Local Business Profile: CleverPup 101 Family Dog Training

Trainer uses creativity and a large bag of tricks to make dogs think good manners and good behavior are their ideas.

could be considered the Miss Manners of dog training. As owner of CleverPup 101 Family Dog Training, she works to make the family dog an integral part of the family by teaching them manners.

“At my sister’s house at Christmas, the dogs are in crates.” Vesalo said she’d rather have the dogs right in there with the family, but without manners they are relegated to crates.

The trick to teaching doggy manners? “Dogs have to think it’s the coolest thing in the world to offer good manners or it’s always going to be a struggle,” Vesalo said.

“Everything starts with an in-home private consultation. I make it my business to get to know you and your dog,” Vesalo said. CleverPup 101 training is tailored to meet the needs of individual clients and their dogs. For instance, methods used to teach a dog to not steal things from a countertop will differ depending on the make-up of the family to which the dog belongs.

Vesalo said her training is different from some other companies, using creativity and a large bag of tricks. “As opposed to companies who put a shock collar on an 8-week-old puppy, there’s no force, no fear and no pain, she said. Consequences of harsh and painful training are that it backfires a third of the time and can create more problems than it solves, she added. When trained properly, Vesalo said, a dog thinks good manners are his idea.

Company name?

CleverPup 101 Family Dog Training. Before CleverPup was her business name, Vesalo used it as an email address. Twenty years ago, a British friend always called Vesalo’s dog a “clever girl.” Someone else with Vesalo’s service provider already snatched up “Clever Girl” so Vesalo decided to use “CleverPup” instead.

 How long have you been in business?

Vesalo started CleverPup 101 almost five years ago, but she’s been training dogs for nearly 20 years. When the adult Vesalo got her first puppy, they went to obedience class. “She was so bad,” Vesalo said. “They just kept inviting us back [to class].” After about a year, the pet store management asked Vesalo to become an assistant trainer. She eventually became an area trainer with a national pet store chain where she trained instructors and worked with in-store dog training classes. “In a year I would see over 500 dogs. That’s where got my footing and experience,” she said.

 How many people are employed?

CleverPup 101 is a one-person shop, Vesalo said.

Where is the company headquartered?

CleverPup 101 is located in the Schoolhouse at Yellow Creek, 788 Wye Road in Bath. Vesalo’s building is behind Lanning’s restaurant and two doors down from the Bake Shop in Ghent. The business located here in July 2010.

What is your product/service?

CleverPup 101 offers traditional group dog training classes at its Wye Road location. Most often, however, Vesalo takes her show on the road and trains in her clients’ homes.

Many of Vesalo’s clients are busy professionals who would have a difficult time getting to an eight-session group training class so she goes to them, customizing the length of time between appointments to allow the client and dog time to work on a specific behavior.

Working with the client in their home also allows her to work with the family and the dog in context. If a dog needs to learn to handle greetings – and not jump on the guests – they can do so at their own front door, Vesalo said.

What is your goal for the company?

Vesalo’s goal is continue to help and support dogs and their families to live a happy, well integrated life.

 Prospective clients can call 330-620-6180 for a class schedule or call to schedule a private appointment. Vesalo is available days, evenings and weekends.


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