Secondary School FAQ

The following are our frequently asked questions about Secondary School - we will continue to add more as they come up! 

How old should my dog be to attend?

Your dog can be any age as long as they are up to date on their core vaccines (Distemper, Parvovirus, Rabies), and are friendly toward dogs and people! That means puppies as young as 16 weeks can join (proof of Rabies vaccine due at 6mo of age) and dogs of 16 years can join!

What do you teach in Secondary School?

We teach all the basics in Secondary School! Sit, down, stay, wait at doors/curbs, drop it, leave it, take it, eye contact, hand targeting, come when called. polite walking, resource guarding prevention, impulse control, handling for the vet & groomer, go to mat, greeting people, and more!

My dog has an intestinal parasite? Can we still come to class?

We have a protocol for dogs who have contracted a parasite. Once your dog has been on treatment (from your vet) for 5 full days, we allow them in class but the most important part is to give the dog a "bum bath" because after a bowel movement, the parasite can remain on the outside fur/skin, which can then be transmitted to other dogs / people. During class we would just be very careful and redirect any dog who is investigating your dog's back end, and avoid sharing water bowls, which we do anyway. 

This is a protocol that we have been given by Veterinarians. With good nutrition and probiotics, you can build up some good gut health and prevent a recurrence. If you'd like, get in touch with Sabine Contreras at Better Dog Care and she, along with your Vet, is the best resource for battling these parasites once and for all.

Should we do private lessons instead of classes?

If your dog is friendly toward dogs and people and you’re hoping to learn the basics, the best place for them is in a well-run group class (ours!). If you have a busy schedule and prefer one-on-one time, we can certainly help.

We offer discounted packages for private lessons. Email us to book and we'll have a trainer work with you one-on-one to help resolve the specific challenges you're facing at home and in the real world. 

Can my kids come to class?

We are more than happy to have children (6yrs+) in attendance! Of course, because this is a group environment, we do have to have rules. Please ensure they have something to work on just in case the classes are not quite up their alley. A few ideas - colouring book, reading book / magazines, iPod and earbuds with quiet music, a tablet or video game device on "silent". Children must never run, shriek/yell, pet/pick up anyone else's dog, and they must be attended at all times. Please read our guidelines for children/families. 

How many dogs are in the class?

We have a max of 4 - 5 dogs per class to ensure each of our clients get enough individual attention. 

Is there off leash playtime for the dogs in class?

We don’t offer off-leash play in Secondary School as there is a range of ages and personalities. We do have an awesome Facebook group for our students, however, and you can get in touch with other students to set up playdates!

My dog is fearful/anxious/reactive/aggressive toward other dogs, people, sounds, etc. Will s/he be okay in classes?

Not likely. A group class is not the place to “socialise” a dog with these concerns. We cannot ethically use other people’s dogs as “guinea pigs” for dogs who need some one-on-one help to resolve their big feelings. Let’s look at some private lessons to tackle that so that we don’t set them up for failure in an overwhelming group environment. We don’t deal with behaviour challenges like fear, anxiety, reactivity, aggression in our Secondary School level.

What kind of collar should my dog wear?

We ask that all dogs are equipped with a back-clip or front-clip body harness and a non-retractable leash. Because puppies are very delicate (yes - all breeds are delicate in puppyhood!) as they grow and develop, we require a harness rather than a collar because we do not want you inadvertently damaging your puppy's neck, spine, thyroid, esophagus, ligaments, and nerves - all of which can be damaged with a collar when pressure is used. We know how much puppies like to pop around and lurch toward everything exciting - they're not programmed to walk perfectly on leash! They were just born! We recommend always using a properly fitted harness for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, and using a flat collar to simply hold their ID tags, city registration tag, and Rabies tag (when they're older). 

Can we do more than one class a week?

Yes! You can do two classes per week if you wish. If you’d like to do top-up classes, you can purchase those separately too!

My dog is a new rescue - can I start right away?

We require new rescue dogs to be in the home for 30 days before signing up for our Secondary School classes. The first 3 weeks or so is a common "honeymoon" phase where a new rescue dog’s behaviour may change drastically. If at 30 days you are not seeing signs of fear, anxiety, reactivity, or aggression, sign up for Secondary and let’s get started!

If you would like to get started in training sooner, we would recommend our private program to help get you started off on the right paw!