COVID-19 update: We are OPEN. Please read my blog post regarding the coronavirus and how it affects your dogs and cats.
(In Certified dog behaviorist/dog trainer’s home facility)
List of all recommended dog and pet products
Our dog trainer Los Angeles boot camp includes boarding and training and is designed for dogs that have special needs or require extra work in certain problem areas. Also if you’re dog parents with busy schedules that don’t have the time or expertise to work with your dog, drop your pet off with renowned certified behaviorist and trainer Russell Hartstein CDBC, CPDT for dog boot camp, training, and boarding for one week or longer to give them the best education a family and dog can get!
Your dog boot camp will comprise of, dog training, behavior modification, and dog boarding. Dog boot camp will take place in a private, spacious, impeccably clean home, with one-on-one,100% undivided personal care and attention taught by a master Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) (fewer than 200 worldwide!) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT).
This is a one of a kind, first-class, highly specialized, catered, customized, and comprehensive service where each program is designed specifically to meet the needs of each individual pet and family. Each package will include the following fear-free, positive reinforcement dog training, and behavior modification methods depending on your pet’s needs: Classical conditioning, operant conditioning, desensitization, counterconditioning, socialization, enrichment, integration, habituation, generalization, proofing, stimulus control, fluency, basic, mid and advanced level obedience methods and your pet’s customized behavior modification program. For many other answers to your questions please see our Los Angeles Dog Boot Camp FAQs below.
Although your dog will receive hours of intensive daily hands-on training lessons and behavior modification, our love for dogs and ambition to train and rehabilitate each dog successfully typically has us putting in many more hours of behavior modification and dog training. Los Angeles pet parents can rest easy, knowing that during your absence, your pet will receive:
Our dog boot camp training addresses all behavior problems and issues including but not limited to:
Please use this table to jump to a specific FAQ section below.
For our Los Angeles, dog boarding and training boot camp program, we serve the Malibu, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), Santa Monica, Venice, West Side, Manhattan Beach, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Hollywood, Palos Verdes, San Fernando Valley, and all over greater Los Angeles, however, dog parents bring us their dogs from all over the world. We have trained puppies and dogs of all ages in our boarding and training program for presidents of countries, celebrities, CEOs, government officials, embassies, military, police dogs, and pet dogs from around the globe.
Dog boot camp and boarding and training go by many names such as dog training camp, puppy boot camp, dog boarding school, dog training and boarding, dog boot camp, boarding and training, dog training camp, puppy camp, overnight dog training, residential dog training, intensive dog training, dog boot camp near me, etc. For ease, we call it, Dog Boot Camp, or refer to it as Boarding and Training. Despite all of the name variations, what they all mean are very similar, that your dog stays in someone else’s home or dog training facility and trains in their space, under their care and supervision, not in your home or under your care and supervision.
That is an excellent and very important question. We have been training and boarding dogs for decades! This is such an important topic because your dog’s health is at stake when choosing the right dog trainer and boarding facility. Trust and expertise are some of the most important factors to look for in a certified dog trainer and behaviorist. Your pet will be out of your sight and care, so knowing that the expert trainer and pet care provider is extremely trustworthy, knowledgeable, experienced, and Certified fear and force-free trainer is vital.
Your beloved pet is not under your supervision and you don’t have any idea how your dog is being treated, trained, or if they are even being trained at all! It requires a leap of faith that all caring pet parents should be concerned about.
At Fun Paw Care, our entire schedule revolves around your dog’s board and train classes. Because each dog is an individual and needs unique individual care and treatment, we cater to those unique qualities to make sure your dog is successful, comfortable, safe, stress and fear-free, happy, and in an optimal learning environment while in our care. How we do this may entail creative environment management/antecedent arrangments, or setups such as customized dog walking and training schedules during odd hours, training dogs with variable lighting conditions, acoustics, olfaction, times, environments, around different types of animals or people, with different breeds, ages, sizes and play styles of dogs. We address all areas of a dog’s somatosensory system and leave no stone unturned by addressing a dog’s ontogeny, psychology, emotion, cognition, and physiology with different types of equipment, props, positive reinforcement dog training, and behavior modification techniques, etc.
