Frequently Asked Questions

The Nature Of Dogs

Most dogs are designed to be productive and task oriented.

At times, the way our dogs behave can become embarrassing or frustrating. With your patience, sanity, finances, and time on the line, we want to ensure you are joining the best training for both you and your dog. Regardless of the issue(s) you are facing, or if you would just like to get to know your furry friend better, we are at your service. Award winning dog training is readily attainable for both you and your dog to learn with us at Ridgeside K9
We recognize the emotional toll on humans when it comes to unwanted dog behaviors. Dogs love to have a task to perform, to feel complete. Typically, helping dog owners’ problem solve usually requires behavioral modification in their dogs.
For example, if the dog performing an unwanted behavior, such as barking, jumping, etc. there is typically an underlying motive for their behavior. Ridgeside K9 not only has the tools you need to help you introduce good behaviors to your dog, but also to help you uncover the reason for the behavior.

service dog training

Our Training Approach

Mental stimulation for dogs is just as important as daily physical activity. By giving our dogs a mental challenge, we can give them a primally valuable outlet for their energy. Our training approach encompasses problem solving, obedience behaviors, while also teaching your dog relaxation techniques.
When you choose Ridegeside K9, you will see a world of difference when your dog understands how to make better choices!

To improve the relationship with your dog, healthy structure and boundaries need to be established. By doing this, we are not changing our dogs’ personalities, or expecting our dogs to be robots. Rather, we are developing our relationship with our dogs in a productive way- by giving them the guidance they need. Dogs thrive with guidance and direction- this is one of the best ways to help our dogs gain more peace and freedom.
Overall, our training will help you create a loving bond of trust and communication. When both the dog and handler know how to communicate with one another, the outcomes can be life changing. A win for you, your family, and especially your dog! If you are looking for dog training in the Jacksonville-Wilmington, NC area, we are your people. We encourage you to give us a call. We would love to help!


Socialization is a major component to having a healthy dog. Both assertive dog training and socialization are necessary to have a well-adjusted dog. Dogs are “pack” animals, they are naturally social creatures that need socialization to survive and thrive. However, not all socialization is ideal for your dog- there are some techniques to use, and some to avoid. It is essential to socialize your dog, but this does not and should not look like letting your dog say “hi” to every dog they pass on the street. Socializing your dog with known, safe dogs is better than playing a guessing game with unfamiliar dogs.
Many people don’t realize that socializing their dog is not just something to do through puppyhood- it is a lifelong skill to practice. We hear many owners say their dogs used to get along great with other dogs, but they now hate other dogs -this is usually a case of a dog whose social skills have not stayed up to date. Social skills are required to communicate more with unfamiliar dogs, not dogs they know or see all the time.

Types of poorly socialized dogs

One result of poor socialization can be the excited dog who is bouncing off the walls and lacking in all self-control. Often, these dogs drive their owners crazy by running away, destroying objects, dragging the handler while on leash, or getting overly excited when meeting other humans or dogs. Unfortunately, these dogs often wind up “living” in their crates because the owners do not know how to handle the situation. Around other dogs, they are all over them and up in their face- when in fact, most dogs do not like that. For safety reasons, it is critical for dogs to learn the necessary skills to understand social cues from other dogs. These are the dogs that have learned that attention comes from the unwanted behaviors they perform- it is our job to show them that the opposite is true!

Generalized fear of anything unfamiliar can also be an indicator of poor socialization. This can look like cowering in a corner, shaking, yawning, avoiding, or crippling anxiety. This fear can also eventually result in reactivity.
Improperly socialized dogs can become reactive to certain stimuli. Reactive dogs can often overreact to situations and have specific triggers such as a physical characteristic- like men with beards, small children, dogs on a leash, or unfamiliar dogs. Reactivity is typically a defensive response to a stressful situation, in efforts to maintain a buffer between them and the “scary” stimulus.

Whether it is proper socialization as a puppy or re-learning social skills, we are here to help! As stated previously, dogs need both physical and mental exercise to feel healthy and balanced. Learning how to have decent manners with all kinds of temperaments may save your dog from harm in the real world. 
Our unique approach includes meeting your dog’s social and primal needs, to fully emerge them into training. By exercising your dog physically, mentally, and teaching proper social interaction, we can build a calm, well behaved dog. With this, we help create a comfortable, positive and reliable part of you life and your dog’s.

