Dog Training and Behavior Health
Our veterinarians believe that behavioral health is an integral part of an animal's well being. In veterinary medicine, it is most often through the analysis of an animal's behavior that we learn of illness or injuries. It is also an unfortunate fact that most pets that are relinquished to animal shelters are abandoned due to behavior problems that are easily addressed early on. In recognition of these facts and as a result of our staff's passion for training and behavior health, in 2013 we began a puppy socialization program and offer medical behavior consultations for cats and dogs to ensure that the behavioral health of our patients is addressed. We also offer various engaging canine training courses and seminars throughout the year. In addition, our team uses a behavior-based approach to ensure your pet's comfort while here for visits and treatments. Calm-inducing pheromone diffusers and sprays are used throughout the clinic, soft exam surfaces are provided, and low stress handling techniques are utilized for cats and dogs. Thunder-shirts are available in most sizes for anxious pets, and high value treats are always on hand! We also highly encourage "happy visits" - a free appointment where you and your pet may visit with the sole purpose of receiving treats and "happy-time" with one of our staff members in an exam room, on the weight scale, or in the lobby. Call us today for more information about behavioral wellness at Brighton Animal Clinic!
Brighton Animal Clinic Trainers
Heather Blakeman, CPDT-KA
Heather joined the Brighton Animal Clinic team in 2012. She started out training and showing dogs in the 4-H Club and has more than 17 years experience training and showing dogs professionally in AKC conformation, as well as her own dogs in showmanship, agility, rally, obedience, and barn hunt. Heather has earned over 30 titles on her own dogs and helped to pilot over 50 dogs to championship titles professionally.
Her love of animals and the sciences led her to Lexington where she graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in Animal Sciences from the University of Kentucky. Heather is passionate about animal behavior science and loves helping owners strengthen the bond of trust and understanding through force free, science-based, positive reinforcement training. Heather received her Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed accreditation from the independent certification council, CCPDT, in 2017, is a Fear Free Certified Professional, a Professional Member of the APDT, and is a Certified AKC CGC Evaluator.
Heather and her husband, Austin are owned and loved by their Australian Shepherds, Ember and Strider.
Anne joined the Brighton Animal Clinic team as a Technician in November 2011. Her love of animals developed at a very early age, and she began training dogs in 4-H Club when she was 12. She started training dogs for obedience competition in 1998 and has had several dogs, including Labs, Border Collies, German Shepherds, Viszlas and Jack Russells that have earned AKC Obedience titles.
Anne became a Certified Evaluator for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program in 2006. She truly enjoys working with clients and their pets, helping them to develop a good relationship and discovering all the fun activities they can do together.
Anne is available for CGC certification testing, by appointment, year round.
(Group classes are temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak)
Puppy Socialization Class - For puppies 8-14 weeks at the start of class. Strategic exposures to people, places, animals, sights, sounds, and handling during the early socialization window (lasting from 3 weeks of age to 12-16 weeks of age for most puppies) is of critical importance according to the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. This class helps puppy parents fit socialization exercises into a busy schedule, while also offering support on puppy management issues like house-training and play-biting. We will also help puppy parents begin training the right way - helping puppies and puppy parents to communicate more effectively from the very beginning of their relationship with one another. Class meets Tuesdays, from 6:30-7:30pm for 5 weeks. Class fee: $110
Dog Training Basics Class - A class for dogs of all ages (5 months and up!). This class covers sit, down, controlled leash-walking, recalls, intro to stay, greeting without jumping up, focus, and leave it. This class is primarily outdoors in our fenced in yard, and therefore is seasonal. Class meets Mondays, 6-7pm for 6 weeks. Class fee: $145
Intermediate Dog Training Class - A class for dogs of all ages (5 months and up!) that have taken the Basics class or that have instructor permission. This class takes the basics to the next level and is a great preparation class for those wishing to take the Canine Good Citizen test. We will begin proofing basic behaviors and work on greater focus in the face of distractions. We will work towards more formal heeling and stay exercises as well. CGC testing is optional at the end of this class. This class is primarily outdoors in our fenced in yard, and therefore is seasonal. Class meets Mondays, 7:15-8:15pm for 6 weeks. Class fee: $145
Intro to Agility Class - This class is for dogs 8 months or older (and requires a statement from your dog's vet that they are in adequate physical shape for agility exercises); dogs MUST have taken a basic manners/obedience group class prior to this class. We will introduce agility equipment at lowered heights as well as cover beginner handling/training exercises. This class will be mostly on lead - but some exercises will require a strong recall behavior. Dogs must be able to work around other dogs without reactivity or aggression. Class meets Wednesdays, 6-7pm for 4 weeks. Class fee: $100
Level 2 Agility Class - For dogs that have taken the Intro to Agility Class, private lessons, or with instructor permission (dogs should have had exposure to all equipment, weave poles not required). Dogs will begin to run short and full-length courses with a focus on handling foundation and exercises. We regret that we cannot accommodate reactive/aggressive dogs in this class. Class meets Wednesdays, 7:15-8:15pm for 4 weeks. Class fee: $100
Private Agility Lessons - For any age dog with no prior experience required. Package of three 30 minute lessons is $90. Lessons are by appointment during office hours on Wednesdays.
Private Lessons available to address the following behavior issues: leash-walking, leash reactivity, basic manners training, house-training, counter-surfing, kids and dogs/family dog management and bite prevention, selecting a new puppy, preparing your dog for new baby/new family addition, recall training, and more! If it is beyond our scope of training, we will happily refer you to a behavior professional that can help you. Pricing and packages vary. Please call for more information.