Whether you’ve have just signed up for your first or 2nd or 10th dog training class or seminar, here are a few tips that will help you get the most for your time and money spent:
In no particular order….
- Be on time… this means: Be there early. If you’re going to a new location, make sure you’ll be able to find it and factor in some extra time in case you get lost. This will also allow you to get the lay of the land / building, finding the washroom and most important: taking your dog out for a potty walk and some relaxation after the car ride. Some classes start without dogs, so put them back into the vehicle and set up your station (dog crate, dog bed, chair, toys, treats, leashes, water for dog, etc.). Some final registration details may have to be dealt with or waivers signed …. and you’re all set to be present and ready to start your class on time. This is the most beneficial for yourself and your dog and shows consideration for your teacher and class mates!
- Take Notes: From personal experience, I know that I will not remember all the exercises that are covered in a hour lesson, never less in a seminar. I have some special note books and write brief descriptions about the exercises, make little drawings about set-ups in agility classes plus notes on specific feedback for my own dog. This can be extremely useful when preparing training sessions at home and I can’t think of what I want to work on that day. There is usually time to write down a few notes while other teams are working and then I review them when I get home or the following day, to ensure that I can decipher my hand writing!
- Research your class / teacher: Recommendations from friends can be very useful when choosing your instructor. When you’re new to a sport and don’t’ know anyone, ask if you can audit a class during a previous session (without your dog). Communicate your expectations to the prospective instructor, review their website if they have one, watch their video channel on youtube; never be afraid to ask questions!!!
Dog training classes are not cheap these days so you want to be sure to get good value for your money. Questions you could ask are: how many students are in a class, how big is the training venue, what is quality of the footing / equipment, what are the teacher’s credentials, what is the instructor’s training philosophy, etc.