Tag Archives: manners

Puppy Party: Socialization & Play Group Drop-off

THIS is what you get to bring home from a Puppy Party!

A Puppy Party: Socialization & Play Drop-off is the ideal way to socialize your puppy while social distancing!

Drop your pup off at our door, and we’ll take your puppy for 90min of play, fun, socialization, confidence building and more. At the end of the Puppy Party, come back to our door for a no-contact pick up of your zonked out puppy.

Wondering about letting your 8wk old pup out to play? Check out this position statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour.

Meet Braxton, Mila, Lucy, Walnut and Willow in the Small Pup Group…
and Hank, Hazel, Bowie and Theodore in the Large Pup group!

The Details:

  • For puppies to start between 8-18wks, until they age out of the program (dependant on size, development, and play skills)
  • Puppies must:
    • be up-to-date on age-appropriate vaccinations
    • be appropriately dewormed
    • have appropriate documentation, as outlined below
    • have been adopted/home at least 7 days prior to the Puppy Party

Important Health Requirement:

Before your puppy can attend her first Puppy Party, health documentation is STRICTLY required. The following must be in place:

  • Vaccination of at least ONE set of age appropriate vaccines, including Parvo-Distemper
  • Deworming

We can accept the following forms of documentation:

  • An email from your local vet clinic stating that your puppy has received the above
  • A clear photo or scan of your puppy’s vet papers, showing vaccination and deworming

Take note that if this isn’t received prior to your first Puppy Party, your puppy will not be able to attend and credit cannot be transferred.

Schedule and Pricing

You can find the schedule at the bottom of this page.

Standard Pricing: $30+HST per session

Special price for puppies in our training classes: $20+HST per session
Join the All-Ages Life Skills Program (Virtual or in-person), or Private Training to access this discount!

Register Here!

Follow the below steps to register for Puppy Parties!

  1. Email the required Health Documentation (above) to the office.
  2. Book your Play Group below! Select the group based on the size of your puppy. If you’re unsure, contact the office for guidance.
  3. Send payment to the office via email money transfer to complete registration. Your booking is only tentative until payment is received.
  4. Check your email for instructions.

Select Your Puppy Party:

Click here if you have a small or shy puppy!

Click here if you have a medium or large puppy!

VIRTUAL All-Ages Life Skills

Dog training in the age of Social Distancing…
it CAN be done!

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed down our in-person classes, but we can achieve the same great results with the wonders of modern technology!

Virtual Life Skills is an all-ages manners and obedience program, appropriate for puppies and adult dogs alike – with a BONUS Puppy Package for Puppies under 6mo!

Who says learning can’t happen on the couch?

We will cover topics including:

  • Come when called
  • Settle and stay on a mat
  • Polite leash walking
  • Dealing with distractions
  • Polite greetings with people
  • Prevent running out the front door
  • Impulse control around food
  • Preventing “Counter surfing”
  • And more!

See what students say about virtual training!

How Does Virtual Training Work?

Using a virtual classroom called Google Classrooms, you will be have a weekly introduction to new exercises with video demonstrations, verbal descriptions and written instructions.

Each exercise is broken down into easy-to-follow steps, and you will receive personalized support and guidance as you train your dog.

  • Work at your own pace and on your own schedule!
  • Join class any time
  • Lessons are posted weekly and homework is reviewed on week days
  • Eight+ weeks access to dynamic content and personal guidance and training support
  • Access program content after your program is completed

Technology requirements are:

  • A basic understanding of computer/internet use, including recording a video
  • Internet capacity that allows for watching and uploading videos
  • A computer, phone or tablet that:
    • Has a microphone
    • Has a camera
    • Can connect to the internet

Read the FAQ for more important details

The Puppy Package

Puppy students get a special discount on Puppy Parties: Socialization and Play Group Drop-off!

Puppy students receive FREE access to the All Things Puppy Classroom for information on socialization and problem prevention that is specific to puppies – including guidance on nipping, house training, crate training and more!

Want to test out Google Classroom?

You’re welcome to access the test classroom and familiarize yourself with how the platform works. Simply:

Watch this demo of Virtual Life Skills!

Register here!

$239+HST $209+HST until June 1st!

