“Socialization: That just means having friends over and going to the dog park, right…?”
You’ve probably heard about socialization, but do you really know what that means? Often, “common knowledge” approaches to socialization can do more damage than they do good. Proper socialization is like a ‘behavioural vaccine’ that can protect your puppy from developing a multitude of behaviour problems as an adult.
Did you know that this “window of socialization” closes at a very young age?
Do you know what are you doing now that might be putting your puppy at risk as an adult?
Are you missing critical pieces of the socialization puzzle?
Come learn about Socialization, what it is, what you need to do, and what you need to avoid.
The Training for Distractions Program is perfect for your dog if you:
Have a dog who is distracted by food/toys/environment, and other dogs and people, but is friendly and is not reactive (see below)
Want better reliability and compliance in the face of distractions
Want your dog to make better choices without nagging her
Want training strategies that are applicable to all distractions
Requirements and Prerequisites:
Dogs must be comfortable with other dogs and humans. This class is not for dogs with significant social difficulties including: barking/lunging, snarking/snapping upon greeting a dog, etc. If this describes your dog, please see below for options.
Dogs must be up-to-date on all vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian
Completion of a foundation program at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services OR an equivalent from another school if owners/dogs have a solid understanding of clicker training and prerequisite behaviours.
Owners who have not trained at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services previously may be required to attend a free assessment and Orientation Webinar session prior to class
Experience with positive training (both dog and human), and at least an introduction of the following:
Zen or Leave it (impulse control around food in hand)
Sit and Down (verbal cue or hand signal)
Loose leash walking basics
If you have most but not all prerequisites, please contact the office to discuss
* Due to similarities between COVID and common cold symptoms, if your instructor is ill with a suspected cold your program will be extended by a week.
Make-up sessions for missed classes are offered at a discounted rate of $30/half hour and must be completed the same week as the class that is missed (subject to private session policy).
Winter Weather & COVID Advisory: Classes will NOT be cancelled unless the weather is truly extreme – be prepared for our Canadian winters! Review your Program Manual for content if you have to miss a class. If a class is cancelled you will be contacted directly.
Should a COVID-related closure occur in the duration of this program, they will be put on hold until deemed safe to reopen. No alternative will be provided in this circumstance.
All too often, “training the dog” is about dealing with the habits we don’t like. Isn’t it time to train for fun, for enrichment, and for relationship?
The Brain Training Series focuses on increasing your dog’s receptivity to you and capacity to learn in order to work through various stages of difficulty and complexity of FUN tricks and behaviours.
How it Works
The Series has five programs you can choose from, outlined below. In each program, we will introduce a Base Behaviour that we will then turn into a wide variety of tricks. Each program will also include an optional assortment of other tricks to add variety to the central theme.
These programs can be taken in any order, and you can also attend one program multiple times to learn additional new tricks! Check the bottom of this page to see which program is on the schedule next!
You will need to acquire your own props for some of these tricks, some props will be available to borrow for use during in-person classes. Prop requirement will be reviewed in class.
“Boot-Scootin’ Back-up Challenge” Base Behaviour: Back up to step on an object Example of tricks: long distance reverse, karate kick, backward circle around you, weave through your legs backward, half-hand stand, and more…
“Snoot-Boop Challenge” Base Behaviour: Nose touch to object Example of tricks: close a cupboard, target stick, ring a bell, bowling, unroll a carpet, volley ball, put on your harness, and more…
“Snoot-Push Challenge” Base Behaviour: Nose push (freeze in position) Example of tricks: blowing bubbles in water, kiss like a seal, puppy dog eyes, finger-moustache, show your front teeth, “The Snoot Challenge”, and more…
“Hold My Beer Challenge” Base Behaviour: Hold an object Example of tricks: hold a sign, hold a flag, put your toys away, dunk a basket ball, throw out the garbage, get me a tissue, open the door/close the crate, and more…
“Stompin’ Paws Challenge” Base Behaviour: Stand on object with front feet Example of tricks: Feet up on a stool/chair, balance on a ball, press a button/door bell, file your own nails, skateboard, step up on your feet and walk with you, and more…
Additional Tricks Each class will include an assortment of tricks in addition to the theme of the Base Behaviour. This includes ticks such as: stop punching yourself (dog paws at her face), stand under you, crawl, sit pretty, circle around you, yoga stretch, leg weave (stationary and walking), spin, twist, play dead, and more…
Dogs must be up-to-date on all vaccines as recommended by your veterinarian (in-person only)
Completion of a foundation program at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services OR an equivalent from another school (note: see important prerequisites, below)
Owners who have not trained at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services previously will be required to view the Orientation Webinar session prior to class, and possibly attend a free assessment
Prerequisite training skills (taught with positive reinforcement/clicker):
Hand target (touch)
Basic skills in recall, sit, leash walking, leave it/’doggy zen’
Refunds and credit are not available for Specialty Classes.