No two dogs in our board and train program are the same and dogs require a great deal of specificity which is why it is so time and expertise intensive. We are so successful in analyzing and treating dog training and behavior problems because of our vast experience, education, expertise, and working with thousands of dogs’ behavior problems, emotional and psychological issues, and all breeds and mixed breeds.
This unique advantage combined with our education and certifications in applied behavior analysis (ABA) for companion animals (canines and felines) makes us uniquely positioned to offer and help any behavior and training problem, even the most troubled and severe behavior cases where you may have seen several trainers and behaviorists before are successful when they stay with us for boarding and training.
One person day and night! A renowned pet expert, author, and certified dog trainer and behaviorist Russell Hartstein CDBC, CPDT will be training and working with your dog directly.
Regardless of your dog’s behavior issues or condition, we only recommend and use fear-free, force-free, science-based, efficacious techniques with love, care, and acumen. Many factors contribute to our dog behavior and training protocols. Much will depend on your individual dog’s training and behavior problems, and a myriad of other factors and issues, some of which are your family’s needs, your dog’s temperament, personality, age, health, medical history, preferences, breed, emotional state, and ontogeny, etc.
Regardless of the needs of each dog, the training methods are always force-free, fear-free and the trainer should be certified by accredited independent organizations. A trainer or behaviorist should never use or recommend any punitive equipment such as a vibration collar (aka shock collar) a choke chain or a pronged collar under any circumstances. Instead, equipment such as a front attaching dog body harness, head harness and muzzle may be used humanely and much more effectively. They should never practice dominance theory at all or follow the advice or be associated with any reality TV show host.
Here are some questions to ask the owner and certified behaviorist and trainer (they should be the same person, and not a franchise or multi-location facility) before you start your Los Angles dog boarding and training boot camp.
The more problem behaviors that are present and the more intense the behaviors, the longer your dog should stay for boarding and training because each behavior is most successful when worked on individually and some behavior modification protocols are incompatible. Dogs suffering from severe separation anxiety disorder will be suited or recommended to stay for dog boarding and training with the support of psychopharmaceuticals. Without supportive medication, boarding and training may make extreme cases of separation anxiety worse, not better.
Questions your trainer and behaviorist will likely ask you prior to your dog’s boot camp.
The longer a dog stays in our boarding and training Los Angeles California home with continuous and consistent training the more ingrained and conditioned good behaviors become and the more fluent the dog becomes in performing those behaviors in all environments. The same principle applies for the reduction of a dog’s anxiety and fear.
Although not linear, there is a direct correlation between time/practice to learning/conditioning. Meaning a dog will generalize there newly learned dog obedience skills and behaviors, and the habituation, counterconditioning, and desensitization work done to reduce their fear, anxiety, and stress to carry over into your home environment the longer they are in boot camp practicing. After all, what good is it if your dog behaves in a dog trainer’s boot camp facility if the dog reverts to the same old bad behavior in your home environment?
Puppies and dogs come to us with a gamut of issues. Often a new pet parent is overwhelmed with raising a puppy and need to learn the basics of puppy 101 as soon as possible. Other times parents don’t have the time, expertise, or specialty to ensure 100% perfect puppy potty training to stop accidents from happening in the home. Potty training can be exhausting and training a dog when and where you want them to eliminate can be extremely time-consuming.
More so if the dog is not a puppy but an adolescent or adult dog that was adopted with learned house training preferences. Some dogs learn to never pee or poo in front of people or never to go potty while on the leash (or both), others learn to go only after out for a two-hour walk, at the last minute before going inside, while other dogs will not eliminate in front of people or while on a leash. All of these are fixable with time, dedication, and expertise.
