Group Drop In Dog Training Classes

Group Dog Training Classes - Westport MA

Our Group Drop In Classes are a very important follow up component for dogs that have completed at least Phase I training through either Private Lessons or Day School. They allow you and your dog to continue to work on your training in a relaxed, non-judgmental group setting with other dogs and their owners under professional guidance.

Our Group Drop In Classes are made up of four core modules that are offered on a rotating and ongoing basis. You can begin attending as soon as you complete at least Phase I training. You can start at any module and attend as many as you’d like during your membership period (3 months for Phase I, 6 months for Phase II, one year for Phase III).

Group Drop In Classes are offered on Wednesday nights at 6:00pm and on Saturday mornings at 11:00am. You can check our training calendar online to see the Group Drop In Class schedule.

Module 1: Attention, Engagement, and Solving Problem Behavior

No training will happen without attention. One of the very first things we must teach our dog in order to have a successful relationship is that paying attention to us humans is rewarding. Before we can expect a dog to do what we ask, we must show him that listening to us is in his best interest.

Even beyond attention is Engagement. Engagement is emotional involvement or commitment. Many dogs have a hard time remaining engaged as their environments becomes more interesting and rewarding than their owners. A dog who is ENGAGED knows that the environment around him is less rewarding because all good things (praise, treats, toys, and fun) come from his owner.

At this group drop in class we’ll practice attention exercises around distractions and at a distance and use games to develop engagement and build drive.

We’ll also work on reinforcing the “No” marker to completely eliminate problem behavior. If you’ve had a challenge at home during the week, let us know and we’ll do our best to recreate the scene to effectively teach your dog “No” and eliminate that specific behavior.

Module 2: Sit/Down/Stand/Place with Duration & Distractions

“My dog knows all his commands when we’re in the kitchen and I have cheese…”

In this class we’ll work on the basic obedience commands (sit, down, stand, and place) progressing from lures to hand signals to verbal cues. We’ll work on proofing these obedience commands around distractions through leash pressure or layering an e-collar.

We’ll also work on duration through implied stays (we can also teach you how to train a specific “Stay” command if you prefer). The implied stay directs your dog to the hold position (sit/down/place) until released.

Module 3: Loose Leash Walking and Leash Reactivity

A structured walk is a key element to achieving a well-behaved, calm, balanced dog. On a structured walk, your dog is by your side on a loose leash with little to no interruptions. There is no pulling ahead, no sniffing the ground, and no peeing on every fire hydrant or lamp post. This walk is for both mental and physical exercise.

Some of the greatest benefits of a structured walk are to exercise your dog’s mind, work on impulse control, and to enjoy his companionship. You will also likely find that your dog will be more tired, more content, and better behaved after the mental exercise of a structured walk. Getting your dog out of the back yard will help reduce the built up stress and frustration that comes from fence fighting or window barking.

And there are benefits for you too! Walking with your dog burns calories, reduces stress, and increases serotonin levels.

In this class we will focus on loose leash walking and also address any leash reactivity issues.

Module 4: Recall

The recall command is arguably the most important command you can teach your dog. It literally could save your dog’s life. Without a good recall, many things can go wrong. Your dog could run into the street or kick into prey drive and chase another animal. In worst-case scenarios, your dog could get hit by a car, injured in a dog fight, or run off and get lost.

This class we will work on a reliable recall at all levels of proficiency, whether you’re just starting out and using games and no distractions, proofing on a long line around distractions, or working with an e-collar for complete off-leash reliability.