Training System

Canine College uses a training system that is unique in the local area.

BACKGROUND
Sandra bases her approach to dog training on the working dog clubs of Germany where she grew up. Dog sport clubs meet once a week and groups therefore include dogs at different levels of training: puppies learning foundation skills, young dogs progressing toward goals, and older dogs maintaining what they’ve learned. In classes, some work is done in a group (keeping in mind each dog’s current skill level) and some work is done individually while others watch and learn. The latter is the norm for training seminars as well, which offer working slots and audit (spectator) slots.

Canine College brings this approach to its own training for pets and working dogs. Each individual dog and handler is evaluated and a training plan is created based on the dog’s needs, the problem behaviors (if any) that need to be addressed, and the handler’s goals and interests.

We don’t offer one-size-fits-all dog training, like the 6-week classes offered at most training facilities. Our system takes into account the individual dog, how they learn, and where they need to start. Sure, it’s possible to teach a handler how to make a dog sit, lay down, walk on a leash and come in 6 weeks, but it isn’t possible to teach the dog to generalize those behaviors and ensure they happen no matter the environment or distraction. Many dogs who complete one-size-fits-all training are great in class or at home, but unpredictable and uncontrollable in new situations. Our focus is on helping you train a dog that’s great anywhere.

FOUNDATIONS
At Canine College, we start by building a solid foundation comprised of engagement and impulse control. Not only does this approach help us train individual skills more easily, it prevents common problems from happening as you and your dog progress.

Engagement training builds a bond, creates focus, and helps the dog understand that good things happen when interacting with the handler. Dogs who practice engagement are easier to train, work better around distractions, and are more eager to learn. These are the dogs who are excited for training and always want to do more.

Impulse control teaches a dog to control itself. Many problem behaviors, such as chasing the family cat, nipping at children, and dragging you by the leash are impulse-based and continue despite corrections because they are self-rewarding. Teaching a solid foundation of impulse control helps your dog make the right choices rather than forcing you to address problem behaviors after they occur. By building value in working with you and controlling themselves, you’re creating a solid foundation for all training.

HOW CLASSES WORK
At Canine College, group classes are offered on an ongoing basis. You never wait for a new class to start, and you’re not limited to attending 6 sessions with the same dogs and people even if your dog is progressing at a different speed.

Our drop-in classes offer flexibility. You don’t have to worry about missing 20 minutes of class because you’re running late or your work schedule changed, just come anytime between 7pm and 9pm to train. You also don’t have to worry about missing a class you’ve paid for. Miss a class? Drop in another day!

Additionally, you get a chance to observe other dogs and handlers. Watching others who are at a different level of training improves your own training, from little tips on addressing or teaching a specific behavior, to getting ideas for new activities to try.

Canine College also offers private classes if our group schedule doesn’t work for you, or if you prefer working one-on-one with our trainers. Private classes are available on any weekday before 6pm, by appointment.

CONFUSED?
If you’re not sure whether our training style is right for you, or you just want to take a look and see what we’re all about, please stop in and observe any of our group classes. Watch what we do. Ask questions. We’re looking forward to having you!

Dog Questionnaire

If you are a new Canine College client, or you are an existing client with a new dog, please print and sign the Training Aggreement as well as Waiver & Release of Liability, and bring it with you when you come with your pup to the evaluation. Please fill in the Dog Questionnaire electronically and hit the submit button. You may also email the Waiver and Agreement (electronic signatures are acceptable) to: caninecollegeny@gmail.com.

If you don’t have a printer, you’re welcome to stop in during normal training hours (Monday through Thursday, 6pm to 9pm, unless otherwise announced on our Facebook page) and pick up a print copy of the enrollment packet.

The forms are required for anyone wanting to train at Canine College, including dog owners who attend Canine College as part of the Watertown Working Dog Club.

Find out more about our available classes: CLASSES
Find out more about our training system: TRAINING SYSTEM

Basic Manners Class

Cost: $250

What you need:

  • Clicker
  • Lots of yummy treats (Hot Dogs, Red Barn Food Rolls, Happy Howie’s etc.)
  • Vibration/Pager Collar or a very good E Collar like a Dogtra, Garmin or Mini Educator
  • 12 ft Leash
Manners for dogs of all ages.

This class is limited to 8 dogs and runs for 10 weeks. It revolves around Basic Manners in the house, like not counter surfing, not stealing food, not rushing through the door, not jumping on people, not chasing a vacuum cleaner and not getting overly excited around running and playing children.

ENROLLMENT
Please fill in our online questionnaire, download, print, and carefully complete the Training Agreement and Liability Waiver below. If you don’t have a printer, you’re welcome to stop in during normal training hours (see above) and pick up a print copy of our enrollment packet.

