General Instructions for Beginners Class
|WHEN & WHERE TO TRAIN AT HOME-Choose a quiet area to work with your dog
so that you can be the center of attention. Don't work your dog directly after feeding him.
Two short training sessions (5-10 min) are better than one long one, particularly with
puppies. In addition to setting aside specific times to train your dog, you will want to start
making him obey you with the training techniques you are learning. Use the training
methods we show you whenever you want your dog to behave with or without a training
collar and leash. That's what training is all about!
Dogs learn by repetition. In order to be successful you have to practice with your dog five
days a week. It is practice at home that will bring success. Class time is to teach you what
to teach your dog at home. Practice 20 minutes a day is recommended.
EXERCISE---Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. A good long walk with you
before training will do wonders for your dog's concentration. Exercise is NOT a
privilege. It is a necessary 'need' for your dog to be a calm and relaxed companion. No
amount of training will replace a dog's NEED for exercise for both his mind and body.
The "Walk", if done correctly, can be one of the most valuable things you do with your
dog. It is not enough to let the dog run in the back yard. You MUST participate with your
dog in exercise or the leadership in your relationship will be lost to your dog.
SAFETY RULES-Many dogs react unfavorably if owners use alcohol, tobacco or some
medications; no one is permitted to train in class if there is evidence of using alcohol or
controlled substances. Smoking is prohibited in the training building. We strongly
recommend that you not smoke or use alcohol when training at home.
BOOKS & ADVICE-Well-meaning friends can give you the wrong advice about
training. To get the most from this program, use the techniques and procedures you will be
shown in class. If you have any difficulty, call us right away.
If you are interested in books on dog training, please visit www.dogwise.com
Dogwise has a wide variety of training books that have met their evaluation criteria for
being a positive and worthy training book or video. I highly recommend anything by
ATTENDANCE IN CLASS-To get the most from the program, class attendance is
important. If you must miss a class, please email or call your instructor. If you know you
will miss the next week's session ask for a homework sheet. Do not bring a female in
season to class. During her absence the owner attends to keep up with the class, and
continues to work with the dog at home. This applies any time your dog is unable to attend
due to illness or injury. Do NOT bring a sick dog to class.
FEEDING & Accidents-Be sure to exercise your dog before class. If an accident
happens, each trainee must clean up after his own dog promptly. Hand your dog to an
assistant; paper towels, disinfectant and garbage can shall be available in the classroom.
Do not work your dog for at least two hours after a meal. This includes bringing him to
class as well. Give him a small snack before training, so he is not working on an empty
CLOTHING-Comfortable clothing is best for training. You will have to get down on the
floor occasionally with your dog. The best shoes for training are comfortable shoes.
WHO SHOULD TRAIN-The same handler trains the dog in class and at home for the
duration of this class. Switching handlers can be confusing to a beginning dog. But all
members of the family can be instructed how to give commands and have the dog obey,
and all must be consistent and learn to praise the dog. Handlers in class should be at least
12 years of age.
EQUIPMENT-You will be issued a training lead to use for class. It is yours to keep. You
must purchase, if you have none, a well fitting, flat buckle or quick clip collar prior to
class. If you need added control, we encourage you to think about purchasing an alternate
training collar for you dog. There are other types of collars that may work for you as well.
These will also be available at class.
SPECTATORS-Visitors are welcome, but must remain seated and quiet during class.
Distractions are disruptive to everyone. Please instruct children accordingly. We always
welcome spectators and we hope you will tell your friends and relatives about our classes.
CANCELLATION-In case of inclement weather or if driving conditions are bad, we
will cancel class. Cancellations will be posted on the website or you can call or email
your instructor, firstname.lastname@example.org(641) 673-5491. Please visit the Flooding
Information page on this site in case we get a lot of rain-Highway 92 will close if there is
STARTING TIME-All classes begin promptly. Please arrive early enough to exercise
your dog prior to class time.