Select your start date and complete the registration form

Notice: There will be a holiday closure from July 25th through Aug 9th. Feedback will be on hold during this time, and you will maintain access to the course materials. This will not affect students in the June 1st course start date, all other students will have an additional two weeks on their programs.

IN-PERSON All-Ages Life Skills

Life Skills is an all-ages manners and obedience program, appropriate for puppies, adolescents and adult dogs alike. Take a look below for details on the Puppy Socialization Life Skills Package!

We will cover topics such as:

  • Come when called
  • Settle and stay on a mat
  • Polite leash walking
  • Dealing with distractions
  • Polite greetings with people
  • Prevent running out the front door
  • Impulse control around food
  • Preventing “Counter surfing”
  • And more!

Package Options

Life Skills Package:

  • Orientation Webinar to watch before getting started
  • Six group classes with a flexible start date
  • Life Skills Program Manual including videos of training exercises
  • If you need a make-up class, stay caught up with Virtual Life Skills

Puppy Socialization Life Skills Package:

Available to pups aged 16wks and under. You get all of the above PLUS:

  • Access to the All Things Puppy Classroom for quick reference on common puppy issues, such as house training, nipping, crate training and more
  • Puppy Play & Socialization A discount on the Puppy Party: Socialization and Play Drop-off for your puppy to attend during your program and until s/he ages out

Flexible Start Date

You can start class any time space is available! No need to wait for a new session. All you need to do is:

  1. Choose your start date with the office
  2. Submit full registration and payment within 24hrs to confirm your start date
  3. Attend 6 consecutive weeks of in-person training classes with your dog

Join the Virtual Life Skills Program, and transfer into the In-Person Life Skills program as soon as the program starts!

COVID-19 Precautions

  • Small group class size and limited attendance as recommended by Public Health recommendations
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection of the premises
  • Increased ventilation for indoor classes
  • 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 shutdown or illness, all students will transition seamlessly into the Virtual Life Skills Program

Schedule and Pricing

TBA when the facility reopens. Join the Virtual Life Skills Program, and transfer into the In-Person Life Skills program as soon as the program starts!

Join class ANY TIME and attend 6 consecutive classes to complete your program. Access your program manual and webinar(s) any time.

Register Here!

  1. Submit the intake form below by clicking on the 30th/31st (NOTE: this date does not represent your start date)
  2. We’ll be in touch shortly with instructions!

Join the newsletter for an alert when the In-Person Life Skills Program begins enrolment – OR join the Virtual Life Skills Program, and transfer into the In-Person Life Skills program as soon as the program starts!

Train Like a Trainer!

Have you ever wondered how a trainer does it? Trainers aren’t hiding their magic wands from you! The steps below outline a few of the things great trainers do to help their dogs flourish and become the best dog they can be.  

Don’t be stingy!

Training is not minimum wage work! Don’t expect your dog to work for less than you do at your job. Being stingy with reinforcements is a sure-fire way to minimize learning and demotivate your dog. 

Reinforcement is feedback for your dog, letting her know she is on the right track. If you don’t provide reinforcements often enough, your dog will not be clear on the task. This is equivalent to emailing your boss for clarification on a project and not getting a reply for a week. If you don’t provide a sufficiently valuable reinforcement, your dog will not be motivated to stick with the training session. Would you clean my eavestroughs in exchange for a bag of used tissues? 

Your dog needs the information and motivation that generous reinforcement provides. Expecting your dog to work for free or for minimum wage will damage your training goal. 

Think ahead

Proactively planning your training sessions is key to success. Before even looking at your dog, chop your treats to the size of a pea, have your clicker on a wrist coil, and arrange a pouch at your side so you can quickly access treats – like a cowboy drawing his gun from his holster in an old western flick. Prepare any props you may need during the session, and place them off to the side of your training space until you are ready to use them. 

Fumbling around by breaking up too-large treats, dropping your clicker, and spending an extra three seconds digging around in a poorly designed pouch are all ways to disrupt the flow of a training session – and ultimately lose your dog’s focus. Keeping a flow of clear feedback depends on your smart preparation ahead of the training session.

Clarity and structure

One of the best ways to set your dog up for success is to have a single focus during a training session and keeping it short (five minutes), especially if you are introducing a new behaviour or concept. If you are introducing “lie down,” for example, focus only on lying down. Do not also teach sit from the down during the same session. Lure or hand signal for down, reinforce, and then toss a treat a foot or two away. Your dog will stand up to get that treat – and be ready for another trial of lying down. If you allow your dog to focus on one single exercise at a time, your dog will acquire that skill faster.

