Will my dog be “obedient” when I finish the Manners Class?
We dog trainers have a saying…”your dog is a perfect reflection of you as a trainer”. In other words your dog will be as obedient as YOU want him to be,and it all depends on how much work you put in.
One six or 8 week set of classes will not produce a fully trained dog,just as one year of school will not produce a fully educated child,but it is a start. As with children,dogs require time and patience and they must do their homework! 90% of all the training your dog gets during our 8 week classes will be at home with you.
The classroom is a place for YOU to learn how to teach the exercises to your dog,try them out with an instructor present and get some input on your timing and mechanical skills. We would never expect you to get everything perfectly in class the first time. We do however expect you to do your homework and have it perfectly the following class! One hour a week in class will not be enough to train the dog. If you want the most from your time and money you MUST do your homework!
If you want a higher level of training on your dog you will need to learn how to do this and it would be totally overwhelming for you and the dog to try to cram that all into 8 weeks! Obviously the more classes you take the better the dog will be. To see a breakdown of our Obedience Classes please visit our Classes Page.
My dog is fearful of strangers and I don’t know if he would be comfortable in a training class.
Well this is exactly the type of dog that needs to get into a class. If you are worried your dog would snap at or bite a stranger if they approached you need to do two things. First tell the instructor immediately of your concerns and second fit your dog with a Gentle Leader head halter. This will help you to keep control of the dogs head at all times and it will calm the dog as well. Often fearful behavior is exacerbated by the handler being afraid of what the dog might do. This goes right down the leash and into the dog. Having control of your dogs head will calm you as well and your dog will feel that you are relaxed in the room and he will also be able to relax.
We keep our classes small,only 6-8 dogs in one class,and all the dogs are safely crated while one dog works the floor at a time. This is for the benefit of everyone in class. We want the people to get one on one time with the instructor and we want the dog to have the least amount of distractions as possible.
I have a Pit Bull or Pit Bull Cross. Can I still come to your classes and does my dog have to wear a muzzle?
We welcome all dogs regardless of breed in our classes and we do not require the “bully” breeds to wear a muzzle in our classes. If for some reason we feel the dog has more control of the owner than the owner has of the dog,or if the dog has a history of people or dog aggression,we will require the use of a Gentle Leader Head Halter,regardless of breed. This is for safety of our staff and other clients and control of the dog.
A Gentle Leader is NOT a muzzle. The dogs can eat,play and yes,even bite with the Gentle Leader. What the Gentle Leader does do is give the owner complete control of the dogs head with very little strength required from the handler ( ie:handler smaller than the dog) and absolutely NO PHYSICAL PAIN administer to the dog. Many alternate training tools like choke chains and pinch/prong collars work based upon administering physical pain to control the dog. A Gentle Leader is about as uncomfortable as a flat buckle collar is the first time you put it on a puppy. They want to scratch at it and get it off which is normal but most dogs get over that in about a week of continuous use.
I want to do some agility training with my dog recreationally;I am not interested in competing. Can I do this at your facility?
Of course you can! “Recreationally” is a state of mind,of the human,not the dog. Your dog doesn’t know the difference between competitive and recreational. All our dogs learn the same way. Our classes are designed to make the learning process fun by breaking down the individual parts of the sport into manageable pieces,and at the same time ensure the training is done safely. The sport of agility is fast and strenuous for dog and handler and the potential for injury is always present,but the chance of injury increases greatly when the sport is trained poorly or the dogs are asked to perform equipment at full speed and full height that they are not properly trained to do. To see a breakdown of our agility classes please visit our Agility Page.
I am interested in doing a sport with my dog that goes beyond basic obedience but I am not interested in Agility. What do you recommend?
The sport of Rally –Obedience is a relatively new sport that combines advanced obedience exercises with some agility (jump,tunnel and 6 weave poles in the higher levels) and freestyle type work.
The first level,Novice,is all done on leash. The Advanced,Excellent and Versatility classes require the dog to work on both sides of the handler,at a faster speed with more precision so it does require some advanced obedience skills first. It is a lot of fun and is far more challenging than people think. The nice thing about Rally –O is that you can talk to your dog,praise your dog and even reward your dog along the way (with some rules about how and when you do this). The dogs and handlers seem to really enjoy it! For more information on our Rally O classes and events please go to the Rally O Page.
I have a new puppy and want to start him off right. How soon can I get him into a class?
As long as they have at least one set of shots AFTER they are 12 weeks old they are welcome to come to class. The earlier the better! The Manners classes are perfect for puppies or adult dogs that just need some basic skills. These classes are 8 weeks long and the first class we do without the dog. That may sound strange but It is important for the handler to get to know the instructor,the instructor to get to know the students,to give the handlers some time to discuss any problems or concerns they may be having with the dog at home without the distraction of a hyper dog at the end of the leash and to give the owners some homework that will prepare the dog mentally and physically for their class.
What is a Gentle Leader Head Halter and who should use one?
A head halter is like a halter you would put on a horse. You would not throw a rope around a horse’s neck and expect to lead him someplace he doesn’t want to go! The same principal applies to a dog. When you have control of the dog’s head you have control of the dog. Any dog that has leash pulling issues,is overly excited by it’s environment to the point that it cannot focus on it’s handler or any dog with aggressive tendencies towards people or other dogs should absolutely always be on a gentle leader for his own safety and the safety of others. A head halter gives the handler complete control of the dog’s head and therefore control of the dog. The dog cannot pull when he is wearing a Gentle Leader,nor can he lunge,or bark if you choose for him not to.
A flat buckle collar,choke chain or pinch/prong collar will not change the environment for the dog;in fact most of these tools will only aggravate the situation. The only way to stop a dog from pulling,lunging,barking,growling at something is to turn its head away and change the picture for the dog. The “corrective” collars do not turn the dogs head,they simply add pain and/or stress to an already nervous,frightened or overly stimulated dog. Also corrective collars can actually encourage a dog to be more aggressive and make a nervous or under socialized dog act out more aggressively in fear of the pain.
The main reason a Gentle Leader works is that the Gentle Leader actually changes the environment for the dog. When a dog is acting out towards another dog,or pulling the handler to get someplace,the Gentle Leader simply and gently turns the dogs head away from what it is focused on. This changes the picture for the dog and he can calm down and re focus his attention on the handler and be rewarded for appropriate behavior. A Gentle Leader allows the dog to be rewarded much more often for good behavior as the good behavior happens more often. The handler relaxes (because they know the dog is under control and can’t pull them over or towards another dog or person) and can pay more attention to the dog and the good things the dog is doing.
A Gentle Leader fits snuggly around the nose and the back of the head. It is a training tool used to control the dog’s head. The dog can eat,drink,play and also bite. It is NOT a muzzle. There are other head halters out there that may be cheaper,but they just don’t fit the dogs properly. The Gentle Leader adjusts both behind the head and under the dog’s chin so it is more comfortable for the dog.