We work on puppy training and obedience in our puppy boarding and training courses, which often involves puppy behaviors such as biting, nipping, excess barking, and separation distress. We teach puppies how to self-soothe, all obedience behaviors, sit, down, stay, loose leash walking, healing, and focusing on the handler. In addition to relaxation and deference protocols. We amp up our socialization, counterconditioning, and desensitizing for any fearful puppy and spend lots of time changing fearful experiences, triggers, and stimuli to wonderful experiences where the puppy now looks forward to the previous scary object, person, animal or situation.
For all of our training and boarding services, we also teach the parents daily about what we worked on that day and provide supporting information for them to rely on when the puppy goes back to living with you in your home.
For our adolescent, adult, and senior dogs, we teach all of the above and much more. We train obedience at our board and train school. We train all breeds, ages, and life stages of dogs and a dog is never too young or too old to learn!
We also work with serious life-threatening behaviors such as aggression, biting people, biting dogs, reactivity, chasing moving object, (cars, skateboards, bikes, etc) we work with canine compulsive disorders (CCD), resource guarding, fence fighting, barrier frustration, leash reactivity, under enrichment, malnutrition or inappropriate nutrition and a variety of overall fear, anxiety and stress behaviors and training problems and disorders.
Lots! But equally if not more important is what you will learn about your dog and how to work with your dog when they are returned to you. Both dogs and parents learn simultaneously. The training and behavior your dog learns depend on too many factors to list. Some of which are, your dog’s behavior and medical history. However, your dog’s motivation is more important than a dog’s intelligence.
We ask that a parent choose 2-3 primary behaviors that are most problematic and then we work from that starting point. If the behaviors are incompatible to be worked on simultaneously we will inform you.
For example potty training and obedience, training or any other behavior modification protocols are not compatible with house training until potty training is engrained more fully. This is because to set your puppy up for perfect potty training success, we must have complete control over all aspects of their intake (hydration, treats, and food.) What goes in must come out and we have your puppy on a strict routine and time frames according to their ages, sex, activity level, training, and time of year. If we were to train other behavior protocols during your puppies potty training, it would conflict with their strict schedule of hydration, food, and treats.
Because we use food and treats to change behavior and for obedience training, any work feeding your puppy in those areas would throw off their pee and poop cycle detrimenting their potty training.
Obedience training, behavior modification, socialization, counterconditioning, and desensitization involve, feeding your dog often throughout the day. This would also cause your puppy to be thirsty and throw off their urination schedule as well. As you can see, other protocols would conflict with potty training. Therefore some protocols such as potty training are practiced mostly by themselves, while many other protocols may be worked in conjunction with each other.
Each dog is an individual and the process is a dynamic ever-changing one. There are no guarantees and the success of any training program is contingent upon pet parent compliance. Training is a process that takes time, patience, consistency, and dedication.
Until we work one-on-one with your dog, no ethical trainer or behaviorist would give a guarantee or an accurate estimate of how long it would take for your dog to learn to be trained or learn a behavior.
We do provide some guarantees but not on when what or how long it takes for your dog to learn. On average most parents leave their dogs with us for three weeks for Boarding and Training. This article explains the science of dog training, the learning curve, and the family participation requirement more thoroughly.
Dogs and parents can learn a ton in one week but the longer your dog stays in puppy training and boarding the more you will both learn and the stronger your dog’s appropriate behaviors become. The more time, the more conditioning and iterations we practice and the more ingrained behaviors become. For perspective, service dogs take months or years to train including their public access and puppy training components to get to a service dog level of fluency and proofing.
Also, there are a myriad of questions that are gathered before your dog’s board and train service. Some questions will be gathered before your dog’s training and others will be gathered during their boarding and training classes through direct experience and observation.
Most of the time what a parent describes as (dog aggression, dog playing, dog happiness, dog sadness, dog depression, or my dog doesn’t have any obedience, my dog is stupid or stubborn, my dog is potty trained, my dog doesn’t like toys, my dog can’t be trained, my dog is well trained and knows how to sit, down, stay, etc.) are all not the case when we begin working with the dog directly.
