Welcome to "Puppy School"!
The Doggy Gym is a cross between group classes and private lessons. Because you come to me and share your training time with others, the rates are lower than focused, private lessons.
The Doggy Gym meets at 7:00 pm on Wednesday nights.
In order to maximize my time with you, I limit attendance to three dogs. If three dogs attend, then the class is 1 hour and 15 minutes long (which gives you 25 minutes of face time with me). If two dogs attend, then the class is one hour long (so 30 minutes each). If only one dog attends, then class is 45 minutes long. Please note that this class is only for dogs who are good around other dogs while on a leash, and who are at least 5 months of age.
Classes meet at Atonement Lutheran Church of Beloit, which is at 901 Harrison (relatively near Beloit College). To enter, go through the side door, then downstairs, to the end of the hall, and into the social hall.
Benefits of Membership
Quality Training Classes at Less Cost
Consider how different the Doggy Gym is from "standard" group dog-training classes.
A standard class (other than the Doggy Gym) will consist of 6 weeks of 45-minute sessions, have up to 6 dogs attending, and cost about $120 (at least). That's about $20 per class, and (if you're lucky) you will get a total of maybe 10 minutes with the actual trainer.
With only 1-3 dogs in class at any given time, I will be able to spend 25-45 minutes per class with you directly. That's considerably more bang for your buck.
Option to Rotate Dogs
Rather than having to buy a membership for each of your dogs, you can rotate your dogs in class for an additional $20 on your membership. Training more than one dog in a class doesn't get any more economical than this.
Add-On Option: Private Lesson
If you would like to have a half-hour private lesson added to your Gym membership, you can do so at an extreme discount. (Availability may be limited, depending on my schedule.) The pricing is as follows:
- In-Home (if within 15-minute radius): $20
- Skype: $10
If you know of anyone who would benefit from joining the Doggy Gym, you can earn a "referral bonus." When they sign up for a membership and identify you as their sponsor, you will receive $10 off your next month's membership fee. Of course, it is only good as long as you are a continuing student.
This is the process for registration.
First, you will need to contact me. When I reply, I will request a phone conversation. That will give us an opportunity to get to know each other and ask questions. If you want to speed the process along a little bit, then send me a number at which I can reach you and a few times to call in your initial inquiry.
Safety is important to me. Before any dog is allowed in a group class, I need to see that they have had age-appropriate vaccinations. I require rabies (for dogs more than 16 weeks old) and distemper. I recommend bordetella. Also, I need to see that your pup has seen a veterinarian and been given a clean bill of health.
Once we have spoken and I have all of the documentation, I will send you an invoice and temporarily hold a spot for you. I can only hold spots for a limited time, and the deadline for payment will be identified in the invoice. If the invoice is not paid by the deadline, I will have to place the spot back on the market. Once the invoice is paid, pre-registration is complete.
Pre-registration needs to be completed by 6:00 pm on the Monday prior day for a dog to come to a group class.
How the Membership Works
Think of a Doggy Gym membership as being similar to a gym membership for people. You sign up for a month, and you can come to as many classes as are offered during your membership period.
Memberships are based on a calendar month. So, if your first class is January 12th, then your membership runs through February 11th. That means your last class is the class immediately prior to or on February 11th.
If you need to skip a class for any reason, that's okay. You won't fall behind. We will simply pick up next time where you left off.
If I cancel a class, I will add a class to the end of your membership to make up for it.
Class Agenda and Structure
I distinguish the agendas between "typical" group classes and privates this way:
- In a group class, the instructor establishes the agenda
- In a private class, the immediate needs of the client establishes the agenda
The Doggy Gym is meant to be a blend of both.
When we begin, I will focus training on "foundational skills" (see below). They will be used to springboard into other behaviors later. This is the "instructor establishes the agenda" phase.
Once these are solid, we will then move into the next phase, which is the "immediate needs of the client establishes and agenda" phase.
I say: "What are some issues you are struggling with in your home?"
You say: "Fido will not stay out from under my feet while I'm cooking."
I say: "Okay, now we're going to start working on settling down on a mat in a designated location while you cook. Let's start with..."
During this phase of training, we will be incorporating a variety of behaviors into practical situations.
You can see the "Big List" of skills below.
Big List of Skills
- Getting attention
- Watch me
- Go check it out
- Kennel training
- Muzzle training
- Nail clipping training
- Polite Greeting
- Puppy up
- Emergency Recall
- Go to mat and settle
- Peek a boo
- Sit pretty
- Head (on ground)
- Chin (in hand)
- Bring it/Fetch
- Find it
- Back up
- Take a bow
- McBuppy Ball!
Typical Class Flow
When students arrive, they will have a designated mat with a water bowl. That is your pup's "safe" zone where you work. The room is very large, so we don't have to worry about dogs being on top of one another while training.
If dogs struggle with focusing around other dogs, then I will erect visual barriers. They will know that the other dogs are present, but because they cannot see them the distraction will be minimized. This will help them to focus. We will take our time phasing in the visual distractions of the others, because we want to set the dogs up for success.
If a dog proves incapable of being in the room with others, I have access to side rooms in which they can work.
During class, I will move from student to student. I will come by multiple times working with you and your pup, teaching new things and refining both of your skills.
Are You Ready to Start Training?
Contact me using the form below so we can discuss whether membership in the Doggy Gym is right for your canine companion. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I will get back to you as soon as I can. (Note: I will require a phone call to ask questions and discuss.)
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