Rescue Rehab

The love of a dog is unconditional. In Ridgeside K9 programs, we work with every type of dog. Rescue dogs are particularly rewarding, because even with unknown backgrounds, they still can become part of a loving family. Often, people are shocked at how resilient rescue dogs can be- especially once they have some boundaries, obedience, and kindhearted attention. Whether your rescue dog is fearful, improperly socialized, or just needs some obedience, we have worked with them all.
The overall goal of mistreated dogs is for them to be able to trust humans again. Regardless of the type of cruelty these dogs have endured, they are understandably prone to fear- of almost anything and everything. Gaining back trust and a sense of normalcy for these dogs can take a long time. However, healing maltreated dogs is possible, and can be life changing for the dog as well as the owner. Once these dogs begin to gain some confidence through our program, they will begin to see the world differently. Restoring these dogs is truly one of the most rewarding things in dog training, we would love to work with you and your rescue dog!

Aggression Rehab

Aggression is hostile, injurious behavior toward another individual- human or other animal. Aggression is a harmful, unnatural state of mind for a dog. In fact, this mental state is just as stressful for dogs as it is for their owners. Aggression can be a result from many different things, including negative experiences, irritation, fear, poor socialization, Genetics or a combination of the above. Regardless of the situation, it is important to find the underlying cause of aggression to handle the issue appropriately.

Types of Aggression in Dogs

The most common forms of fear-based aggression we encounter include people aggression (includes aggression with adults and adolescents), dog aggression, and primal aggression.

People often put human emotion into dog interactions and say things like, their dog does not like kids, or that their dog hates other dogs. Rather, dogs do not have the same emotions humans do. Dogs do not react negatively to situations because they “hate” anything. Realistically, our dogs use reactivity or aggressiveness as a response to fear, jealousy, or natural instincts.
In these instances, it is crucial that we appropriately involve the owners, having you take control to lead and protect your dog. This is necessary so that your dog does not have to be the one to make stressful decisions- such as reacting to a situation. When dog owners take on a leadership role with their dogs, it is life-changing and will inevitably alter your and your dog’s quality of life. With this approach, overtime, your dog realizes there is no need to be reactive or aggression in stressful situations.
With lacking socialization, most aggression is fear based (even though it can appear the opposite). Even if it looks like your dog is the “initiator,” it is still reacting out of fear or discomfort. Many aggressive or reactive dogs go on offense before they must be on defense, a feeling of “solving the issue before it forms”. Because it works for them, they continue reacting this way to solve the problem of discomfort. We will help you work to find a different way to solve your dog’s pain and make them more comfortable in the situation. As previously stated, aggression is not a natural state of mind for a dog. No dog wants to feel this way – they are looking for a way out – and we want to help them.

Finding proper help for aggressive dogs can be difficult for some, but here at Ridgeside K9, we are ready and willing to get you and your dog on the right track to a more calm, happy life together.

Dog aggression is more common than you think.

Aggressive or reactive dog training can be intense, depending on the severity your dog is experiencing. For instance, many dogs experiencing “dog on dog aggression” have potential to react towards a dog that has posed zero threat to them. This does not necessarily mean your dog is “dog aggressive”, rather, these types of dogs simply do not have the proper socialization, in which case, is a bit easier to train through. Since aggression is not a natural state of mind for a dog, something has shaped this behavior. Poor socialization can force a dog to make a generalization with the issue (other dogs, humans, children, strangers, etc.) based off one or more negative experiences. We are here to outweigh the negative with positive experiences for your dog.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs is one of the most common issues we see in dogs. It will rarely solve itself. As pack animals by nature, when a pack member leaves, most dogs feel uneasy. An anxiously separated dog will often turn to destructive or nervous habits to cope with the separation. Here at Ridgeside K9, we have the skills and knowledge to help your dog gain the strength to be alone and feel safe. Our dog trainers will add physical and mental activity to your dog’s routine, boost your dog’s confidence, and form their negative thinking into positive. We know separation anxiety in dogs can be difficult to deal with, which is why we are here!  is “dog aggressive”, rather, these types of dogs simply do not have the proper socialization, in which case, is a bit easier to train through. Since aggression is not a natural state of mind for a dog, something has shaped this behavior. Poor socialization can force a dog to make a generalization with the issue (other dogs, humans, children, strangers, etc.) based off one or more negative experiences. We are here to outweigh the negative with positive experiences for your dog.

Typical signs of separation anxiety in dogs when left alone:

Paces, whines, or pants
Destroys things or has destructive behavior
Whines or barks excessively
Escapes or attempts to escape crate or home
Urinates or defecates indoors
Constantly watches and follows owner when home

Common Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Adopted at young age (less than 7 weeks)
Consistently left alone for extended time
Absent mother from birth
Chaotic schedule or monumental changes in owner’s life- especially if before one year of dog age (for example, moving)
Sudden consistent attention from new owners if rehomed
Coddled as a puppy
Dog lacking independence and confidence