Reward-Based Dog Training


Marie-Josée Gatian with her Yellow Lab, Mouska.  Mouska's dog training started at seven weeks old.
Marie-Josée Gatian conducting a group dog training session.

Call 216-224-2712

Private and Group Dog Obedience Training

The following information is summarized in THE Dog Class website, accessed through the various links found above.


THE Dog Class was voted “Best Dog Training” in the Cleveland Fox 8 Hot List Contest.  There were 34 nominees in the category.  This was a testament from the many customers that owner and trainer Marie-Josée Gatian has helped through the years.  She has had numerous repeat customers.


Her philosophy is simple.  You can improve the life of both your family and dog with training.  Your dog can be transformed into a loving and controllable family member.  He'll be happier because he is no longer getting into so much trouble all the time!  Your family will be happier because the dog is no longer a source of frustration, but instead a source of enjoyment, comfort, and love.


What does it take to make your dog happy?  He will thrive when you give him leadership, love and attention.  This formula will help you to build a lasting relationship with your dog, based on mutual respect and trust.  You can have a relationship with your dog deeper than you ever imagined and Marie-Josée can show you how.  With her training, you will have a happy dog and a happy family and less stress.


Marie-Josée has been training dogs in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio since 2004.  Dog obedience training is her passion.  Dogs and puppies of all ages, and all dog breed types can be trained.  Dog training at THE Dog Class uses reward based reinforcement only.  Her dog training positive reinforcement techniques focus on the proper leadership skills for dog owners.  If you are interested in reward-only, positive reinforcement training, then THE Dog Class should be your choice for training your dog.


Marie-Josée dog trainer role models are Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) and Tamar Geller (The Loved Dog), and their dog training philosophies of understanding your dog’s body language and communicating with him in a loving way.  Marie-Josée is continually learning about dog training and canine behavior, and is continually seeking her personal own professional growth.  In 2011 she attended over thirty training classes where she was the student learning new dog training ideas, methods and techniques.


Training dogs is really about training the dog owners what to do, hence, THE Dog Class motto, “Training Dogs, One Human at a Time.”TM  Dog obedience starts with training the owners.  Marie-Josée focuses on the pack leader skills necessary for a stable and happy owner and dog relationship.  Dogs will look to the pack leader for direction, and her training will help you become that pack leader that dogs seek.  In all training sessions you’ll learn important body language tips and have the psychology of training explained to you for each command taught.  Marie-Josée helps you understand how you dog thinks, which helps you to learn why there are effective dog training techniques, and some that don’t work as well.


THE Dog Class does not use, and does not recommend the use of shock collars as these are an unnecessary and a potentially abusive way to train a dog.  If you are told by a dog trainer that in order to be successful dogs must be physically corrected in any way, ask a simple question to them, “Is shocking, hurting or physically correcting a dog how service dogs are trained?”  If they tell you it is, they are not being honest with you.  It’s not that there aren’t well-trained dogs that have “learned” with shock collars.  It’s just not necessary for successful dog training.  Having your dog do as you desire should not happen because he fears if he doesn’t you’ll hurt him.  It should be a result of your loving, non-violent leadership, and understanding how to communicate with him properly.  Marie-Josée is passionate about this issue.  Even if you choose another dog trainer, please don’t fall for one who uses shock collars telling you, “It’s a beep, gentle correction” or that “it doesn’t hurt him.”  It’s an electrical shock they are using and it’s not necessary to use in order to have a well-trained dog, on or off of the leash.  Dog training can be successfully completed in a pain-free way with reliable results.  It takes consistency, patience, repetition and practice.  It doesn’t require an expensive collar that zaps them into submission.  Gentle leadership works.  As with most things in life, there are no shortcuts or magic solutions to doing dog training correctly.


THE Dog Class basic dog obedience is taught in all group sessions.  Problem solving such as stopping barking, jumping and leash pulling, just to name a few, is addressed.  Dog training in classes also focuses on socialization with other dogs and people as well.  Puppy training includes housetraining as well as basic obedience necessary to be a well-behaved dog.  All family members are welcome and encouraged to attend training classes.  Group classes are a great way for your dog to be introduced to other dogs and other people in a friendly training setting. 