Week 1
  • Bed Games
  • Jumping
  • Crate Manners
Week 2
  • Bed Games (Food Refusal)
  • Door Manners
Week 3
  • Bed Games (Tossing Food and upping distractions)
  • Counter Manners (Vet Office, Kitchen Counter etc.)
Week 4
  • No stealing food
  • Simulating Deliveries (Door Manners/Food Delivery/Mail Man)
Week 5
  • Vacuums and Sweeping
  • Leave it around other dogs (rolling ball, dragged flirt pole and other distractions)
Week 6
  • Leash Manners around other dogs
  • Out of sight stay
Week 7
  • Recall while other dogs are placing
  • Manners around children
Week 8
  • Giggling children
  • Polite greeting with adults
Week 9
  • Running children and screaming children
  • Playing children with ball
Week 10
  • Social Gathering and Graduation

 

If you need more information or  have any questions please message us.

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Puppy Practical (Community Obedience)

Requirement: Puppy Basics

Cost: $210

This is the last package of our Puppy Series.  You will take everything you have learned during your previous classes and take it outside into  public settings and situations. Each week you will go into a new location and work your dog through new and exciting situations. By now you have build a strong bond and relationship with your puppy and you will go through a test and graduate from our Puppy Program by the end of the Program.

ENROLLMENT

To get enrolled into the Puppy Practical you have to go through the Puppy Basics Class first.

Class 1
-Generalizing Place
-Sit or Down Stay

Class 2
-Leash Pressure
-Friendly Meet and Greets

Class 3
-Door Manners
-Jumping

Class 4
-Food Refusal with Bed Games
-Leave It

Class 5
-Recall
-1 Minute out of sight stay

Class 6
-Friendly Meet and Greets
-Jumping

Class 7
– GRADUATION

Puppy Manners

For Puppies from 8-14 weeks

Cost: $100

What you need:

  • 4ft Leash
  • Clicker/Marker Word
  • Lots of yummy treats

Puppy Manners ( a 4 week class/not on drop in basis) is about how to live with your puppy. It covers crate training, potty schedule, biting, jumping and how to properly manage your puppy. This is not an obedience class. This is a “How to live with your new puppy” class.

ENROLLMENT
Please fill in our online questionnaire, download, print, and carefully complete the Training Agreement and Liability Waiver below. If you don’t have a printer, you’re welcome to stop in during normal training hours (see above) and pick up a print copy of our enrollment packet.

 

Class 1

  • Crate Training
  • House Breaking
  • Eye Contact/Clicker Training/Engagement
  • Consistency with words

Class 2

  • Biting and Jumping
  • How to hold the leash and treat

Class 3

  • Luring
  • Leash Walking

Class 4

  • Teaching to give space
  • Intro to place

For more information please send us a message.

 

 

Canine College Public Access Test

Disclaimer: We primarily train light Mobility, Psychiatric Service Dogs as well as Seizure Response Dogs.

 

ENROLLMENT
Please fill in our online questionnaire, download, print, and carefully complete the Training Agreement and Liability Waiver below. If you don’t have a printer, you’re welcome to stop in during normal training hours (see above) and pick up a print copy of our enrollment packet.

 

Pre-Requesites:
Dog should not exceed two and a half years of age and has to pass the initial evaluation. Your dog has to go through Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience and pass a Temperament Test before he/she can go through our Public Access Test.

servicedogsAmount of Training: a “Canine College” Service Dog requires a minimum of 250 hours of training over the period of at least 10 months or more. At least 35 hours should be devoted to public outings to prepare the dog to work in public settings obediently.

Obedience Training and Basic Manners:  your Service Dog must master the following skills:

  • Sit (under any distractions)
  • Down (under any distractions)
  • Stand
  • Stay
  • Come (including a dropped leash recall)
  • Heel
  • Place (tucking under a chair, table, or anywhere else in public)
  • Most of all a Service Dog should have manners
  1. No aggressive behaviors towards animals or humans meaning: no fear aggression, no biting, reactivity, snarling, snapping, growling or lunging at them while working in public settings.
  2.  Your dog shouldn’t solicit any food nor pets from people while being on the job.
  3. Your dog should ignore any food on the ground, or dropped within the vicinity of the dog while working in a public setting
  4. Your dog should not sniff people, intrude another dogs space nor sniff any merchandise in public
  5. Your dog should be well socialized and not show any fear of lights, sounds or sudden changes while in a public setting
  6. No unnecessary unruly behaviors or vocalization while working in a public setting, your dog must be able to work calmly on a leash without being a nuisance.
  7. No urinating or pooping unless you specifically take the dog for a potty break
  8. ALL FOUR ON THE GROUND!