Parents love and mean well but are not experts in dog behavior and training, we are. Therefore most parents’ assessments of their dog’s behavior, cognition, and emotional state are often misevaluated.
Therefore when pet parents say they want us to stop their dog from barking, jumping on people, pulling on the leash, biting people or dogs, being aggressive to people, dogs or cats, or requests to stop my dog from being fearful and from having separation anxiety disorder, or having general dog anxiety issues many of the issues and problems do not exist or the causes of the underlying behavior issue end up being rooted in emotional, behavioral, psychological, medical conditions, a combination of these or in complete other areas.
When we evaluate a dog’s behavior, the dog has different underlying issues and many times the problem behaviors that a parent wanted us to work on are not the most important or aren’t issues at all in our home. We address the root of the behavior problem. After addressing the root cause of the problem (typically fear, stress, and anxiety) we teach alternative appropriate behaviors and new positive conditioned emotional responses (CER). Many times, addressing what the parent wants doesn’t always lead to positive behavior change.
It is because of this and many other factors that a dog’s behavior and training must be experienced by the behaviorist and trainer directly, to see what is stressing your dog and causing them anxiety, fear, and stress or why they are behaving in a way that is not desired by the parents. Expert behaviorists and trainers need to experience what is going on firsthand with your dog in our care, away from the parents that may be contributing to the underlying behavior problem. This way we can thoroughly evaluate your dog’s behavior, health, and training and reduce problem behaviors and teach new appropriate behaviors instead.
It is imperative not to create more fear, anxiety, and stress but instead to work to reduce any underlying fear and build trust, love, connection, confidence, safety, and communication.
Ultimately, from fear-free foundational relationship-building exercises cultivated throughout your dog’s boarding and training time with us your dog’s understanding goes up and their fear goes down, enabling them to learn obedience training and many other cues and behaviors in a comfortable, optimal, enjoyable and loving environment where they look forward to learning and wanting to please.
My goal is to educate and teach the dog and family simultaneously, as quickly as possible as you are the ones living with your dog and need to understand how, why, when, and what to do in order to effect change. This is also the most cost-effective method.
It depends on many factors! Too many to list, especially without speaking with you or meeting your beloved pet! How much do you want your dog to learn? How many behavior problems are present? How food motivated is your dog? Does your dog get diarrhea easily? Can they healthily eat a wide variety of foods and treats? How old is your dog and how long have you had your dog are some of the many factors that go into that answer. However, after the first week, we can give you a more accurate answer to that question.
The average time spent in our Los Angeles board and train school is three weeks. Some service dogs stay for months and some puppies or dogs with minimal issues stay 7 days. The minimum amount of time a dog may stay for boarding and training is for 7 days/6 nights. Our Los Angeles dog training and boarding programs are designed this way to optimize your dog’s learning process and experience.
After your puppy stays for training and boarding for at least 7 consecutive days, they may stay in any daily increment you like.
No. Sorry if that gives your separation anxiety 🙂 but it’s best for your dog. This is for many reasons, some of which is that your dog is conditioned to behaving differently and inappropriately around familiar family members. It would not be helpful to break your dog’s continuity, and consistency and your dog’s learning process for them to be interrupted during their carefully laid-out training schedule and routine. For your dog to learn optimally it is best to be patient and allow them to take full advantage of this unique boarding school experience to learn from the best in the most efficient way possible.
That depends on each training and boarding facility. Regardless if you are flying to Los Angeles with your pet or are a local LA resident, Fun Paw Care recommends that you have your dog’s food and treats preferences dialed-in to get your dog or puppy up and learning from day-one as soon as you drop them off.
To speed up your dog’s learning process as much as possible and to ensure your puppy gets the most out of their boot camp experience, make sure you have thoroughly explored your dog’s food reward hierarchy and have appropriate size, shape, texture, and palatability of treats your dog has a history of loving.