EXERCISING DOGS-Dogs should be walked in the grass south of the parking area. You
are required to pick up after your dog. Plastic sandwich bags work well and your
instructor will have some if you forget or there is a pooper-scooper near the door.
COURTESY-PLEASE READ! Please do not allow your dog to rush up to or get in other
dogs' faces. Even though your dog may be very friendly, the other dog may not. This is
critical the first couple weeks of class until dogs get accustomed to the group setting. It is
also possible to frighten dogs that are shy, making their first experience at class a bad one.
When finally introducing dogs to one another, keep them out of reach of one another until
you can determine no aggression is being displayed. Then allow them to sniff one another
for a few seconds on a loose lead and call them to you with a treat. DO NOT pull them
away abruptly as this can cause a fight to break out. Both owners should call their dogs
away at the same time. Greetings are rarely a problem between two puppies, but adult
dogs should be closely supervised in their interactions with other dogs. This means
keeping a close rein on your dog's lead and watching your dog. It only takes a split second
for a dog to bite. Although problems like this are rare, class is a new situation for your
dog and you don't know how he might react. Use good judgment and everyone will get
along fine. If you think your dog may bite, please advise us immediately.
TREATS- We will be using treats to train some of the exercises in class. Please bring
your own soft treats with you to each class or you may purchase treats at class. We carry
Zukes treats and they work extremely well for training. A fanny pack is a great way to
keep your treats with you while training and yet have them hidden from your dog.
FUN- Try to have fun with your dog during the course of this class, but also be firm and
fair about the rules you are trying to establish. Class and training should be fun for your
dog and he should look forward to it. He should also understand the rules. This means you
and your family need to be very consistent with all rules, commands, reinforcement and
praise. Once you have gotten through the first 4 weeks of our 8 week class, things will
start to really come together and it will be even more fun for you to train your dog. So,
please, please, stay in class and stick with the training for the entire class schedule.
It WILL pay off!
THINGS YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE CLASS
Think of a MARKER Word. Your Marker Word tells your dog he did it 'right' and that
praise and/or a treat will follow immediately after the Marker Word. Common Marker
Words are "YES", "That's It" or "Excellent". (Notice these all have "S sounds" in them.)
You may use whatever word you like but it should be easily understood as a Marker word
and not confused with praise words, which are things like "Good Dog". Your Marker
word should be given AS SOON AS the dog responds correctly to any command or cue or
even if he has been given no cue or command, when he has done something good or defers
to you, such as sit or make a decision to come to you on his own.
Think of a RELEASE Word. Your Release word tells your dog that the exercise is
over and he is free to get up/move/play. The Release word ENDS an exercise to let the
dog know he 'earned' some freedom and playtime. Common Release words are "Okay",
"Free", and "All done".
Practice using a "Reprimand" word or sound. Your Reprimand tells the dog to stop or
that he did not do something correctly. You can actually have a variety of these for
different things that the dog does. A good catch all sound is "Ahh" or "Schh". This
usually at least catches the dog's attention and can interrupt his thoughts and intention to do
something inappropriate. You may also use "Oops", "Wrong" and/or "No", although
"No" should usually be attached to the actual behavior...."No bark", "No bite", "No pull",
Feed your dog on a schedule. Feed your dog twice a day and split his appropriate daily
amount between the feedings. This helps in several ways. It allows us to know our dog
is eating an appropriate amount of food, teaches the dog to eat right away and most
importantly, gives us two opportunities to train, establish leadership and have our dog
work for their food each day. You will start by asking the dog to 'sit' and 'wait' for his
food at feeding times. You will use your "Release word" to allow him to eat. We can
show you how to do this at the first class if you have trouble with this at home.
FEED A QUALITY FOOD
Dog food purchased in the grocery store or at a discount store will probably not
qualify as a high quality food. For information about choosing a quality dog food,
which will help your dog focus and thrive in training, please visit this website;