Group class training is when a trainer instructs a group of people and their dogs. In a group class, you should not only be taught well, but you should feel that you are getting your share of attention and not feel left out or passed over. That’s why I keep my group classes very small – it ensures that everyone gets individualized attention. No one ever gets left out in my groups! Tip: Be careful of your very inexpensive groups – sometimes there’s a reason for that. Sometimes it’s because it’s an inexperienced trainer, sometimes it’s because there are going to be a lot of students there. (In group classes, basically everyone shares the cost of the instructor’s time. The more people, the less each one has to pay, see?)
In group classes, the trainer is basically your coach – teaching you how to train your dog. You will need to practice at least once a day (better if it’s multiple times a day for short periods) in order for your dog to learn what you’re teaching. I liken it to learning to play the piano. If you only play for the hour that the teacher is there, you will never learn to play the piano. You have to practice every day. Same thing with dog training!
Advantages of Group Classes:
- Your dog learns to work around the distraction of people he doesn’t know as well as other dogs.
- As mentioned, the cost of a group class is much lower than either private training or day training.
- There’s usually a great sense of camaraderie with your classmates.
- People can often pick up new ideas by watching others with their dogs.
Disadvantages of Group Classes:
- My attention will not be focused on you and your dog only.
- You must travel to group class.
Here is a breakdown of the classes I routinely offer in a group class format:
Basic Obedience & Manners – This small group course is meant for dogs without much (or any) prior training, or those who need to learn how to use their prior training around the distractions of a group class. You and your dog will learn basic obedience (sit, stay, down, come, walking on a loose lead) as well as manners with strangers, “Leave It”, “Off,” waiting at doors, focus, responsible ownership and more. Any issues that you are experiencing with your dog (like housebreaking, mouthing, socialization, etc) will be addressed each week along with new skills. The AKC S.T.A.R. puppy test (Socialization, Training, Activity, Responsibility) will given during the last class to any dogs under 1 year old. For group classes, this course is 6 weeks long and class size is strictly limited to 4 dogs to ensure everyone gets individualized attention. Puppies through seniors are welcome! All ages of dogs learn together here: pups, adolescents, young adults, adults, and seniors! Teaching is individualized and will be tailored to your dog based on his age and what he needs! Please note that puppies must be at least 16 weeks old AND have completed their distemper/parvo series before beginning this class. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Intermediate Obedience / Canine Good Citizen – This group course is for dogs who have graduated from Basic Obedience & Manners and want to continue to improve the skills learned there. This course will continue to improve your dog’s manners by teaching more advanced skills such as calmly allowing greeting and petting, walking on a loose lead with right/left/about turns, behaving politely when meeting other dogs, Leave It while walking on loose lead, waiting for food bowl, and more. This class ends with the 10-item CGC test (CGC stands for Canine Good Citizen. It’s an AKC program that is open to all dogs – both purebred and mixed breeds). We will work on getting speedier responses and we add in many distractions so your dog learns to focus on you and respond despite the distractions around him. (For full information about the CGC test, please see click here.) Dogs entering this course must be 5 months or older and have completed Basic Obedience & Manners with me. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Advanced Obedience & Manners – This group course takes your dog’s obedience & manners to the next level. We improve on all obedience cues by adding difficult distractions (like other dogs playing ball) so your dog continues to learn to keep his attention focused on you and respond to you no matter what. We’ll add difficulty to his current skills and introduce new, more complex ones. We’ll proof against major distractions, speed up his response time and focus, and introduce formal, structured obedience as well as the beginnings of off-lead work. Add some polish and finesse to your dog’s obedience! Dogs entering this course must be 5 months or older and have completed Intermediate Obedience with me or have their CGC. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Community Canine (Advanced CGC) Preparation – This class helps to prepare your dog to take and pass the AKC Community Canine (CGC-A) test (CGC-A stands for Canine Good Citizen – Advanced). The Community Canine test extends the skills learned in the CGC class to the community – it’s a bit more real life. You and your dog will learn the skills needed to pass the 10-item Community Canine test which will be given on the last day of this course. The 10 items on the Community Canine test are advanced skills that every well-mannered dog should have, such as sitting/lying calmly while you fill out papers, holding sit/stay while you stand in a small group of other handlers with dogs, “Leave it”, come when called with distractions present, Loose lead walking past other dogs and through a public crowd, and more. This AKC program is open to all dogs – both purebred and mixed breeds – and recognizes those dogs who have good manners in the home and in public. (For full information about the Community Canine test, click here.) Please note that by last class, dogs must either have an AKC registration number, PAL number OR an AKC Canine Partners number – available for ALL non-AKC dogs including mixed breeds. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Therapy Dog Training – This course will help to prepare your dog to be a working therapy dog. We will cover greeting, therapy dog commands, practice around differently-abled people, learning to “read” your dog, as well as sights and sounds dogs may not be used to, and much more. Student/dog teams will be evaluated for the behavior portion of the therapy dog certification and instructed how to complete the Visits portion so their dog can become a Certified Therapy Dog. This course is 6 weeks long and includes the evaluation at the conclusion. Dogs entering this course must have completed at least Basic Obedience & Manners with me or have their CGC and must be at least 1 year old by the last class. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Home & Social Manners – This group course concentrates on teaching your dog the skills he needs to be well-behaved both at home and in public. Specifically, we will cover lying quietly while the family eats, remaining in his place while you answer the door, sitting and accepting petting politely, remaining calm when another dog approaches, waiting to go through a door until you tell him to, calm and mannerly entering/exiting the car, and much more. We will teach and strengthen his obedience, focus, and basic manners. We’ll teach him to respond on your first command, listen despite distractions, and learn and practice his manners with strangers and other dogs. Dogs entering this course should already have very basic skills (at minimum, a RELIABLE sit, down, and stay) and be about 5 months or older. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Training in the Real World – Does your dog behave well in class or in your home but not when out in the real world and distracted? This small group course meets at a different place in the community each week and we work in the “real world” so the dogs learn to focus and do what you ask even when distracted. For example, one week we might meet in a pet store, another week at a busy shopping area, etc. We’ll practice and hone the skills you and your dog need when out and about in public. This class will help ensure that your dog is well-behaved and uses his training in the real world, not just in a class setting. One orientation session in class (with dogs), followed by 3 weeks of meeting in the community. Dogs entering this course must have completed Basic Obedience & Manners with me or I’ll need to evaluate skills prior to enrollment, and be about 5 months or older. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Nose Work – In this course, your dog will learn to use the power of his amazing nose to search for a specific odor and find its source. In Level 1, we begin just as the drug-sniffing dogs do – by teaching your dog to locate a scent and alert you! Nose work is a fun “search-and-scenting” activity for any age or breed of dog. It’s a great activity for both of you that takes advantage of your dog’s innate desire to hunt and his ability to pick up scents. The goal of this course is to learn the nose work games with your dog and have fun while building your dog’s confidence. In Level 2, we focus on teaching two elements of Nose Work: Container searches and Interior searches. We will continue to develop handler skills and will introduce your dog to the Birch odor as well. Allow your dog to use his nose and you’ll be amazed by what he can do! Open to dogs 4 months old and up. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Agility for Fun & Focus – This course has a mix of beginners as well as advanced students. All teams work at their own pace. Agility involves teamwork between dog and handler as the dog is lead through, over, under, and across obstacles as well as around the course where these obstacles are set up. Beginners will learn the basics of canine agility and become familiar with agility equipment (similar to those used on a professional agility course) and the basics of maneuvering through the course. Advanced students will be speeding up their dog’s responses and increasing his focus and ability to follow directions at a distance. Agility is a great way to improve communication with your dog, have fun, and exercise his body and mind! Please note that your dog should have enough self-control to work around other dogs without being disruptive. Dogs entering this class must have completed Basic Obedience & Manners with me or I need to evaluate skills. Open to dogs 4 months old and up. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Games for Obedience – This group class is literally all fun and games! We will be playing games that help sharpen your dog’s skills (shh, don’t tell – they think it’s just fun!). Your dog (and you!) will have a blast in this course. We’ll be playing musical mats, obstacle course, doggy races, speed-sit, Snoopy Says, and so much more. Lots of laughing, cheering, and fun in this course – and, shh, learning too! Dogs entering this course should know their Basic Obedience and be at least 4-5 months old. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
Dog Tricks & Games – This group class is literally all fun and games! We will be playing games that help sharpen your dog’s skills (shh, don’t tell – they think it’s just fun!). Your dog (and you!) will have a blast in this course. We’ll be playing musical mats, obstacle course, doggy races, speed-sit, Snoopy Says, and so much more. You’ll also teach your dog a selection of dog tricks such as give paw, wave, roll over, spin, play dead, and more. Trick training is a great way to engage your dog’s mind, strengthen your bond, and have fun. Dogs love learning tricks! But, it’s not just fun. Trick training has many benefits to both dog and human: Your bond with your dog is strengthened; it’s a great way to use up your dog’s mental and physical energy; it strengthens attention, obedience, and your dogs desire to learn; and importantly, gives your dog a fun way to use his brain! Dogs LOVE to think and learn and exercise their brains – they need to in order to be healthy and happy – and trick training is a great way to do that. Lots of laughing, cheering, and fun in this course – and, shh, learning too! Dogs entering this course must already know how to reliably Sit, Stay, and Down and be at least 4 months old. Click here to see my upcoming group class schedule.
If you are interested in having your dog trained in your home and having me do the training instead of you, see Day Training.
If you’re interested in having your dog trained in your home but want to do the training yourself, please see Private Training.
And of course, contact me with any questions!