Most families want the following, and all of this is covered in the initial group sessions:

·  Come when called, every time, on or off leash

·  Walk nicely on leash, without pulling

·  Sit the first time you ask

·  Lie down the first time you ask


Families also want their dogs to not:

·  Jump on people

·  Charge through doors

·  Dig in the yard

·  Bark and chew inappropriately

·  Climb on furniture you prefer they avoid

·  Steal food off the table and counters

·  Be wild and uncontrollable

·  Ignore you when you want their attention


Dog training can begin as soon as you get your puppy.  In fact, service dog puppies start training in their first few days with simple name recognition exercises, even before their eyes are open.  But training can begin at any age if it hasn’t been done.  The adage “you can’t teach an old dog new trick” is simply incorrect.  Marie-Josée has helped train plenty of older dogs, many that were adopted from shelters.  In fact, her dog Toby was rescued at two years old, and became a certified therapy dog visiting patients at Fairview Hospital.


Initial beginner and puppy training classes with THE Dog Class are held with dogs of a similar age.  This allows for easy socialization, and basic commands, such as sit, stay, down, come and walking without pulling are taught.  Grooming, health and nutrition tips are also reviewed with all dog owners.  Each week Marie-Josée reviews previous lessons, discusses issues owners are having, and builds on the lessons. 


Key topics in the beginner and puppy training include:

· Loose leash walking

· Stopping jumping

· Controlling nipping, biting and chewing

· Introduction to simple cues, such as sit, come and stay

· Basic manners

· Socialization with people and other dogs

· Relationship-forming activities

· Problem prevention

· Tips on canine health, grooming and nutrition


After these classes are completed, advanced and intermediate training classes are the next progression.  These training classes work on increasing the distractions, duration of the learned behavior and distance away from the owner that the dog can successfully follow commands.  These classes ensure that you dog is well behaved in social situations, among other dogs and people.


Key topics covered in the intermediate and advanced classes include:

· Meeting and greeting strangers

· Advanced loose leash walking and heeling

· Comfort in public and crowded places

· Learning with increased distractions


Group classes are held once per week, for one hour sessions, for six consecutive weeks.  At the conclusion of all group dog training classes, all dog owners are given take home notes regarding lessons taught during class, and exercises and suggest homework for the week.  As training sessions proceed duration and distractions are added to each newly learned behavior.  Training can progress as far as customers wish.  Marie-Josée has successfully trained therapy dogs that have been certified by The Delta Society and dogs that have completed their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) tests.  She is currently raising and training a puppy that is training to become a service dog for the blind.


During all group and private training programs, owners are given feedback and individual instruction from Marie-Josée regarding the most appropriate training techniques for their dogs.  Techniques chosen are based on the dog's temperament, the progress the dog is making, and the dedication of the owner.  All dogs and owners are treated on an individual basis.

Private training can address problem behaviors, teach basic obedience issues, help you adjust to a new dog in your home or to prepare for the arrival of a new baby or introducing a dog to children or to another dog already in your home.  Private sessions can be used in conjunction with group classes to train your dog for specific issues and for socialization and general obedience issues.  Typical common dog behavior problems can be addressed in one or two private sessions.  This depends of course on specific issues, and how much time the owner invests in the follow-up plan.  No two dogs, owners and environments are the same, so for each private session, a custom plan is determined to meet the customer’s needs and goals.


Private dog training is done in the comfort of your home, or can be done at a location in which training is needed (for example, a local dog park where your dog is not behaving the way you desire).  Service areas include all of Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio area, both Westside and Eastside, including Westlake, Avon, Avon Lake, Fairview Park, North Ridgeville, Lakewood, Rocky River, Columbia Station, North Olmsted, Bay Village, Seven Hills, Brooklyn, Brook Park, West Park, Parma, Garfield Heights, Cleveland Heights, Olmsted Falls, Parma Heights, Elyria, Lorain, Shaker Heights, Beachwood, Bratenahl, Mayfield Heights, Maple Heights, Strongsville, University Heights, Orange, Euclid and others.


Marie-Josée lives in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, but travels she for private classes all over the greater Cleveland area.  She keeps a flexible schedule, and can arrange for mornings, afternoon or evening visits.  For problem solving private sessions often involve putting the dog into the setting and environment in which the issues are occurring. 


