Do you have questions about class?

Synergy focuses on providing the Portland area with unique and innovative classes to help decrease and prevent problem behaviors. Having unique classes does lead to questions about them. We decided to put together the most commonly asked questions about our classes.

Common questions about Synergy Classes…

Why do you use reward-based training methods?
We love the fact that our clients think of their pets as close family members who should be treated with kindness and respect. The process of reward-based training is set up to help treat the underlying motivation for the behavior rather than just addressing the symptoms, which produces the best results for long-lasting behavioral change.

 

Using reward-based methods also minimizes stress during training, which promotes learning. Techniques using rewards create a better bond of trust between you and your pet, especially for learning new skills later on in life.

We agree with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) when they state that using rewards rather than punishment is the standard of care when addressing behavior problems. We also agree with them that dominance as a model for behavioral diagnosis and treatment is outdated, undesirable and misleading.

In our many years of experience, we have seen a great number of negative side-effects of using punishment and dominance-based methodologies including: increased aggression, fears and phobias, bites to people and dogs and destruction of the trust bonds between people and their pets.

If other dogs are barking in my reactivity class, won’t that make my dog more reactive?
Synergy’s classes are structured in such way to help dogs succeed and to minimize their stress during training. In our reactivity classes, dogs are behind barriers and brought out only at times when they are being actively trained to calmly see other dogs. This helps to minimize the chances that dogs in class will bark. However, when other dogs in class bark (or make other stimulating noises) it actually becomes an opportunity for all other participants in class to reward their dogs to form a positive association with the noises and to reward them for their own quiet behavior. We also teach students how to quickly settle their dog down if they choose to bark, and help them succeed in staying calm.
Are all of Synergy’s classes open to reactive dogs?
Most of our classes are either geared towards reactive dogs specifically, or are reactive dog friendly. If you are not sure about whether your dog is suitable for a class, please contact us to ask!
Can I observe a class?
Observing a class can be a great way to see how our instructors interact with students and their dogs, and to get an idea of our training methods. We welcome observers to our classes, so please let us know if you’d like to come and we’ll set out a chair for you! You can see for yourself how quiet and well-behaved the participants can be.
How does Synergy’s class cancellation policy work?
Because we limit our classes to a small number of dogs and demand for these classes is high, registration and payment reserves your place in class. We are unable to provide refunds or class credit once classes have started. For more detailed information please look at our Class Policies page.
When I provide my personal information to you, what happens to it?
The information that you provide to us is held in strict confidence and will not be sold to others for promotional purposes. We do share case information with your veterinarian (to keep them informed about our findings and your progress) was well as any trainer you request for us to share it with, to help in your pet’s behavior therapy program.The email address you provide when you contact us may be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your pet’s specific services, in addition to receiving occasional practice news, updates and information about related products or services. For complete details about the terms for use of our website, our privacy policy and how your information is handled, please visit our Website Use and Data Policy page for more complete information.

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Helping Isabelle (and her mom) find peace

"My Golden Retriever Isabelle, had been showing signs of reactivity at one year old and at the age of two it was worse. I live right by Forest Park, but I couldn’t take her up there, because if dogs came up to her off lead she would lunge and growl. My world became smaller and smaller. Since then we have done more than I could have imagined. I have way more fun and confidence knowing I’m prepared to lead my dog through a more enjoyable life. Its one of those lifetime opportunities that’s life changing."

Jodi Burton

Synergy Behavior Solutions
5.0
2015-05-26T04:43:05+00:00

Jodi Burton

"My Golden Retriever Isabelle, had been showing signs of reactivity at one year old and at the age of two it was worse. I live right by Forest Park, but I couldn’t take her up there, because if dogs came up to her off lead she would lunge and growl. My world became smaller and smaller. Since then we have done more than I could have imagined. I have way more fun and confidence knowing I’m prepared to lead my dog through a more enjoyable life. Its one of those lifetime opportunities that’s life changing."

Dispelling negative stereotypes

"When I found my dog Mollie as a stray...it was obvious she’d had a hard life. She was emaciated and was pretty dog aggressive. We signed up for a class and I was truly amazed at the progress she made! In the months since, I can see how Mollie’s training continues to work for us...Her training with Synergy is really helping her overcome the difficulties of her previous life." Read More...

Andrea Jones

Synergy Behavior Solutions
2015-05-26T04:12:26+00:00

Andrea Jones

"When I found my dog Mollie as a stray...it was obvious she’d had a hard life. She was emaciated and was pretty dog aggressive. We signed up for a class and I was truly amazed at the progress she made! In the months since, I can see how Mollie’s training continues to work for us...Her training with Synergy is really helping her overcome the difficulties of her previous life." Read More...

