By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
With 45 years of experience, Mountain Top Dog Training, conveniently located in Crestline, offers boarding, board-and-train, and in-home private lessons. Owner-operator Karen Singleton told The Alpine Mountaineer, “Whatever your budget, we have programs to fit anyone’s needs.”
The board-and-train programs, Singleton said, are conducted at the Mountain Top Dog Training facility in Crestline. Prices include food, shelter, training, transfer of respect (handling lessons and graduation), as well as free, lifetime-of-the-dog, follow-up, private lessons for the level of training purchased. Boarding only includes heating and air conditioning and 24-hour camera surveillance. Discounts may be applied for more than one dog. Private lessons, Singleton said, are conducted at your home and priced per family, not per dog.
Singleton’s background includes training wild animals like chimpanzees, lions, tigers, bears, elephants and otters on her family’s ranch in Chino. Many of these animals appeared in movies such as Any Which Way is Loose, starring Clint Eastwood, and Any Which Way You Can, also starring Eastwood, as well as Sondra Locke, Ruth Gordon, Harry Guardino and John Quade.
“We are located in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, and we have four beautiful seasons to enjoy the escape from the hustle and bustle of the world below us, a removed and quiet place to train your loved ones. Our facility has been designed with the highest regard for your loved one’s safety,” Singleton said, adding, “Our bunkhouse has heating and air conditioning and private spaces accommodating the different varieties of personalities that stay with us, each with their private room area, if needed.”
According to Singleton, the entire facility and play yard are state-of-the-art, with 24-hour camera surveillance and recording, allowing owners to check in and see their pet anytime they are in the play yard enjoying themselves. “We like to keep an eye on them at all times, too,” she said. In addition, for the safety of the dogs, there is heat-wiring around the entire premises to ensure that coyotes and other wild animals don’t enter the area.
When asked what methods she employs in her training exercises, Singleton said her methods are different from most other dog trainers. “For instance, we remove unwanted behavior, which other trainers don’t do, by using obedience and impulse control exercises that reward dogs for positive behavior to rehabilitate them in order to prevent dog-to-dog and dog-to-people aggression. We also train them to avoid door-dashing, because sometimes children will leave the door open, and the dog will dash outside, possibly coming into contact with a hungry coyote.” In summarizing her training techniques, Singleton said, “I speak for those who can’t.”
Martha and Stanley from Chino had this to say as a testimonial: “It was not easy to turn over our Cooper for eight weeks to a stranger, but it was more necessary because we could not live with Cooper’s aggression with other dogs anymore. I will never forget Karen’s last words as she drove off with our dog. ‘Thank you for trusting me with Cooper.’ On graduation day, we were so proud to see such a transformation with Cooper as we watched what Cooper had learned. Karen and staff are highly professional and have compassion that is necessary to take care of your four-legged family member.”
Tara O. from Diamond Bar offered, “I’ve had pets my whole life and never until now have I had one that’s professionally trained. Oh my gosh! What a world of difference. I can honestly say that I love this dog more now because she is so good. ‘Anna Banana’ walks beautifully on a leash. Anna won’t step off a curb now until we tell her it’s ‘OK.’ We also had Anna rattlesnake trained. The training is multi-tiered in that she recognizes rattlesnakes by scent, sight and sound – how cool is that? She does all the basics now like sit, down, stay, speak, etc. When we place her, she goes to her bed and stays. She never jumps on anyone – she will do ‘Shamu’ (up on her hind legs, but she doesn’t touch you). This is just the surface of what she is trained to do, but the best part is that she is full of love like a Labrador should be. She’s awesome.”
Mountain Top Dog Training’s teaching and training hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and some Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are closed on Sunday. For more information, call them at (909) 464-0393 or email them at [email protected]
Karen Singleton poses with her beagle, Abby. (Photos by Douglas W. Motley)
Ditto, a “multi-poo” (mixed poodle), has been trained to prevent door-dashing outdoors, which could expose her to danger.
Training assistant Jade Greene demonstrates how a dog will ring chimes to let its owner know it needs to go to the bathroom.
This heated and air-conditioned bunkhouse has three separate rooms, each of which can accommodate up to four dogs, as long as they are compatible.
A fenced-in daytime play yard keeps the dogs from wandering.