Make sure that your dog does not have diarrhea prior to arrival and when eating a variety of foods. Know what dog training foods and ingredients agree with and don’t agree with your dog. If we have to experiment with foods, ingredients, and treats your dog will likely get diarrhea. If your dog gets diarrhea, all other protocols halt to ensure your dog gets back to healthy stool and has perfect potty training and no defecation in the home or crate. This can be very time consuming if your dog has an upset stomach and has to be walked at all hours of the day and night.
So make sure to fully understand your dog’s pallet, and what dog training treats work and doesn’t work prior to your dog’s boot camp.
Our advice is to try several (at least a dozen) different types of soft, small, malleable, easy to ingest dog training treats of a wide variety of ingredients. Only use dog training appropriate food treats. In other words, do not use brittle, dry, crunchy, too large, soft, or liquidy (peanut butter or cream cheese, for example, would not be good) training dog treats. Nor would cooked salmon or other foods that are too soft or wet such as baby food, sardines, nut butter, squirt cheese, etc.
Make sure the consistency, malleability, size, and digestibility is all congruent with dog training. If there are issues with the training foods and treats when we receive a dog or puppy the priority will be focused on finding the foods that are suitable for your dog and that will take priority over all other behaviors and training because food is the main motivator and reward system that we use to teach, train and change behaviors. Those fundamental food sources and treats must be known about and supplied when you drop off your puppy or we will spend lot’s of time exploring this area.
If we have to order them and experiment with any of the above that will significantly delay the learning of your dog and the practice of all other dog training and behavior modification protocols. The exception is that some parents drop their dogs off for boarding and training wanting us to find and explore the foods that their puppy dog can eat. That is a protocol all unto itself and is also an option that takes time and a great deal of effort as many dogs get diarrhea from the process.
If a parent drops off their dog not knowing what training foods their dog likes and can healthily digest without giving them diarrhea or upsetting their stomach, or if a puppy has an all you can eat buffet or free feeding choices directly before being dropped off and isn’t hungry for the rest of the day, these factors would delay their learning process.
Ideally, a puppy is hungry because we will feed your puppy the daily allocation of their food with their training and behavior modification work. We primarily use food rewards to motivate puppies, teach new behaviors, and to change old behaviors.
In addition to having your puppy ready on the food and treats side of the equation, have all of their belongings ready to go, listed under our dog boarding Los Angeles and will be sent to you before your service.
This is one of the most common questions we get along with, is your dog boot camp cage-free or do you use crates? While meaning well, these are the wrong questions to ask a behaviorist about the dog boot camp facility. Instead, ask how are dog crates used (or not used) during your dog’s boarding school.
It’s important to understand that a dog crate is a tool just like a pair of running/hiking sneakers, a dog leash, or harness. Crate free dog boarding is no healthier than using a dog crate. It depends on how every tool is being used. Each dog is boarded in an impeccably clean and safe certified professional dog trainers home with every detail designed specifically for your dog’s success and senses (not a kennel or commercial dog boarding and training facility) one-on-one with a certified trainer and behaviorist.
A dog crate should never be used as punishment or villainized. Used properly, a dog crate is a dog’s Zen environment where your dog loves going to and has no fear, anxiety, or stress around. Many dogs love small dark areas where they feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. Contrary to a popular belief dog crates are safe, fun, effective, and preferred by most dogs.
When you see a boarding facility or trainer use the terminology “Crate-free dog boarding or cage-free dog boarding” for web clicks and marketing purposes it shows how little the business/individual knows about the most basic fundamentals of canine behavior and cognition. It is an advertisement of ignorance and attempting to cater to the emotions of a pet parent and not the biological and behavioral preferences of the dog.
Dog crates for dog boarding and training boot camp are used if the dog has no aversion or negative conditioning to it. There are a plethora of new luxury dog beds located throughout my Boot Camp home as well as the bed where I sleep and the couch where I sit. Crate doors are typically left open and a dog is free to come and go as they please. Crates are vital tools when working with behavior problems such as puppy potty training, traveling safely, at the veterinarian’s office, and help teach many other training and behavior skills.
