Are you a new graduate or have you missed out on the group class portion of your program? Our group classes offer a great opportunity to refresh your training, socialize your dog with other well mannered canines, and to be around other people who understand both dogs and the training process. So if you decide to attend, what should you bring with you to class? What should you expect to happen? How should you prepare? What if you are a group class veteran? How can YOU get the most out of class?
When you are headed to group class, here is a list of items that you should bring:
When you arrive at the meeting place, you will find a group of people with their dogs. These will be dogs of all sizes, who have gone through a variety of training levels. Some of them will be veterans of group class, others will be new, just like you! A trainer will arrive to guide the group through a series of exercises. Control walk, sit, down, stay, heel, and even come will be used in a variety of challenges. You will learn how to work your dog in an alternative environment and with distractions (the other dogs and their owners). There will be a five minute break in the middle of the class to offer the dogs a moment to relax, owners to interact, water to be consumed, and potty breaks to be taken.
You should know that many dogs get excited around the other dogs, and will be more challenging to work with than normal. Remember that this is the same for all dog owners, especially when they start out, and that everyone is paying more attention to their own dog and their own experience than to you. These classes are supposed to be fun and challenging, so try to keep a positive attitude and do not take yourself or your dog too seriously. These are learning experiences. Mistakes are required for progress!
Some dogs that attend have some social issues either with other dogs or other people and sometimes both. So do not allow your friendly pet to run up to other dogs without asking first. When the group session begins, the trainer will point out these circumstances. It is always a good idea to keep a leash distance between your dog and the others there.
What if you have attended group classes in the past, and you don’t feel as though either of you are being challenged anymore? You should definitely still attend group classes! Tell the trainer that you are looking for additional challenges, and they will offer you different ideas of how to work both your and your dogs skills to a higher level. Here are a few ideas:
Can your dog keep up? You may even find that there are multiple veterans in the class that can work with you to offer a greater challenge in a separate class, or through trainer-guided challenges. These classes are for YOU, be sure that if there is something that you want to work on or something you’d like to see, tell the trainer. We need to know what you are looking for to offer you the best service.
Ask about our advanced small group classes for an even greater challenge! Remember, as veterans with dogs who are successful in group class situations, you are one of the best motivators we have for the people who are new to class. Encourage people. Tell them your stories. Your ability to guide your dog through class, even without the elevated challenges, can be enough to motivate others to work harder with their dogs. Help them to achieve the same levels of success and companionship that your family enjoys!
© 2013 Well Mannered Dog Training Charleston, SC