By Jennifer Marshall

You love your dog. He’s more than just your best friend; he means the world to you. You love the way he greets you at the door, how he rolls over so eager for belly rubs and how he cuddles you in the night. What you don’t love, though, are his patterns of misbehavior like happily jumping up on everyone he meets and wanting to chase the mail truck.

Fear not—misbehavior doesn’t have to be the norm. For over 10 years, AZ Dog Sports has been transforming dogs into polite canines utilizing positive, science-based dog training methods. Convenient to both Scottsdale and North Phoenix, AZ Dog Sports offers owners access to 15 plus specialty trainers.

“We’re very concerned about people having a companion dog in public that isn’t well-behaved,” said Layne Kizler, AZ Dog Sports’ Managing Partner. “Our pet training is geared towards having a well-behaved dog, which means you can take him to Starbucks or a dog friendly restaurant, and he’ll lay quietly under the table.”

Just as you teach your children proper manners and behaviors at an early age so, too, you should start training your puppies.

Think of AZ Dog Sports as a comprehensive indoor canine gym offering the following activities: Puppy Training, all levels of obedience, behavior, agility, sports, therapy dog training and service dog training.

As the ‘kindergarten’ of dog education, Puppy Training forms the foundation and is the prerequisite for more advanced classes in behavior and obedience. To maximize socialization, they recommend puppy parents enroll their fur babies in class after two sets of shots, which typically translates to about 11 to 12 weeks old.

Human academic learning is achieved by building knowledge one class at a time and one subject at a time. The same principles apply to your canine companions. Once your dog reaches one year of age, it’s time to build on their Puppy Training with Adult Obedience Classes and Activity Classes.

AZ Dog Sports encourages owners to take their dog through the full spectrum of education and training, which culminates with him earning the Urban Canine Good Citizen Certification issued by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This certificate not only represents many hours of hard work by the dog and his handler, but it also paves the way for the dog to gain entry to some hotels and to do off-leash training in specific parks.

“We want owners to have the best relationship and the most enjoyable life possible with their dog,” said Kizler, “and that means having your dog so well-trained that he can go on vacation with you, or you can be in public comfortably together.”

If your dog is misbehaving, you may wish to enroll him in Behavior Classes. AZ Dog Sports offers a Feisty Fido and a Rowdy Rover, which address the most frequent behavioral issues exhibited by dogs. While a naughty and rambunctious dog might ‘look’ funny in movies and on TV, no one wants their dog to misbehave.

“We work with over a dozen nonprofits,” said Kizler “and we do a good deal of pro-bono work to help train dogs to become adoptable in our community.”

Agility Classes are fun as well as an excellent source of exercise for your dog. Whether in search of some adventure with your companion or looking to seriously train your canine for competition, you’ll find a full range of classes both indoor and outdoor.

You just know your dog is the next great doggie athlete. If they held Olympics for dogs, your best bud would easily take home the gold. Sports are exciting for your dog, and the exercise benefits can’t be beat. AZ Dog Sports offers a range of athletic opportunities from Dog Pawkour to Scent Work to Tricks Classes to Treibball Classes.

Outdoor Dog Training Classes are offered in the winter when the weather is suitable. Fresh air and sunshine are healthy for everyone, and the distractions outdoors are great for proofing the cues your dog has learned indoors.

Classes run for one hour each for six weeks with built-in time for practice; think of it like ‘doggie homework’. To be as convenient as possible for their clients, they offer some of the same classes at different times on different days. Each of these classes meet or exceed the standards established by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). For multiple dog homes, they offer monthly memberships with up to 15 classes per month.

If the array of training options listed above doesn’t work for you and your schedule, AZ Dog Sports offers in-home training. This is the perfect solution for super busy families with a new puppy who are struggling with, say, potty training, crate training or boundaries in the home.

In-home training is also effective for multi-dog households. When trainers come into the home, they’re able to observe all canine behavior, which provides them a better overall assessment.

You want the very best for your pets; that’s why in-home training is the perfect solution in certain family situations.

Effective dog education also means Fido isn’t the only one going to school. You need training and education, too! To that end, AZ Dog Sports offers educational seminars on a wide variety of topics.

AZ Dog Sports offers a full program for both therapy dogs and service/assistance dogs. Look around—service/assistance dogs are everywhere from grocery stores to airplanes to cruise ships. People with disabilities are living fuller and healthier lives, and because of these dogs, they can now tackle challenges with fewer limitations.

A service/assistance dog will enable their handler to achieve their dreams, and AZ Dog Sports is proud to be part of this rewarding process. Currently, they provide full training for mobility dogs, diabetic alert dogs and seizure response dogs.

Part of this training is also teaching an important skill called public access. You’ve probably experienced this: Your dog is well-behaved at home or in class, but then you take him out in public and suddenly he’s no longer the well-behaved dog you know. That’s because public spaces are saturated with stimulation like cars, sounds and smells, which are new and exciting. Taking public access education is a necessity for both therapy and service/assistance dogs.

While Kizler has much to be proud about, she’s eager to introduce their dog training school AZ Dog Smart Academy. Much education and hands-on practice goes into studying to become a professional dog trainer, and they’re one of only a few schools that actually provide this hands-on training as part of their comprehensive curriculum. This feature sets their program apart from others.

“Many programs that teach dog training are only online,” said Kizler. “You can’t learn to ride a horse online, and you can’t learn to be an effective trainer of dogs exclusively online. We provide hands-on training right from the start, which is most satisfying for adult learners who prefer hands-on education. That being said, we do offer a few live video academic classes for those who may live a distance away. We can also do live video consultations.”

Academic and scientific knowledge is essential, but since every aspect of this profession can’t be learned from a book or online, it becomes important to actually do and practice the training as you’re learning it. After the 18-month long program concludes, students have a thorough understanding of the theories, the methodology and the science behind it all.

The AZ Dog Smart Academy is for those people who wish to become professional trainers themselves. Currently, many careers rely on dog knowledge to operate, so the academy provides training for business professionals working in the pet industry. This includes dog walkers, doggie day care staff, pet sitters, groomers and vet techs.

Their curriculum also requires a mentorship program, which they offer with a variety of different master trainers. Students follow a trainer around for weeks learning and working with them by doing what they’re doing. To complete the program, students must earn 75 hours of mentorship credit helping to train many dogs.

The AZ Dog Smart Academy conforms to all guidelines established by the APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers) and the CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers).

AZ Dog Sports
12639 N. 48th St. Phoenix, AZ