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 accessed!

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

Students of any group program are welcome to purchase a significantly 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 accessed!

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 when this is the case. 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
  • Outdoor classes when weather allows
  • 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.