Your dog isn’t GIVING you a hard time, she’s HAVING a hard time

Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry because your dog is worried, overstimulated, or otherwise stressed. A critical skill for trainers is being able to recognize when their dog’s emotional response is blocking her ability to acquire a skill and then adjusting the training session accordingly. This might mean ditching your original plan in order to help your dog cope with a specific trigger or new environment, training in a different location, or perhaps even delaying the session to another time, when your dog is feeling better. 

Setting priorities and realistic goals

Particularly in cases of behaviour modification for stress-based problems, many dogs will have very real limitations. Becoming a therapy dog in a children’s hospital is not a realistic goal for a dog with a history of biting children, but this doesn’t mean that the dog and owner can’t have a full and meaningful life together! 

Sometimes the popular notion of a “good dog” is way off base. Decide what really matters to you and train for that! 

A dog who happily jumps to greet people isn’t a bad dog, and an owner may actually choose not to train “four-on-the-floor” for greetings. This owner is well within her rights to own a dog who jumps up to greet as long as she’s mindful to manage her dog around people who do not want to be jumped on (for example, asking if the person is okay being jumped on and using leashes or gates to prevent access if they do not consent). 

The owner may make this decision because she enjoys the enthusiastic greeting, or she may just be working on other issues that take priority over jumping up. As long as everyone involved, including the dog, is happy with the outcome, this is perfectly okay. (This would, of course, not apply to situations where a dog is stressed or a risk to others, or where the dog’s behaviour infringes on another person’s rights.)

Don’t blame the dog 

Blaming the dog for poor training results is equivalent to expecting your dog to train herself. If your dog is not doing what you ask, your dog either doesn’t understand or isn’t motivated (or both!). Luckily, you can acquire the skills necessary to change both of these situations! 

If your dog isn’t behaving as you’d like, take a step back before you get frustrated and inclined to point blame, and assess your training. Hiring a skilled professional dog trainer is a valuable step in rectifying why you’re not getting the results you want. 

Get the most out of the coaching by fully incorporating the trainer’s feedback and asking targeted questions. Just as raising a child doesn’t make you a child psychologist, having raised a dog in past doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the training challenges you face with your current dog.

Do the legwork

Think – Plan – Do is critical to a constructive approach to dog training. It is easy to get stuck on one of those steps and forget that doing the work is as critical as planning for it. “Practise makes perfect” isn’t as accurate as “perfect practise makes perfect” – if you don’t do the work, you don’t get the results!

Orientation Webinar

The Orientation Webinar is a free, no-obligation webinar that is open to everyone.

View as the prerequisite for group classes and private training – or simply to see what we’re all about!

Register below to receive an email immediately with details and links to view, and you can get started in class immediately!

Get Started!

Register below by clicking on the bold date and receive full instructions via auto-email.  Contact the office if you don’t immediately see an email.

Note: The date noted is for admin purposes only. Select the bolded date and register to receive an email with full instructions on how to get started in class.

Training for (Socially Distanced) Distractions

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.
  • This class requires a consistent handler to attend all classes. Pairs of handlers are welcome.
  • 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)
        • Stay basics
        • Loose leash walking basics
        • Hand target/touch
        • If you have most but not all prerequisites, please contact the office to discuss

Does your dog have “Big Feelings”? Is she reactive, worried, or intense in her reactions? Check out our Private Training and Behaviour Consulting. If you’re unsure, contact the office to set up a free assessment.

Pricing and Schedule

$275+HST
Starting Monday June 8, 6-7pm

7 Consecutive weeks, virtual/in-person combined format
VIRTUAL Lessons: June 8, 15, 22, 29
IN-PERSON Lessons: July 6, 13, 20 (rain date Aug 10th, or decided upon as a group)

Note: This program is a combined virtual and in-person class. The in-person portion will take place at the facility likely outdoors, located at 340 Southgate Drive Guelph. 

Make up classes: During the ZOOM lessons, absent students will receive a link to watch the recorded lesson. Read the Virtual Training FAQ for important information about technology requirements.

Alternately, make-up sessions 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).

Book your spot now!

