About Us

Get to Know Our Dog Trainer

teach dog tricksThe training technique used by Margaret Belfield of Puppy Dog Manners is one of behavioral orientation. With a background in psychology, she brings a new approach to resolving common problems. She will determine the current status of your dog's training needs and address issues.

Her experience with dog training began when she hired a trainer for her pet. The experience left her wanting for more and felt she could offer a different approach. She became a dog trainer for a school in Northern Virginia. She now applies her knowledge in dog training along with her degrees in behavioral psychology and family counseling toward a solid and effective approach to dog training.

Under a family and behavioral training approach it is important to look at factors such as family members' behaviors that may be contributing to their dog's behavioral problems and their consistency in responding to these behaviors. It is also important to focus on the family's strengths as well as the dog's. Building upon these strengths can help the dog to develop more positive behaviors.

With respect to training issues, Margaret's approach only uses positive reinforcement training methods; verbal cues, hand signals and sound cues; ongoing assessment of the dog’s progress in learning cues and building positive behaviors; instruction and modeling to family members on training and handling methods; and lots of positive reinforcement to develop alternative positive behaviors by the dog.

 dog trainingThe ultimate goal is a happier family; a more content and well-mannered dog; and a closer, positive relationship between the owner(s) and the dog.

Her background, skill set and passion to work with people and animals is a perfect fit.

Let’s Hear From Margaret

Dominance issues are also at play in other dog behavioral problems.  For example, aggression is a serious dominant behavior and may be viewed as the dog’s way of expressing power and control.  With respect to the common but complex disorder called separation anxiety, dominance issues may play a role. The extreme destructive behavior that the dog engages in when left alone at home is dominating behavior that serves to exert power over the owner from leaving the house and leaving him behind.   

Therefore, under a family and behavioral approach, it is important to look at factors such as:

 dog training

 

It is also important to focus on the strengths of the family and the dog’s strengths.  Building upon these strengths can help the dog to develop more positive behaviors.

With respect to training issues, this approach uses positive obedience training methods; intermittent positive reinforcement; verbal commands, hand signals and sound cues; ongoing assessment of the dog’s progress in learning commands and building positive behaviors; instruction and modeling to family members on training and handling methods; and lots of positive reinforcement to shape desired behaviors by the dog.

The ultimate goal is a happier family regarding their dog’s behavior; a closer relationship between owner and dog; and a happier, well-praised, and better-mannered dog.

Puppy Dog Manners is proud to serve all of Northern Virginia including Reston, Herndon, Dulles, Great Falls, Centreville, Sterling, Ashburn, and Loudoun County.