Training FAQs

www.ccpdt.org
What’s the best age to start training?
How do I register for a class?
What vaccines does my dog need?
How do I prepare for a class?
What should I bring to class?
How important is the homework between classes? Can’t I just work hard in class?
I have to miss a class. What can I do to catch up?
Can members of my family come to class?
Some classes say my dog should be dog friendly. What does that mean?
Does Dogspaw do any private training?
Do I just show up if I want to come to a drop in class?
What experience do the trainers have?
What do all those letters behind the staff names mean?

What training methods are used at Dogspaw?
A great deal of emphasis is placed on learning how to read dog body language, so you may better understand your dog. We believe that a healthy relationship is the key to success in training and living in harmony with your dog. Our methods involve the use of treats or toys to lure your dog into desired positions such as a Sit or Down. Rewards and positive verbal feedback are used to let the dog know he is doing the right thing. Recognizing and rewarding appropriate behaviors offered by your dog is encouraged. Over time your dog will learn to depend less and less on receiving a treat as a reward, as our trainers teach you how to vary the rate of reinforcement. Use of leash corrections are discouraged, since the timing of such corrections is sometimes difficult to perform and the dog may make unfortunate associations that can lead to aggression.

What’s the best age to start training?
It is critical that puppies begin their education immediately, as the window for influencing social learning begins to close by the age of 6 months. Puppy Socialization Class is meant for pups up to the age of 20 weeks, and we welcome them as early as 8 weeks, having had the rounds of vaccines appropriate for their age.  Don’t hesitate to attend classes at Dogspaw, as our training room floor is sterilized for the safety and health of pups in class. After that, at around 6 months, you may consider Mind Your Manners Class to help your dog pick up basic commands and skills.

How do I register for a class?
Speak to our receptionist, who will ask you for information that ensures you of a spot in class. Payment may be made when you attend the class, or before hand. Our drop in classes require you call ahead prior to class by a set time, as our trainers need to know how many dogs to prepare for. Certain classes have participant guidelines that must be enforced to ensure the comfort and safety of all in class. Loose Leash Walking Class is influenced by the weather and subject to cancellations. Leave a call back number for all drop in classes just in case we need to get in touch with you.

What vaccines does my dog need?
Your dog should be vaccinated according to your veterinarian’s recommendations as appropriate to your dog’s age. This will include DHPP, rabies and should also include bordatella. From April to October, dogs aged 6 months and older must have a flea/tick program in place. Documentation of vaccines and treatments will be necessary to complete registration. Pets under holistic care or are medically unable to receive vaccinations are required to bring in a current health clearance letter from their veterinarian.

How do I prepare for a class?
Plan to arrive about 10 minutes early in order to pay and fill in paperwork for the first class. Leave your dog in the car or outside with another person until you are called in for class, as our lobby can get very crowded and it is stressful for the dogs. Wear comfy clothing for the class itself, as you may be on the floor during class.

What should I bring to class?
You will need a flat buckle collar and a leash that is about 6 feet long. Please do not bring extendable leashes. Also bring plenty of treats that are soft and cut into pieces that are about the size of a pencil eraser. Some classes may request that you bring your dog’s favorite toy and a familiar blanket as well.

How important is the homework between classes? Can’t I just work hard in class?
To get the most out of the class, it is best if you practice at home. You will likely find your dog learns more effectively if you take a few minutes a few times throughout the day to practice the skills and commands. Your training sessions don’t need to be long, in fact, 3 – 5 minutes is fine, and if you stop when your dog is still looking for more, this can ensure that the training session is fun rather than a chore. Continual review of skills and commands is important even after a class is completed, because your dog will forget over time.

I have to miss a class. What do I have to do to catch up?
Our trainers can usually take a few minutes to help you catch up if you have missed a class, and review from the previous week is usually included in each class.

Can members of my family come to class?
We encourage attendance of families, and especially welcome them to Puppy Socialization Class, so the pups get to experience a wide variety of human contact. And, the more ears available to hear the information in any of our classes, the better!  We do ask that all spectators not disrupt the class.

Some classes say my dog should be dog friendly. What does that mean?
A dog friendly dog can be in the classroom with other dogs without reacting aggressively to their presence. If your dog lunges, barks and is disruptive in class, our trainers can make some adjustments to the environment, but in general this should not be necessary and we prefer that your dog is able to focus on you rather than fuss about those around him.

Does Dogspaw do any private training?
Private sessions are available at our facility. Our trainers do not go to owners’ homes. Behavior Modification Plans that you may follow at home at your own rate are also available if your dog is not comfortable in the classroom setting.

Do I just show up if I want to come to a drop in class?
In order for instructors to prepare for class, we do ask that you call ahead by a designated time and date. Some classes have limits in place to ensure the safety and comfort of participants, so calling ahead is critical so we can let you know if it’s ok to join us. Please leave a call back number. Proof of vaccinations, bordatella, flea/tick programs are needed for our drop in classes. Those who have purchased passes for multi-classes must still call ahead to indicate their intention to attend.

What experience do the trainers have?
Collectively, our training team has over 40 years of experience as dog trainers. Five hold a dog training designation from Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers indicating that they have undergone an educational process, have passed exams evaluating their knowledge and have gained experience teaching dogs and their owners. Trainer assistants are also part of the Dogspaw team and are working towards earning their professional certifications.

What do all those letters behind the staff names mean?
Dog trainers love their letters, primarily because they are hard earned and have cost a lot of time and money through textbooks, courses, DVD collections, conferences and seminars. The letters indicate what post-secondary education, designation and/or certification each person has.

The Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers, recognized worldwide, grants a designation to those who have met rigorous requirements in terms of experience (300 hours as an instructor), referrals by a veterinarian or existing CPDT or CBCC trainer, and passes an extensive exam testing their knowledge. To maintain the CPDT or CBCC designation, a trainer is required to earn continuing education credits by participation in approved seminars, webinars, workshops and conferences, keeping them up to date with the latest research and developments in dog training. Dogspaw has recently adopted a leadership role in providing a venue for aspiring CPDT holders to participate in a support group designed to offer information and encouragement as each one prepares for this difficult exam. In addition, our trainers have taken on the job of furthering public education so that dog owners may make informed decisions regarding their choice of trainers.

The Animal Behavior College offers the opportunity for individuals to study a variety of topics about animals through on-line courses. Those who have participated in the dog trainer program are required to complete a-hands-on practicum. One of the places the practicum is available to them is through Dogspaw. An exam, in addition to an evaluation conducted during the practicum, are required before an individual may receive their certification. ABCDT certificate holders who work at Dogspaw have been invited to join the staff due to the potential they demonstrated during their practicum and were required to shadow other professional members of the training team before being hired. Those ABC Trainers currently employed by Dogspaw are working towards earning their CPDT designations.

CPDT-KA: Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed

CBCC-KA: Certified Behavior Consultant Canine, Knowledge Assessed

ABC Dog Trainer: Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer

Additional letters you will see associated with staff tells you what post-secondary education each individual has.

BSc:  Bachelor of Science University degree

BFA:  Bachelor of Fine Arts University degree

BEd: Bachelor of Education University degree

DC: Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine

Some other letters you may see on dog trainer’s Facebook pages or websites are not all designations or certifications, but are associations that individuals may purchase a membership for. Benefits of membership include receiving publications and access to educational opportunities, but are not an indicator of that individual’s training, philosophy or knowledge.

APDT: Association of Professional Dog Trainers

CAPPDT: Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers