A Fairytale House offers dog training lessons and classes that are all about positive experiences—and fairytale endings, you might say. Headed up by certified trainer Kristina Lotz, A Fairytale House and Kristina are new to Chehalis, but not new to dogs of all shapes and sizes, with any range of issues from puppies learning not to chew to dogs with aggression problems to active dogs learning a sport.

Kristina has spent the bulk of her life learning about and perfecting her dog communication skills. In fact, she is the only Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) within 35 miles of Chehalis. She’s also a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and Dog Writers Association of America.

A Fairytale House Dog Training
Kristina and her youngest sheltie, Merlin, who has competed in conformation, herding and soon rally and agility, all using positive reinforcement methods. Photo courtesy: A Fairytale House.

“I’m professional and keep abreast on all the new ways to train dogs so that you get the best results. This isn’t just my hobby. It’s my passion,” says Kristina. “I am certified through CPDT. It’s been around since 2001 and it’s really the only independent certifying organization for dog training professionals. They make sure that people who are certified through them continue their education. You have to take a test to get certified and you have to have a certain number of training hours. On top of that, every three years, you have to get recertified. In order to do that, you have to take continuing education units.”

While many may think of dog training as something to look to only if you have a dog with behavioral issues, the fact is that dog training classes have tremendous benefit—both to the pooch and the person. Classes can be a lot of fun and are fabulous for bonding with your four-legged family members. And having someone with a bevy of experience behind her makes all the difference.

Chehalis Dog Trainer
A young man learns how training can boost the confidence of shy dogs who may not like men or strangers. Photo courtesy: A Fairytale House.

Kristina has been an animal lover her entire life. She’s always had cats, horses, dogs and other animals around her, but as she moved into adulthood, she majored in English and got her MBA. From there, she tried her hand at office life in public relations and marketing. Even though she worked in PR for a pet company, it wasn’t enough. She wanted to work with animals.

“So I left that job and started working at a doggy daycare,” she says. “That’s where I had a mentor trainer and learned from her, and then became a certified dog trainer. I’ve been training professionally for five years. I’ve been certified for three. That job was great because I worked with every type and breed of dog with every type of issue you could imagine. There were days I would train 20 dogs. Our daycare would have anywhere between 80 and 120 dogs at a time, so I’d see a lot of canine behavior, not just dogs with humans but dogs with other dogs. It was so much fun and I loved it.”

She aims to use positive reinforcement in all of her training techniques, but says that doesn’t mean all dogs learn exactly the same way.

“Just like people, dogs learn differently,” she says. “Some love to work for food, some don’t. So we have a whole wheelhouse of tools and styles that we can use, and we continually tailor lessons—even in group classes—to fit each dog.”

She’s also focused on having fun and believes dogs learn better—and so do you—if everyone is enjoying the lesson. To up the ante on fun in classes, she mixes in games, kid’s activities if there are younger owners in classes, real-life situations, as well as toys and treats. She also keeps class sizes at eight or fewer dog-owner pairs to make sure everyone gets attention and doesn’t have to wait too long to ask questions or interact with the trainer.

A Fairytale House
Dogs learning may stays while owners eat lunch on a restaurant patio. This is a skill taught in Dog Grade School. Photo courtesy: A Fairytale House.

All classes are kid and family friendly, but she hopes to add in some kid-only classes in the future so that the next generation of dog trainers have a chance to hone their skills.

October 2016 will kick off the first round of classes. For these classes, or any in the future, the best way to see what’s on when is to check the class schedule on A Fairytale House’s website or give Kristina a call.

The initial round of classes will include a bit of everything, from Puppy Kindergarten, to Gym Class, to Beginning Rally. While some classes like Puppy Kindergarten are aimed at basic training and obedience (and not chewing your shoes into oblivion), others like Gym Class and Rally are for active dogs. Gym Class serves as kind of a prep for dogs that may go into agility, herding or other sports and Kristina says it’s one of her favorite classes for how fun it is and the wide array of skills it covers. Beginning Rally is also a great option for active dogs, no matter the breed.

A Fairytale House
In Gym Class, puppies and dog work on body conditioning, awareness, self-control and get exposure to all kinds of equipment, including some agility, in Fairytale House’s new training facility. Photo courtesy: A Fairytale House.

A Fairytale House aims to give back to the communities around it in more ways than happy dogs, though. As a passionate animal lover, Kristina is in talks with a local rescue to make sure dogs looking for homes are more likely to find—and keep—them.

“The plan is to have something called a Fairy Grant,” she says, “so that every time someone comes to one of my classes, a portion of their class fees will go to a Fairy Grant. Fairy Grants will allow dogs in shelters to get trained for free. Believe it or not, a lot of trainers usually charge rescues and shelters to train the dogs they’re fostering. I find it kind of weird since the point is to save these dogs’ lives and training is a huge part of that. My plan is to have the fosters or volunteers bring the dogs to the group classes so they can get trained and get adopted quicker. The other part is keeping them in their new homes, so I’m hoping to also offer free or discounted classes to new owners.”

A Fairytale House serves Lewis, Thurston and Mason counties, but is based in Chehalis right off of I-5.

A Fairytale House
You can also find A Fairytale House on Facebook.

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