Task Training: Your dog must be individually trained to perform at least 3 identifiable tasks on command, hand signal or cue that directly mitigates your disability i.e. retrieving, two way hearing alert, blocking, guiding, medical alert, seizure response etc.
Spontaneous behavior or Emotional Support is not considered a task. Your dog must be reliably trained to exhibit an individually trained task.

Training Records: You will have to keep Training Records to track your hours. Training Records can be downloaded here:  Public Access Training Log

Training Tools: You are allowed to train and test with the training tool of your choice.

 

 

Crate Train and Manage your Puppy

You just got home from work and walk through the door. You can see the first piddle and pile of poop in the hallway. Toilet-paper is all over the place, a trashbag halfway dragged through the living room, your underwear chewed up and a plant knocked over. Your brand new couch has a hole chewed into the armrest and your blinds are torn down. Your 4 month old puppy comes running from the bedroom and jumps all over you, scratching your arms with those razor sharp needle claws. He’s excited to see you and does not understand why all of a sudden you get angry and push his nose into the poop and pee.

You go online and ask for help, some suggest to crate train your puppy but you don’t feel comfortable to put your puppy up for 6+ hours. Other suggest a dog walker, but your puppy doesn’t walk very well on a leash and you don’t like when a stranger comes into your house anyways.

So you get some hard bones and antlers, those are durable and should occupy your puppy throughout the day. You also lock your puppy into the bathroom since there isn’t much he could destroy. When you get home everything seems to be fine and it’s easy to clean up the pee and poop since the bathroom has tile floors. You can see the scratch marks on the door and the corner has been chewed on. Three days later you get a noise complaint and there now is a small hole in the door.

You don’t crate your puppy over night either. He’s allowed to sleep in bed with you, but he’s restless, pacing all over the place, whining and is trying to get your attention by constantly nudging and pawing you. But again, crating is for lazy people. You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to be one of “those” people that just lock a puppy up.

When you sit on the couch he’s still biting your hands and legs. You push him away and yelp “Ouch”, that’s supposed to help with the biting.

A month later there is a hole in your bathroom door and your puppy has chewed up the couch, your brand new shoes, through the TV cable, gone through the trash, and probably eaten half a bag of coffee beans and chocolate that was on the counter. Your comforter is shredded, your pillow has been peed on and your puppy is standing in front of you trying to throw up. You have to call the vet and if they can’t pump the stomach you are likely looking at a couple thousand dollars in surgery.

These are the type of stories that we get to hear on a daily basis. People have tried to crate their puppy but given up after the first two nights because the puppy wouldn’t stop crying. Instead of waiting the puppy out, or trying a different approach they gave up on the crate and give the puppy too much freedom which almost always ends up with a destroyed house and/or vet visit and in some cases even death due to the puppy having ingested something toxic.

Instead of giving into the puppy here are some tips to make crate training a little easier:

  • You need the right size crate. Your crate shouldn’t be too small or too big. Your puppy should be comfortable enough to stand up, turn around and lay comfortably down. If you have a large crate, use the divider.
  • Keep the crate in the main living area. It’s much easier to get a puppy used to the crate if they can still see and hear us. Now, the pup is still going to cry in the beginning but it shouldn’t last as long as it would if the pup was entire secluded from the family.
  • Feed your puppy in the crate. I do things a little different. For the first week my puppies don’t get normal meals. Instead I ration the meals and everytime they come back from a potty break or after I’ve worked with them, I toss a handfull of food into the crate. That immensely raises the value of the crate.
  • Crate your puppy in the car whenever you take them along for a ride.  Your puppy learns that there is value in the crate. The easiest way to get a puppy used to the crate is to crate them whenever you take them on car rides.
  • Play Crate Games from Susan Garrett with your puppy. You can buy her DVD online and it’s an invaluable training tool to not only build value in the crate but also patience and impulse control in your puppy.

Don’t feel bad to manage your puppy. Whether your are home or not doesn’t matter.  If your puppy is out of control, super bitey and overall obnoxious, take them out of the situation. Put them up. Utilize the crate to your advantage. If your puppy is just 10-12 weeks old, pushing them away from you isn’t going to help the situation, they only come back harder. So don’t feel bad to utilize the crate and manage the puppy. It not only protects your household good but also the puppy. Most puppies can’t handle the amount of freedom you are giving them. They are not adult dogs. If they are bored, they’ll have a party and destroy your entire house and themselves in the process. If you have two puppies of the same age, it’s going to be an even harder time to keep control over the situation. Your puppies will feed off of each other and have a party. They won’t pay much attention to you since they have each other. So you have to crate train and sometimes rotate them in and out of the crate to build a relationship with them. They will also need individual experiences so you won’t have dogs that later suffer from litter mate syndrome.