Dog crates are valuable tools that should represent a safe, comfortable, and stress-free area that dogs choose to go into just as we choose to sit on a couch, chair, or bed (all of which dogs are free to stay on when boarding and training with Fun Paw Care.) Dog crates have unfortunately become misunderstood and used as a marketing ploy because the dog training and behavior industry is unfortunately unregulated. Much more on that under, How to choose a certified professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
Los Angeles Boot Camp is a fully customized service. If you prefer videos, pictures, writing, texts, or verbal communication more than another form, please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate. We do not assume or provide all types of communication.
Over the years written communication has proven most successful. Also, I would prefer to have everything in writing so that a parent has adequate notes, links, analysis, and resources day-by-day throughout a pet’s boarding and training program.
Of equal value are an expert certified dog behaviorist’s custom-tailored resources, recommendations, and teachings for the parent/s.
We base our communication focus and choices on the feasibility, efficacy, safety, and functionality of the modality of communication. Shooting pictures and videos of your pet during their training and behavior modification protocols – with the exception of the pictures and videos that I provide that do not put a dog in danger or teach them inappropriate behaviors – are most of the time inappropriate and dangerous for your pet, the trainer and the public. Also, videoing protocols may set your pet up for failure and does not optimize their time with me.
For most parents, all types of communication whether via phone, written reports, texts, links, pictures, videos, or emails are even more important than the hands-on work.
My number one concern is always the safety of your pet and everyone that comes into contact with them. If videos/images can not be taken of your pet’s training and behavior modification protocol they will be described in detail with supporting documentation and if available, videos of other dogs will be provided.
My main goal is to provide the best service possible to help the pet and parent the most I can in the safest way possible while a dog is in my care. I take this honor and trust bestowed upon me very seriously.
Most request as long as it is safe and healthy for the pet can be accommodated if mentioned beforehand.
Russell is a gifted trainer. Thank you for your dedication and compassion for training & helping homeless dogs.
Dr. Jane Goodall
…Russell is sweet and very effective when handling my very different dogs and I have seen amazing dog training and behavior results since their introduction. If you are looking for someone who has the utmost respect for your animal, is prompt and courteous, and values education and safety above all else, Fun Paw Care is the last place you need to look.
TED Talks Founders, Vanessa Wurman, and family
Russell is not only one of my dearest friends, but the guru of dog training, behavior and all things dog!
Thank you so much Russell for your help and dog magic!
Alan Faena & Ximena Caminos
Thank you for all of your help and the best dog training…Brilliant! Love & Light
Naomi Campbell & Vladislav Doronin
Thank you so much for your dog training and behavior services. We really appreciate your generous dog training donation to our event and foundation.
Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union
You are so impressive; I cannot believe how much you know about dogs and how fast the dogs are learning. Thank you for training our dogs and helping us!
The Bee Gees, Barry Gibb and family
I’ve not seen a trainer with his level of experience and ability in my almost 20 years of practice in South Florida. For the people and pets that make up the VCA Animal Hospital family, there’s no one we trust more with dog training, care and behavior issues than Russell and Fun Paw Care…
Dr. Mike Tenzer, VCA Animal Hospital
As a veterinarian I have known Russell for some years… His dedication, professionalism, depth of knowledge and passion for animals are evident…The techniques he utilizes and teaches are clear and effective… I am over the moon to have his help and will not hesitate to recommend Fun Paw Care to all my clients, family and friends.
Dr. Lori Walter
Wow, Russell is proof that you don’t need to have a heavy hand for dogs to learn quickly. You’re amazing, we’re converted! Thank you so much, for your help.
Gabrielle Anwar & Shareef Malnik
What an amazing change you have made in our lives and the lives of our little Pekinese, Lulabelle!! We had many trainers over the last 3 years before meeting you. We consider it a miracle that we met you…
Dr. Carol K. & Lulabelle