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www.scratchandsniff.ca

Group Training FAQ

Click the arrows to learn more about our IN-PERSON group classes!

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 any program where behaviour modification is a primary focus.) There is an assortment of training programs offered at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services.

The foundation program, Life Skills, runs in an “open enrolment” format and is always on the calendar (see below), and you may join this program 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 does “open enrolment” work?

You’re welcome to join Life Skills class any time there is a space available! Once joining class, you will attend 6 consecutive weekly classes to complete your full program. The curriculum is specially designed such that classes may be taken in any order.

What happens if I miss a Life Skills class?

In the case of a COVID-related shut down, illness, quarantine, students in the In-Person Life Skills program will be transferred into the Virtual Life Skills format to complete their remaining classes. Students will already be familiar with the virtual platform because this is where their at-home reference information is found!

Students with non-COVID related absences, for example scheduling conflicts, can keep up with access to their online Life Skills Online Resource Classroom.

Students of any group program are welcome to purchase a discounted half hour private session to make up that content. This may be required in some specialty programs in order to keep up with the class.

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, and programs will be scheduled around this.

In the case of a COVID-related shut down, illness, or quarantine, all students in the In-Person Life Skills program will be transferred into the Virtual Life Skills format to complete their remaining classes. Students will already be familiar with the virtual platform because this is where their at-home reference information is found!

Do you cancel classes in bad weather?

Very rarely! Unless the roads are dire (e.g. heavy freezing rain), classes will run. All students affected will be contacted if a class is cancelled. If you haven’t heard from the office, assume classes will run.

What are your COVID safety precautions?

  • Masks are mandatory indoors and sanitizer provided, as dictated by WDG Public Health
  • Small group class size and limited attendance
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection of the premises
  • Social/Physical Distancing in effect
  • Puppy Party Drop-offs prevent contact between owners during high-contact play, while maintaining socialization benefits for your puppy. Drop off your pup, play and socialization will be managed by your trainer, and you bring home a tired puppy!
  • In the event of a COVID-related closure, illness, or quarantine that prevents either the running or attendance of in-person classes, all students will immediately transition seamlessly into the Virtual Life Skills Program to complete their program in an online format.

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 on-topic 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 top 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. Specific behaviours or issues addressed in each class are detailed on program webpages.

Private Training FAQ

Private dog training for fear, reactivity, aggression, manners, obedience and puppies.

Do you offer Service Dog Training?

No. Service dog prospects are welcome to attend our classes, including Puppy Parties, however we do not offer any type of service dog training.

When is private training the best option?

Private training is the best option for dealing with issues of  reactivity, fear and aggression. It is also the best option for manners/obedience for owners wanting to pursue focused training on a single topic, prefer one-on-one training and for those owners with schedules that cannot accommodate the group class program.

How much does private training cost?

All pricing is listed on the Private Training webpage.

Where are you located? What is your service area?

Private training is offered in your home or at the facility. The school is located at 340 Southgate Drive #3, Guelph.
Due to COVID restrictions, in-home sessions are not available. In some instances, in-yard or neighbourhood training can be accommodated. Contact the office to find out if travel is available to your area, and if any travel fees apply.

What are your hours?

Availability varies by week, with bookings Monday through Friday. Please contact the office.

What is your booking/cancellation policy?

Payment is required in order to hold your appointment time within 24hrs of making the booking. Notice of cancellation/rebook must be received 48 hours in advance or there is a full charge for the missed session. Please read full policy here.

Do you cancel classes in bad weather?

Very rarely, unless the roads are dire (e.g. heavy freezing rain) or weather is a determining factor in a dog’s ability to train.

How many sessions/how long does it take to solve my problem?

The length of time or number of sessions that it will take to solve the issue is very much dependent on the issue, the owner and the dog. For example, an owner looking to teach a non-aggressive dog to settle at the sound of a door bell may take only a small number of sessions, however working through multiple issues involving fear or aggression will take more hands-on coaching. There is a discount available on multi-session packages, as outlined on the Private Training webpage. Owners acquire skills at different rates of speed and this in turn affects the dog’s progress.

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 one’s own behaviour inasmuch as it affects the dog. I will guarantee that you will receive up-to-date information and instruction on force-free training methodology, support, and guidance.

What is the owner’s role in training?

Your role is critical! 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. My “dream client” 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, and I can’t do it without you!

What do I need to prepare for my session?

  • Completed Behaviour Questionnaire
    • This will be sent to you via email. Complete in detail it on your computer and return it via email in advance of your session. Do not print, complete by hand or save it as a PDF. If you experience technical difficulties contact the office immediately.
  • Treats
    • Prepare great treats, the smellier/grosser the better! Initial sessions will need only “normal” treats such as Rollover brand log. For example: dehydrated organ meats, cooked and chopped lean meat from the butcher, or tripe treats.
    • NO veggies, fruit, kibble, hard biscuits, etc.
    • Chop treats no larger than the size of a pea (or smaller for tiny dogs)
    • Estimate about 300 pieces
    • Choose treats that will not upset your dog’s stomach
  • Pouch
    • Purchase a fanny pack, a treat pouch from the pet store, or a rock climbing chalk pouch, or notify your trainer and one will be available for purchase during in-person sessions.
    • NO pockets and over-the-shoulder type bags
  • Equipment
    • Have ready your regular walking equipment (leash, harness, etc) as well as any favourite toys. You may be required to use a different type of equipment, as determined in your session.
  • Feeding/Exercise
    • If the session falls near a meal time, please feed only a very small portion of the meal earlier than usual, or skip that meal. Cut back on all meals to accommodate the extra calories of training treats.
    • Exercise your dog appropriately prior to your session, however be sure not to exhaust your dog.

