ForPaws Blog

Improvers Classes

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Lexie demonstrating trick dog training in Godalming, SurreyA few of you may know that once each month I also run an Improvers dog training class.  These classes are usually for customers who have completed our Puppy or Beginners courses, but occasionally we have some of our walking customers join us too.  

Planning these classes had started to become very difficult, we have a wide range of training customers, who have different training needs and capabilities and writing a class that any of these could come to and get something out of was become quite tough.  So this month I decided to have a bit of a shake up of the classes...

From this month we will be running 2 Improvers classes each month, initially covering the same exercises - which gives our growing list of 'graduates' more of a chance to book on!  Each class will now be in the same format each month and we will be looking at:
 
Trick Training - We will spend each lesson learning a minimum of 2 new tricks and reviewing previous ones learned to 'nail' them.  See more on this below.
Coffee Break - Much needed after all that training!
Agility - We will be building this up more and more each week.
 
Why Trick Dog Training?
I find that obedience exercises don't suit all dogs and owners and there is often such variety between the levels of dogs that it is difficult to cater to all in the same class!  So after mulling this idea over for the past few weeks I have decided that rather than repeat and expand on existing exercises we will instead learn trick dog training in our Improvers classes.  We use the same skills that you've learned in our previous classes, marking and rewarding with food treats (or toy play if you'd prefer) and shaping with the clicker - but the exercises that we are doing are fun exercises, not intended to be as strictly progressed as obedience exercises.  This doesn't mean that trick training doesn't do any 'good' in terms of your dog's behaviour, in fact there are a lot of benefits to this:
  • Other than being able to get your dog's focus, there are very little 'pre-requisites' for any of the exercises, so classes are open to all ForPaws 'Graduates'!
  • It puts the fun back into your training!  Meaning you and your dog enjoy your training time together, strengthening the dog/owner bond, which will result in you being a happy owner of a dog who wants to be with you.
  • Trick dog training is both physically and mentally stimulating for your dog - your dog will sleep well after classes!
  • It gives you a host of great party tricks for your dog to show off with - which beats them jumping on guests!
  • The tricks each month give you something different to focus on at home, rather than the 'same old' training exercises!
  • Tricks are fun for all the family to do, a great way to build a bond between dogs and children (under your supervision!). 
And as if that wasn't enough we will be working towards the 'UberDude' Trick Dog Title from In the Dog House!  In order to get this title you need to demonstrate that your dog can perform 12 tricks from a list that can be found here:  http://inthedoghousedtc.com/trick-dog-club.  If this format works we'll of course see if we can work towards some of the more advanced titles too!  You don't have to work towards the title, but I thought it would be nice for there to be a goal for our classes!  When you book onto your first Improvers class of this new format I will send over a little guide explaining the level that each behaviour needs to be at and a little checklist for you to work through.
 
If you'd like to see the tricks demonstrated that are involved in the Uber Dude title - check out the Dog House's video here:
 

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  1. ruth waller

    Hi I am looking for some obedience classes with my 9 month old lurcher (beddi whippet).she sits and walks nicely but is steeling food off the worksurface and doesn't come back immediately when chasing! doesn't stay for long . Please advice when ,were and cost .Thank you

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