Behaviour Consultation and Private Training

Are you looking for Virtual Private Training? Click here!

Learn the least invasive, minimally aversive, positive reinforcement-based methods to resolve your dog’s behaviour problems. Learn more about our training, and prepare for your private training, by viewing the free Orientation Webinar!
* We do not offer service dog training.


Behaviour Consultations

Emily, a certified dog behaviour consultant, will guide you through the resolution of your dog’s problem behaviours. Consults include discussion, visuals, demonstration and hands-on work with your dog, a personalized training plan, and resources. See below for in-home travel restrictions.

For dogs who:

    • Have bitten or are at risk of biting a person, dog or other animal
    • Show aggressive or reactive displays in response to people, dogs or other animals
    • Are fearful, scared or anxious in response to people, dogs or other animals OR objects/sounds
    • Are protective/possessive of/aggressive around food, toys, or other objects (resource guarding)
    • Do not like to be touched, handled or groomed
    • Have other similar issues rooted in emotional distress

Private Training for Manners, Obedience and Puppies

Private training for manners and obedience is tailored to your specific needs. We will work on exercises where you need them in daily life with your dog, whether in your home, in the park, or your neighbourhood. Private sessions come complete with notes, handouts and follow-up. See below for in-home travel restrictions.

For dogs who:

    • Ignore their owner and will not comply with requests
    • Will not come or stay when asked
    • Jump up to greet people
    • Pull on leash when out for a walk
    • Run out the front door without permission
    • Chasing inappropriate targets
    • Puppy concerns, including nipping, teething, chewing, house training, crate training, alone training, socialization guidance, problem prevention, etc.
    • * We do not offer service dog training.

Owners with these issues are encouraged to consider group classes, such as the Puppy Socialization and Life Skills programs.


Private Training Services and Pricing

We do not offer service dog training.

• Initial Session 2hr session 

$185+HST

This is always the first session for Private Training. This session must be used within 90 days of purchase. Purchase is required in advance in order to hold session time.

• Package of Five – 5hr total 

$450+HST (Save $50!)

After the Initial Session you may continue with the Package of Five at a discount.  All five sessions must be completed within six months of payment. Purchase is required in advance in order to hold session time.

• Single session 60min

$100+HST

After the Initial Session you may continue with Single SessionsThis session must be used within 90 days of purchase. Purchase is required in advance in order to hold session time.

• Puppy Class Add-On 60min 

$80+HST (Save $20!)
*contact the office for purchase

This session is available exclusively to current students of our Puppy Socialization Class and must be used before your last puppy class. Purchase is required in advance in order to hold session time.




Behaviour Consultation and Private Training Booking

Complete these steps (or contact us with questions any time!):

  1. Read Policy and FAQ
  2. Contact the office for the behaviour questionnaire (alert us if you are outside of Guelph and require in-home training, travel is limited)
  3. Schedule your appointment directly with the office

*TravelService Area for dog training in guelph fees apply to a limited distance outside of this service area, contact the office to see if travel to your home is possible. In-school training is always an option.

Are you looking for Virtual Private Training? Click here!

Group Training FAQ

Click the arrow to learn more.

I’ve reviewed the Orientation Webinar and want to register for a group class… how do I do that?

Ensure that you are making the correct class selection, and contact the office if you have any questions. Make your purchase from the online store and start booking your program! You’re welcome to send an EMT to info@scratchandsniff.ca if you prefer that to credit card payments in the store. Cash and cheque payments must be received in person prior to your first class.

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 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?

Click here for full details on how this unique and flexible enrolment works – including booking, cancellation and puppy class age limits.

When do group classes run?

Foundation group classes run constantly in several time slots each week, Monday/Wednesday/Saturday. Viewing the Orientation Webinar is required in advance of joining class. Specialty Class start dates are specified on each webpage.

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.

Individuals affected will be contacted if there’s an unscheduled closure. The unique and flexible enrolment format means you’ll always be able to make up classes.

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.

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 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 (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.

Why are Puppy Classes Important?

Training and socialization classes have become a very important part of rearing a new puppy. Young pups learn to interact appropriately with their peers, owners learn to teach basic obedience to their dogs, future behaviour problems are prevented and existing problems can be promptly addressed before they get out of hand. A well-run puppy class is the best way to get a puppy off to the right start.

Continue reading Why are Puppy Classes Important?