Duz you need somebuddy who can

SPEAK

DOG?

Looking for a dog trainer in Philadelphia or the surrounding area? You've found the right place. Everyone at OpBarks considers 'dog' their second language.

Pre- and Post-Adoption Advice
Looking for a new dog? We can help you find a great match. And we can help newly-adopted dogs settle in. Making sure dogs find (and stay in!) "forever" homes is important to us.

So before you get your dog, get in touch. A good match can mean the difference between a lot of stress or a lot of fun once you get the new dog home.

And if you just adopted a dog and want some guidance on helping “the new kid” adjust, we'd love to give you tips on that too. Also no charge.

Puppy Socialization Class for puppies 5 months old and under. Trainer-supervised half-hour sessions for safe socialization and starter skills. Philadelphia and Quakertown. Registration required.

Country Adventure Days Book some R&R time at our Quakertown HQ. Your dog can roam around off-leash, enjoy nature, chase butterflies, hit the trails on our fenced property and try agility or swimming in the pool or creek.

Off-Leash Hiking Adventures Workshops to build trust, confidence and reliability with your dog off-leash.

Reactive Dog University This is for dogs presenting with on-leash barking or lunging toward other dogs. These dogs may be friendly off-leash with dogs, but tend to get fearful, frustrated or agitated on-leash. For owners it's embarrassing; for dogs it's stressful. Learn how to get a handle on this training challenge. More >

Dogs and Kids We offer two programs­—one to prepare dog for baby's arrival and a secondary program to help parents prepare for toddling. From the first days home to the baby becoming mobile, learn how to guide the kiddos to interact with your dog and minimize doggie drama.

Our Program Manager Michaela Greif's Rottweiler mix, Birdie, and Birdie's BFF, Hendrix. They speak for the whole OpBarks crew: Thank you so much for spreading the word about us!

Opportunity Barks Behavior & Training

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To all of you who've  reviewed, liked, shared, followed, tweeted, or Yelped about OpBarks,

BIG, BIG THX!!

You give us big happees!

We’re well-trained.

Everyone here is highly experienced and professional. We’re vet-recommended and committed to using humane training methods based in modern behavioral science. We have 2 full-time staff members (Leigh Siegfried and Michaela Greif) and 3 part-time staff members (Matt Schimsky, Ingrid Faber and Jessie Kuhns). Together we've worked with many, many dogs—including 11 of the Michael Vick pit bulls.

We’re proud to be CPDT-KA certified (or for some newer part-time staff, pursuing certification). It’s the only internationally recognized dog training credential — achieved by just over 2,000 dog pros worldwide. It’s like the “bar exam” for trainers.

CPDT requires hands-on experience as well as a written test and continuing education. To maintain our certification we must commit to 36 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) every 3 years. We're such dog nerds that we'd do that anyway and always exceed the required hours.

Find out more about each of our staff members, meet their dogs and check out our other credentials on our Staff page.

Illustration of the owner at a desk saying "We're fluent in dog"

'Dog' is our second language.

We’re pros at interpreting what dogs 'say' through their actions and body language. And it’s something we teach our clients—because knowing what’s going on from the dog’s perspective is the first step to getting anywhere with behavior and training.

– Leigh Siegfried, Owner and Training Director

You might be surprised by
our most common cases

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Mouthing, biting and jumping

We do lots of consults (and get lots of referrals to do consults) for puppies or newly adopted dogs who are mouthing, biting and jumping up. We can handle the nuisance variety or the YIKES variety, but always prefer to nip the problem in the bud, so to speak. This problem never gets better on its own and often escalates.

New pups and newly adopted dogs

This comes in at a close second. We work with new dog owners to help them get things off to a great start. Whether you've never owned a dog or have new feisty pup that is quite different from what you are used to- relax, we're here to help. We know you just want to get it right and get everybody on the same page. So do we!

Barking or lunging on leash towards other dogs

This is a common problem and therefore a high percentage of our clients. We see mild cases and some very severe cases. We can help you through all of it. Tell us about your situation and we'll provide some recommendations. Read more.

 

 

Reactive dogs

We are the only trainers in the Philadelphia area with extensive experience with reactive dogs (i.e. dogs who bark and/or lunge around other dogs, people or moving objects like bikes). Like Casey said about her dog Leroy in the photo gallery, owners of reactive dogs at some point realize, "...training my dog will be an ongoing process." Making progress with reactive dogs means a lot of practice—and their owners need a safe, low-stress place to work with their dogs around other dogs. Once they know the basics, that last part is often the challenge so we create safe dog-to-dog or dog-to-moving-object setups and are there to observe, guide and coach the handlers as they practice with their dogs. Keeping the dogs below threshold is key. Most reactive dog clients use a mix of at least two of these services: a behavior consultation, private lessons, group classes and working retreats at our spacious headquarters, Sweet Spot Farm in Quakertown. This mix of offerings is something we call Reactive University because one lesson or class is only the tip of the iceberg for Reactive Rovers and their patient, dedicated owners. Enrollment now open for a Reactive Rover. The 6-week class starts October 14th in Manayunk/East Falls and September 20th in Quakertown.


Group classes

For a lot of people, these are a great starting point and may be all your dog ever needs. We can take your dog from basic training through to dog sports and even Canine Good Citizen certification. We have a core set of classes that are always running and some that we only do a few times a year. See our current listings.

The other things that keep us pretty busy

Dog owners never call us complaining about how stressed out their dog is, but they do call us about barking, fearfulness, destructive behavior, aggression, distress when being confined or left alone, or elimination issues. Once you tell us about their history and we meet your dog, we'll translate things from the dog's point of view for you and help you connect the dots from the behavior problems to their root cause (often stress). From there we'll work with you on modifying the stressors (if possible) and work with your dog on its reactions to the things it perceives as stressful.

Stress-related behavioral issues

We train in a way that sticks
and that dogs consider fun.

Communication and trust

We use humane teaching equipment and methods based in science and natural animal behavior. We don't  force dogs to do things to get results. We work on establishing communication and having a dog learn to 'tune in' to their owners. This teaches them to include humans in their decision making process. We've found that establishing trust and being a reliable, predictable handler can help boost the confidence of a fearful dog and helps a very confident dog learn to work with the handler as a team. The goal is to root the dog-human relationship in trust, give and take, and communication.

A variety of rewards

We do rely on treats and other things the dog likes in the early stages but we will show you how to fade the use of that so that your dog will respond to you even if you're not carrying hot dogs in your pockets ;-)

Food is a powerful reward for most dogs, but it's never the keys to the castle. We'll show you how to properly use treats as a tool but also give you other tools in your toolbox that your dog will "work" for too.

 

I iz watching your handz for a signal, mister.

But if you haz a treat in dere, eben better!

ASK ME ANYTHING.

IT'S FREE!

Wondering where to start with training? Facing puzzling or seemingly unsolvable behaviors? Just looking for a good article or book about a certain topic? I'm happy to help.

I'm also on a Petfinder FurKeeps Expert Panel, so hit me up to review links to dogs you're thinking about adopting (from their site or elsewhere). Or ask my advice on helping your newly-adopted furball adjust. Let's make sure they are "FurKeeps"!

Pick Leigh's Brain

Dog Training & Behavior Problem Solving in the Greater Philadelphia Area

Training & Behavior Consults: Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery Counties and select NJ locations

Classes: Held in several doggie fun spots in Philadelphia and at our headquarters in Quakertown, PA

 

 

Piles of dog info