fear. This includes “alpha rolls”, shock collars, prong collars or choke collars, among other tactics. (This is positive punishment).
My goal is for you and your pup to have fun during the training process. Even though training is a commitment that takes effort and time, I hope you look forward to our sessions. By educating you and applying positive reinforcement in working with your dog, I seek to foster lifelong trust, improved communication between you and your dog, and joy in your relationship together.
Services offered include: walk and train (or hike and train), in-home private sessions and day training (where I come work with your dog alone).
About Anna Wong
Certified Training Professional, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP)
Assistant Trainer, East Bay SPCA
Board President, Humane Dog Training Advocates
I grew up with a fat, sweet cat named Peaches, who was born a month later than me. I’ve always loved animals, but my interest in dog training began after I adopted my first puppy, Kempie. I was introduced to positive reinforcement training through a puppy kindergarten class at the East Bay SPCA and was hooked.
Fast forward many years…While Kempie is almost perfect in my opinion, I have to admit…she hasn’t been the easiest of pups. As a result, she has been one of my best teachers. In my journey, I have taken additional training classes and hired private trainers to coach me in working on specific issues with her such as reducing fear, “resource guarding”, and helping her be more social with other dogs.
Everything I learned about behavior modification was so fascinating that I enrolled in KPA’s Dog Trainer Professional course, where I earned my professional certification. I’m now an Assistant Trainer at the East Bay SPCA where my training journey began, in addition to running Mutts Have Fun.
I am dedicated to continuously improving my knowledge base and skills through coursework, reading, attending conferences and getting coached by more experienced trainers. (See a selected list of my ongoing professional development.) By rotating between the roles of professional trainer, client, and student, I seek to provide concrete assistance to my clients, be compassionate with the people and dogs that I work with, and be a lifelong learner.
Outside of my life training dogs, I have advocated for over a decade to make our youth and adult criminal justice systems more humane and equitable. My dream is to bring together my passion for working for social justice with my love of dogs and dog training.
There are already a handful of excellent programs that work with people in prison to train rescued shelter dogs so they are more adoptable, as well as service dogs. If you want to check a few of these out that are in California, see Paws for Life K9 Rescue and Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs.
These programs save human and canine lives and quality of life is greatly improved for each person who receives a service dog.
People inside prison get a chance to develop loving relationships with the dogs they care for, learn dog training and behavioral change skills, and to give back to people outside the prison walls. In this way, they help the public understand that “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done” — a quote I love from Bryan Stevenson.
“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
To extend this impact, my vision is to make living-wage jobs in the dog training field more accessible to people coming out of prison. I have lots of ideas about how to do this which will continue to evolve over time. If you’re interested in learning more about this part of my work, let me know…I’d love to have a conversation about it.
In the immediate future, my focus is on training you and your dog through Mutts Have Fun. I look forward to our work together!