What methods do you use for behaviour modification training?

Respect for the dog’s physical, mental and emotional well-being is a foremost priority in any training at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services. Behaviour modification training focus on creating good associations with the over-whelming trigger or circumstance and teaching the dog how to make good choices, particularly when under stress.

A dog who feels in control of herself feels safe and secure, thus removing the root cause of most behaviour issues (fear, anxiety, stress, over-arousal, etc).

Our goal is to teach your dog that she is able to make good choices and help her to feel calm and happy in situations that might otherwise cause over-whelm. This is very much like “Doggy Therapy!”

The Real Cost of Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety is a fairly common behaviour problem that can affect any breed of dog. At its worst it is a full fledged panic disorder causing self-injury and extreme destruction of property. On the milder end, separation anxiety is distressing for the dog and can result in disruption for neighbours due to barking. It’s not uncommon to see this crop up in older puppies who never received proper “alone training” as a youngster, as well as shelter/rescue dogs who have had their lives shuffled through rehoming. Continue reading The Real Cost of Separation Anxiety

He KNOWS he was bad!!

Published in this month’s Speaking of Dogs newsletter

Just imagine…

A new friend invites you to tea. You really like this person and would like to get to know her better, so you happily accept. You visit the finest bakery and purchase delicious pastries, a hostess gift, and show up at her house, well-dressed and on time.

She lets you in, accepts the pastries graciously, and heads to the kitchen for  plates, telling you to “help yourself.” You turn left and head into the dining room, and laid out before you is a buffet table 10 – no, 20 – feet long. Stomach grumbling, you start helping yourself to the plentiful food.

Minutes later, your new friend gasps as she rushes through the doorway. She shouts, “NO! STOP! What are you doing?! Stop that, you ungrateful jerk!” She grabs a newspaper off the side table, rolls it up, and whacks you across the nose, saying, “BAD! BAD!” She grabs you by the shirt collar and drags you out the front door, slamming it behind you. You are left spinning on the front stoop, sore in body and mind, wondering what on earth just happened. Continue reading He KNOWS he was bad!!

Sniffer Dogs Program

Scent detection is an up-and-coming sport that’s seen a recent surge in popularity in Canada. The goal is to teach your dog to search for a particular scent, and then alert you to its location. The scent can be hidden anywhere from in one of multiple containers, to an interior room, a vehicle, or the outside of a building. This is a great way to mentally exhaust your dog, and truly learn to appreciate the unique abilities of our dogs.

The training taught in class is similar to what is used to teach working detection dogs, including bed bug dogs, border patrol dogs, conservation dogs, and drug dogs. There are also some similarities to other scent sports, such as tracking and search and rescue.

This is a fantastic way to tire out your pooch, and your dog will love it!

Program Details

LIVE Virtual Sniffer Dogs Level One
Starting Monday May 17th
– 6-7pm FULL (pending completion of registrations)
See complete dates below as this class skips a holiday weekend

Including Scent Kit: $290+HST
NOT including Scent Kit: $275+HST
* It is highly recommended that you select the scent kit option unless you live in a location that prohibits you from picking up the kit from the school in Guelph. If you assemble your own kit you will be responsible for ensuring that you have ALL components in time for your first class. Contact the office for details.

A recording can be provided a missed class if you alert the office ahead of the class date. Please plan to attend all classes.

 Requirements

  • Prerequisite behaviours, taught with positive/clicker training
    • Hand Target
    • Zen/basic leave it with food in hand
  • Materials
    • Training supplies as outlined in your handouts.
    • A Scent Kit, as outlined above
  • If you have not attended classes at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services, please review the above prerequisite behaviours and contact the office, and view the free Orientation Webinar prior to starting class.

If you have questions, please contact the office prior to enrolment.

COVID-19 Precautions (not applicable to virtual formats)

  • Masks that cover the nose/mouth and without vents are strictly mandatory when indoors and sanitizer is provided, as directed by WDG Public Health. No vented masks or bandanas.
  • Small group class size and limited attendance – one handler per dog
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection of the premises
  • Social/Physical Distancing in effect

Book your spot now!

Contact the office with questions before registration

  1. Complete the registration form below, and check your email for instructions
  2. To confirm your spot: upon receipt of your invoice, payment must be made within 24hrs via Email Money Transfer to info@scratchandsniff.ca

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Dog?

What does it really mean to say that someone is “spoiling” their dog? This is a common accusation from those opposed to using food in training, and a common concern of owners who are first exploring the use of food to the exclusion of corrections in training.

“To spoil” means to:

1. diminish or destroy the value or quality of

2. harm the character of (a child) by being too lenient or indulgent

Excerpt from the Oxford Dictionary

A “spoiled” child is thought to have a false sense of over-entitlement. A child that feels that they deserve more than anyone else based solely on their “character,” leading presumably to an adult with poor work ethic and inflated ego.

And no one likes an adult with a poor work ethic and inflated ego, right? Continue reading Spare the Rod, Spoil the Dog?