 

RECALL CLASS

E-Collar_Logo_RetreiverIs your dog a runner? You open the door, he slips out and is gone? You can’t take your dog off leash anywhere but would like to enjoy off leash hikes? Our new Recall Class will give you the freedom that you and your dog deserve.

 

Pre-Requisites: “Evaluation for Basic Obedience and Engagement” (there has to be a certain level of engagement between you and your dog).

What you need:

  • Remote Collar (included in the package)
  • 30ft Leash
  • Lots of Food or a Toy

Duration: 6 week class
Cost: $380 (incl. the Mini Educator ET300)
Payment is due upfront.

To sign up for this class please fill in the dog questionnaire, once we received the questionnaire we will get in touch with you to schedule the evaluation.

 

 

Let your dog decompress!

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We’ve all been there. We’ve all brought a new dog home, and we’ve all got excited about our new family members and immediately taken them places. To the pet store, family gatherings, into overwhelming social settings all the while the dog never even had the chance to settle in.

We get a lot of shelter dogs and the first thing most owner do is to give them the free reign of the house without establishing any boundaries or rules which sometimes results in uncomfortable situations. The dog just got out of a very stressful environment and we expect them to be incredibly resilient. After the shelter comes the decompression phase and within the first few weeks we don’t get to see the “real” personality of the dog. Usually it takes about a month before they truly settle in.

What we usually do with any dog that comes through our house is to implement a structured routine and shut down period.

When we first bring a dog home, we take them out into the front yard first and make sure they pottied. Then we bring them into the house and give them a quick tour. They are not introduced to our own dogs. That comes way later. We then crate the new dog to let them decompress and put them on a schedule. Dogs thrive off of structure and clear expectations. Through the shutdown period our already existing dogs get to know the newcomers. Our dogs are used to having a constant stream of new dogs coming in and out, but that doesn’t mean we toss them into cold water each time a new dog comes in.

Anyhow, here are some quick rules for bringing a new dog into the house which are widely used in the foster community. These rules also work for new puppies or already existing dogs that have had too much freedom and ignore their owners and are out of control:

– Don’t take your dog on a walk. Walks are overstimulating and there are way too many variables that are out of your control. You don’t know your dog, and your dog doesn’t know if he can trust you yet. Instead, exercise your dog in your front or backyard on a longline and get to know each other to build a bond.

– Do not take them to the dog park or pet store. Don’t visit your friends place or social gatherings until you’ve gotten to know your dogs quirks and built a bond. These situations can be overstimulating for your dog and you don’t know how they are going to react in these types of situations.

– Implement structure, boundaries and rules. That means if you cannot actively supervise your dog, your dog is crated. Do not allow your dog on furniture, do not allow your dog on the bed, it’s a privilege that has to be earned and a new dog shouldn’t be allowed these privileges without earning them, ESPECIALLY if there is another dog already living in the household. Put him on a schedule just like you would do with a puppy. It gives them routine and clear expectations. You control the environment. Do not let the new dog take control over situations.

– If you already have a pet, the new addition is an intruder and the new dog does not know the routine of the household. You have to set structure and a routine for the new dog without inflicting your existing dogs freedom and privileges. The already existing dog was here first.

– Handfeed! Nothing in life is for free! Food is money, it’s how you pay the dog. Do not give him anything for free. Let the dog work for his meals. Hand feed his meals for the first week and make him work for his food. This is a very important step, that resources in your house have to be earned.

– This is the most important rule of them all: DO NOT PUT YOUR FACE INTO A NEW DOGS FACE! YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS DOG! It can be incredibly intimidating to a dog that does not know you and most bites happen within the first two weeks due to this very reason. Do not make kissy noises and try to kiss the dogs face or give them any unstructured affection.

Most of the time, this is a two week protocol. In dog training, slow is fast. The slower you take things, the faster your dog feels safe and builds a bond with you. This is merely a guideline. How you implement it, is up to you. We’ve had great success with shutting dogs down, whether they’ve been new, or unruly young adults that needed a little more structure or puppies, boarding or foster dogs… it’s always worked.

Don’t feel bad about taking control, don’t feel bad about controlling the environment. Dogs are not made out of glass, they can handle it. And always remember: Slow is fast, fast is slow. You’ve got all the time in the world to build a bond with your dog.

While this guide is primarily for new dogs coming out of a shelter you can also apply these same rules to a dog that just went through a tremendous amount of stress. Especially military families with anxious dogs and pcs’ing every few years. Give your dogs time. Not all of them handle change well. Let them decompress!