Group Training FAQ

When is group training the best option?

Group classes are ideal for dogs who are friendly/tolerant of people and other dogs and require training in manners/obedience. The only exception is the Control Unleashed program where behaviour modification is a primary focus. There are several training programs offered at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services. The two foundation programs, Puppy Socialization and Life Skills, run in a “modular” enrolment format and are constantly on the calendar (see below). Students may join these classes at any time. Specialty classes are offered routinely and on a rotating basis. Use the drop-down menu to view more information on the program that most interests you.

How do “Mix and Match”/modular classes work?

For both foundation classes, the Puppy Socialization Program and Life Skills, are specifically structured to allow students to mix and match their class days. The curriculums are “modular”, meaning that each individual class takes a workshop-style approach to training a specific topic. This means that the “modules” can be taken in any order, and thus students can pick and choose which days to attend class. Those who desire a fixed schedule are welcome to book the same day each week.

This format works very well for foundation classes, and allows students more freedom to book their classes as their schedule permits. Shift workers and owners who take vacation or travel for work have opportunity to attend classes with a schedule that fits their life.

When do group classes run?

Foundation group classes run constantly in several time slots each week. Orientation Sessions run weekly or bi-weekly. View the calendar for details. Specialty Class start dates are specified on each webpage.

What is your booking/cancellation policy?

Attendees of group classes are required to attend a free Orientation Session prior to starting in class with their dog. Prospective students are welcome to attend this session prior to registering in class and use it as a way to learn more about the school, training method, and classes offered.

Once payment is received for a program and a student has attended an Orientation session, you may use the online schedule to book or cancel individual classes in your program.  Cancelation of an individual class booking may be made 24 hours in advance to avoid forfeiting the class. Detailed information on booking classes will be provided to all students.

Registration for Specialty Classes is slightly different and is specified on each webpage. Please review group class policy for more information on booking and cancellation.

What happens when the school is closed?

All scheduled closures, for example holidays and continuing education events, will be blocked off on the schedule and noted on the side menu on the webpage. Group class programs will be placed on hold during this time, and no time will be lost from students’ programs.

If there is an unscheduled closure, for example due to extreme weather or illness on the part of the instructor, individuals affected will be contacted and will be given a chance to make up the missed class. I do my best not to have unplanned interruptions to the schedule.

How do I find out more about a program?

You will find detailed descriptions on each program in the Group Class drop down menu in the side menu bar.

Do you offer a guarantee?

In order to remain in compliance with the CCPDT Code of Ethics, I do not offer a guarantee.  A trainer teaches an owner how to train their dog; thus, asking a trainer for a guarantee isn’t asking for a guarantee on training methods, it’s asking for a guarantee on the one’s own behaviour inasmuch as it affects the dog. A guarantee is simply a marketing tactic – buyer beware!

What is the owner’s role in training?

Your role is invaluable! Your job will be to assure that you understand the information given to you and adhere to the training protocols laid out for you and your dog. The most successful owner is engaged, actively listens and assimilates information, asks lots of questions and requests clarification when necessary, frequently gives and requests feedback, and is overall an active partner in training. I want to work with you to help you and your dog – your dog and I can’t do it without you!

What methods of training do you use in group classes?

Respect for the dog’s physical, mental and emotional well-being is a foremost priority in any training at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services. Positive Reinforcement refers to a type of consequence: offering the dog something they want in order to increase the frequency of a behaviour. This is not a bribe because the dog is not shown up-front the “thing” they want. Consequences occur after the behaviour has happened, as opposed to a lure (or “bribe”) which is used in order to prompt a behaviour. Lures have their place, however must be used properly and must be faded out of training as soon as possible.

In class, students will learn how to “shape” behaviour, to properly use and fade a lure, to add a cue (the word “sit” for example), to capture behaviour, to properly reinforce a behaviour and to effectively manage and prevent reinforcement for undesirable behaviours. Rather than resorting to corrections to stop unwanted behaviours, owners will be coached thorough how to effectively teach an incompatible behaviour that will have the added benefit of preventing unwanted behaviours (for example, a dog cannot simultaneously sit and jump). Specific behaviours or issues addressed in each class are detailed on program webpages, found in the drop down menu above.

For those interested in Control Unleashed group programs, you are encouraged to review Private Training FAQ for information on methods used in behaviour modification training.