The Boot-Scootin’ Back-up Challenge!
$275+HST (Total $310.75) Starting Monday Mar 22, 7:30pm * no class on Easter Monday
This program takes place in-person, but in event of a lockdown the program will transfer to a live virtual ZOOM format.
On Sunday, May 4, 2014, from 11am-1:30pm Scratch and Sniff Canine Services is thrilled to host a hands-on workshop by Tania Costa of the Canine Wellness Centre about physical health and wellness for your older dog.
Book a working spot and bring your dog for a personalized hands-on experience – book an audit spot to learn the techniques on other people’s dogs.
The workshop will explore:
Arthritis and its affect on your older dog
Your dog’s ideal weight
Principles of balance and proprioception for your older dog
Core strengthening exercises to help maintain muscle mass in your older dog
Equipment and exercises for typical muscle weakness
Manual therapy you can perform on your older dog
First-come-first-served, so register now to claim your spot!
Working spots (bring your dog) are limited $69+HST. Working Spots are now SOLD OUT. Please register for an audit spot.
Audit spots (working with other people and their dogs) $49+HST.
Priority will be given to senior dogs for working spots. Anyone is welcome to register for an audit spot.
Spots are limited, register now to avoid disappointment. Refunds are not available for registration fees.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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!”
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!
Next dates TBA
Including Scent Kit
If you need to miss a class a discounted make-up session can be scheduled for $30/half hour. Please plan to attend all classes.
***IN CASE OF COVID-RELATED CLOSURE: This program will transfer to a virtual ZOOM format. No other credit, refund, or transfer will be accommodated. Due to similarities between the common cold and COVID symptoms, if your instructor is ill any affected class will transfer temporarily to a virtual ZOOM format, assuming capacity to teach is maintained.
In case of COVID closure: Technology requirements for the virtual format are outlined in the Virtual Training FAQs
Prerequisite behaviours, taught with positive/clicker training
Zen/basic leave it with food in hand
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.
Have you ever wondered what clicker training is all about? Now is your chance to experience clicker training with your dog. This one and a half hour workshop will explore the fundamentals and application of clicker training.
There is a maximum of four working spots so register early! There are unlimited audit spots.
Please read the below points carefully and use the form below to register to hold a spot in the workshop Intro to Clicker Training on Saturday November 30th at 1-2:30pm.
A waitlist will be started when all spots are filled
Workshop participants will be provided with a clicker and relevant handouts.
Workshop participants are asked to bring a bag of at least 300, pea-sized smelly treats (cheese, hot dog, sandwich meats, chopped steak – not biscuits, kibble or veggies) and a fanny pack in which to hold the treats, or a pouch can be purchased at the school.
Workshop participants are asked to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the workshop.
Dogs must be over 16 weeks old with age-appropriate vaccinations. This workshop is not geared towards under-vaccinated puppies.
All dogs must behave in an appropriate and social manner when interacting with people and other dogs.
Holders of free passes MUST confirm their attendance by Nov 23rd or their spot will not be held.
Attending dogs must be friendly with all dogs and people – this is not an appropriate event for reactive, aggressive or fearful dogs even if they are small. (If you are unsure, please contact the office)