If you are looking for group dog training classes, then you want to join The Doggy Gym (I sometimes call this "puppy school"). It is for any dogs who are good around other dogs while on a leash, and who are at least 5 months of age.
This option gives you the most value for the least expense. I say it is my "economy class", but that doesn't mean that "you get what you pay for". Quite the contrary, I want our time together to be extremely profitable for you, and so I even offer you tools outside of class to maximize your investment.
You have two options to accommodate your availability and finances.
- The Doggy Gym ($100/month): This class meets on Saturdays at 1:00 pm and Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. (Sorry, currently unavailable)
- The Doggy Gym Lite ($65/month): This class meets on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm.
Outside of those differences, the two classes are the same. All group classes meet at Atonement Lutheran Church of Beloit, which is at 901 Harrison (which is 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
Depending on which version you choose, you can go to class once or twice a week. Unlike more structured classes (such as the typical "six-week class"), if you miss a class for whatever reason, you do not need to make it up. Instead, we simply pick up where we left off last time your canine companion was at the Gym. Each class is limited to four dogs. That way I can ensure one-on-one quality time with all the students.
Option to Rotate Dogs
Rather than having to buy a membership for each of your dogs, you can rotate your dogs in class for a small fee, depending on the version of Doggy Gym you have signed up for. Training more than one dog in a class doesn't get anymore economical than this.
- Doggy Gym: +$20 for a second dog, +10 for a third dog and more dogs thereafter
- Doggy Gym Lite: +10 for a second dog, +5 for a third dog and more dogs thereafter
Access to the Puppy Tutor Between Classes
Anyone enrolled in my classes has free access to the Puppy Tutor Community for as long as the membership is active. This means that if you have issues or questions, you can easily ask. All you need to do is create a topic and ask your question. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Plus, other students may also give you pointers, which is part of the joy of community. After all, one of the best ways to learn is to teach, and this gives you all the opportunity to teach each other.
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. The pricing is as follows:
- In home (if within 15-minute radius): $15
- Skype: $10
Further Private-Lesson Discount
Keeping in mind that a group class isn't always the most appropriate place to work on certain issues, if you want to have more private lessons after the Add-On Option, anyone actively enrolled in the Doggy Gym (either version) receives a 20% discount on individual private lessons, either in-home or over Skype.
If you know of anyone who would benefit from joining the Doggy Gym (either one), you can earn a "referral bonus" when they sign up for a membership and identify you as their sponsor. If you are in the Doggy Gym, the bonus $10. If you are in the Doggy Gym Lite, it's $5. This bonus will come 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 complete by 5:00 pm on the 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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