Group training sessions are currently being held in Rocky River through the Recreation Department.  Click on the “Upcoming Classes” link on the left side of this web page above to see the current schedule.  Private dog training sessions are available by appointment in the days or evenings.  Gift certificates are also available for private or group lessons if you’re looking for a unique gift for a dog lover.  Potential customers are welcome to visit any dog training sessions to see Marie-Josée in action before making their decision where to do their training.  Just give her a call letting her know if you would like to do this.


If you have any problems or questions regarding dog training, or the methods used in THE Dog Class, feel free to call Marie-Josée.  Phone consultations are free.  Her cell number is 216-224-2712.  Leave a message if she doesn’t answer, she’s probably training a soon to be good dog somewhere.  Or she’s available by email at  Having trained over 2,000 dogs, and more importantly their owners, there aren’t many dog training issues she hasn’t successfully dealt with before.  All customers are encouraged to contact Marie-Josée for any follow-up questions they have.


There are many different ways to train a dog, and many different methods and dog trainers.  To be successful, the owner of the dog being trained must understand how to communicate, and understand how to think like a dog, and what works best.  THE Dog Class will train you to be able to do this.


Marie-Josée welcomes you to explore this web site more and see if THE Dog Class is right for you.  Over 2,000 happy dogs and their owners know it was right for them. 


THE Dog Class, “Training Dogs, One Human at a Time.”TM

THE Dog Class

By Marie-Josée Gatian, Professional Dog Trainer, Behavioral Specialist

Text Box: Marie-Josée with Natalie Herbick on New Day Cleveland 
morning show.

Marie-Josée Gatian of THE Dog Class is available to help you and your dog with basic training or complicated behavior problems.  Only behavior reward techniques are used in dog training sessions.  Positive reinforcement is promoted for all commands given while training dogs and there is a large focus on the owner developing a strong “pack leader” presence.

Group obedience classes are held with puppies or dogs of a similar age.  Most classes are six weeks long, held in one hour sessions.

Private lessons are held in the comfortable surroundings of your home.

Flexible hours, days or evenings, to fit your schedule.

Customized sessions to meet owner/dog needs.

Problem Solving, including:

· barking

· chewing

· digging

· house training

· separation anxiety

· jumping       

· leash pulling

· basic obedience

· fear of situations

· aggression issues

· expecting baby





Text Box: Rocky River Drive
Cleveland (West Park), Ohio 44111

Rocky River Drive, Cleveland (West Park), Ohio 44111

216-224-2712 cell

Private Training Appointments both East and West

Group Classes held in Rocky River.

THE Dog Class - Dog Training, Cleveland, Ohio

Puppy and Advanced, Group and Private Dog Obedience Classes

Reward Based, Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

THE Dog Class paw logo.  Dog training provided in Cleveland, Ohio area.

Home Page

Text Box: About Marie-Josée
Text Box: Contact Marie-Josée
Text Box: Testimonials
Text Box: Services List
Text Box: Upcoming Classes
Text Box: Therapy Dog Training
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Text Box: THE Dog Class Blog

THE Dog Class

THE Dog Class Fox 8 Hot List Winner BadgeText Box: Voted Winner as Best Cleveland Area Dog Trainer in the Fox 8 Hot List Contest
Text Box: Thanks to My Loyal Customers for Voting in the Contest. THE Dog Class was voted Number One 
out of 34 local Nominees!

Group Classes Starting

Soon in Rocky River

Dog tracks
Text Box: THE Dog Class Training Overview, Philosophy and Services
Marie-Josée Gatian with her Black Lab, Toby.  Toby's dog training started when he was rescued after he was two years old.  He is now a therapy dog.

Rocky River Drive, Cleveland (West Park), Ohio 44111

216-224-2712 cell

Private Training Appointments both East and West

Group Classes held in Rocky River.

“Training Dogs, Oridgene Human at a Time.”®

Now Offering AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) &

Therapy Pets Unlimited (TPU) Training and Certification

Click the photo of the Scene Magazine cover above to read about Marie “The Dog Whisperer” being “Cleveland’s Ultimate Dog Trainer.”

Text Box: Marie-Josée Gatian with her Yellow Lab, Mouska.