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 in class, you will attend 6 consecutive weekly classes to complete your full program. Any holidays will be clearly indicated, adn the school is closed for long weekends.
What happens if I miss a 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 in a Specialty Class should alert the office in advance and a ZOOM call will be set up during the class for viewing live or as a recording.
What happens when the school is closed?
All scheduled closures, for example holidays and continuing education events, will 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!
Specialty Classes will convert to ZOOM or be put on hold, and this will be made clear on the program webpage.
Do you cancel classes in bad weather?
Very rarely! Unless the roads are truly dire, 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. Please be prepared to drive in our Canadian winters, especially if you choose to travel to the facility from out of town during winter months!
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 presented to you, ask for clarification, 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 properly.
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.