Dexter enjoys staying calm

"I adopted a cute little mutt, and very shortly thereafter, he began to develop horrible aggression problems toward strangers. It made our lives miserable!...Scott has shown unbelievable insight into the mixed up little brain of my lovable dog. Dexter has come leaps and bounds and it is all thanks to Scott’s wise, persistent, gentle training of both my dog and me! Now, we ride the elevator proudly and my neighbors actually refer to him as “the best behaved dog in our building!” Read More...
Synergy Behavior Solutions
2015-05-26T03:41:05+00:00
"I adopted a cute little mutt, and very shortly thereafter, he began to develop horrible aggression problems toward strangers. It made our lives miserable!...Scott has shown unbelievable insight into the mixed up little brain of my lovable dog. Dexter has come leaps and bounds and it is all thanks to Scott’s wise, persistent, gentle training of both my dog and me! Now, we ride the elevator proudly and my neighbors actually refer to him as “the best behaved dog in our building!” Read More...

Anxiety solutions for dogs, compassion for humans

"I have a four year old dog named McLeod with a lot of energy and anxiety...Dr. Valli made sure we understood this was not a quick fix, but that it will take time, patience, and consistency on our part. I am happy to report we have noticed observable changes (and) we are enjoying our dog more and learning a lot...I would recommend Synergy Behavior Solutions to anyone that has dogs with behavioral issues."

Phillip Brewer

Synergy Behavior Solutions
2015-08-03T21:15:29+00:00

Phillip Brewer

"I have a four year old dog named McLeod with a lot of energy and anxiety...Dr. Valli made sure we understood this was not a quick fix, but that it will take time, patience, and consistency on our part. I am happy to report we have noticed observable changes (and) we are enjoying our dog more and learning a lot...I would recommend Synergy Behavior Solutions to anyone that has dogs with behavioral issues."

Cody gets kindness and care

"Dr. Valli gave us so much information and left me feeling far more confident in the plan...and made me feel that my questions and input were truly welcome. I drove 3.5 hours to see her, and it was worth every minute and then some. I absolutely would use her again and I'm already recommending her to other folks!"
Synergy Behavior Solutions
4.0
2015-02-01T12:45:56+00:00
"Dr. Valli gave us so much information and left me feeling far more confident in the plan...and made me feel that my questions and input were truly welcome. I drove 3.5 hours to see her, and it was worth every minute and then some. I absolutely would use her again and I'm already recommending her to other folks!"

Resolving fear with kindness

"I originally contacted Synergy to help with my fear aggressive dog, Casey and his reaction toward strangers. After three private sessions, Casey’s aggressive reactions towards strangers have improved significantly. Positive reinforcement is both effective as well as fun for the dog, and I would recommend Synergy Behavior Solutions to anyone needing assistance with behavior problems."

Jennifer Ng

Synergy Behavior Solutions
5.0
2015-05-26T05:24:37+00:00

Jennifer Ng

"I originally contacted Synergy to help with my fear aggressive dog, Casey and his reaction toward strangers. After three private sessions, Casey’s aggressive reactions towards strangers have improved significantly. Positive reinforcement is both effective as well as fun for the dog, and I would recommend Synergy Behavior Solutions to anyone needing assistance with behavior problems."

Java tolerates cats and vets

"Java is doing GREAT...she and the cats get along well and she loves to hang out on the back deck and does very little barking. She is increasingly better on the leash and is completely at ease with new people. I am so proud of her and she is a great addition to the household. We sure love her...and I have figured out how to work with her.”
Synergy Behavior Solutions
2015-05-24T03:09:45+00:00
"Java is doing GREAT...she and the cats get along well and she loves to hang out on the back deck and does very little barking. She is increasingly better on the leash and is completely at ease with new people. I am so proud of her and she is a great addition to the household. We sure love her...and I have figured out how to work with her.”

James Gets Guidance

These extraordinary people are for those of us who need help, for those of us who have “had dogs all our lives” and “they’ve all been just fine” – until this dog.

Helen C.

Synergy Behavior Solutions
2017-07-26T19:06:16+00:00

Helen C.

These extraordinary people are for those of us who need help, for those of us who have “had dogs all our lives” and “they’ve all been just fine” – until this dog.

Chad the bad, now the rad!

Chad the Rad says... "A huge thank you to all the folks at Synergy. I have always been scared of other dogs when I first meet them and even a little nervous and over excited when meeting new people. Since I got my owner to take me to the Synergy classes I am not so nervous anymore."
Synergy Behavior Solutions
2015-02-01T12:26:44+00:00
Chad the Rad says... "A huge thank you to all the folks at Synergy. I have always been scared of other dogs when I first meet them and even a little nervous and over excited when meeting new people. Since I got my owner to take me to the Synergy classes I am not so nervous anymore."

Cooper discovers being alone isn’t so bad

"I’m very pleased with how Cooper is doing. He hasn’t shown any signs of destruction...I can’t thank you enough for helping Cooper and I. It has brought even greater peace into our lives."

Jennifer T. – Portland, Oregon

Synergy Behavior Solutions
2015-04-28T04:24:36+00:00

Jennifer T. – Portland, Oregon

"I’m very pleased with how Cooper is doing. He hasn’t shown any signs of destruction...I can’t thank you enough for helping Cooper and I. It has brought even greater peace into our lives."
4.7
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