NVDTC Club Rules and Guidelines
- All dogs must be on-leash while on the premises, including the parking lot. Exceptions would be exercises inside the training facility as directed by the instructor.
- Pay attention to and be responsible for your dog at all times. Keep your dog next to you and the leash at 2-3 foot length, unless otherwise instructed. Don’t let your dog visit with the other dogs.
- Please no smoking in the building or near the building entry. Dispose of any butts properly, as ingesting cigarettes is hazardous to dogs.
- Please clean up after your own dog both inside and outside the training building. Cleaning supplies are available, including plastic bags, paper towels, and cleaners.
- There is a bucket located near the main door reserved especially for your dog’s waste.
- Dogs may eliminate in the lawn area with the large fig tree, which is located between buildings “C” and “D.” Do not allow your pet to relieve itself anywhere else on the property.
- Only one handler per dog permitted on the floor at a time. If there are multiple handlers for a dog, instructors may make adjustments.
- Human visitors are welcome. However, please stay off the training floor during class.
- Vaccinations MUST be kept current.
- Please drive slowly. Be aware of pedestrians, both the two and four-legged variety.
- Each week’s lessons build upon the previous week, so regular attendance is expected. If you anticipate an absence, please inform the instructor and get the class handouts. DO NOT send the dog with someone else unless they have been working with the dog consistently.
- Do not allow your dog to greet another dog unless directed by your instructor. Some dogs need more space to feel comfortable, please honor their needs.
- If your dog comes into season leave her at home. You may come to class to observe and then continue working her independently at home.
- Please do your best to be on time.
- If your dog has already had some training, please be patient with the newer students. Your dog may benefit from additional practice.
- Every dog, and person, learns at a different rate and in a different way. Patience is one of the most important traits when training your dog, along with a good sense of humor !
- Mistreating your dog by hitting or kicking will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal from the class.
- If your dog has reactive tendencies toward people or other animals please inform our staff in advance. We may need to help your dog adjust to the group class, or we may refer you to another trainer for evaluation and additional training before participating in a group class.
- Each week you will have an opportunity to ask questions. If you are having any problems or you have a great solution to a problem please bring it up in class. You are not alone in your challenges. We all benefit when we share ideas.
- If you have any questions or problems please do not hesitate to discuss the matter privately with the instructor. You may leave a message for the instructor by calling the Club at 253-8666.
- 6’ leather or fabric lead (leash) – NO ROPE, CHAIN or RETRACTABLE (i.e. Flexi) LEASHES. Choose a lead that is comfortable to hold. High quality leather leads are available for purchase in the training facility at our cost.
- Flat buckle or quick release collar. Special training equipment (martingale collar, head harness or front-clip harness) may be needed. Each dog will be evaluated individually and suggestions made. The Club keeps some equipment onsite and it’s available for purchase at our cost.
- Treats – We will be using treats during training. Bring more than you think you’ll need. Bring small SOFT treats (such as hot dogs, cheese, Pupperoni, Zukes, etc.) DO NOT bring hard treats such as dog biscuits or kibble.
- Most dogs work best on an empty stomach. However, if your dog turns into a piranha feel free to feed a small portion of his dinner prior to coming to class. Try to feed him early enough so that he has time to eliminate before coming to class.
- A bait bag or similar small pouch is very helpful during class. These are available for purchase at our cost.
- For your safety please wear comfortable clothing and soft soled, closed-toe shoes with closed- heel / back strap and good traction. Tennis shoes are recommended. Sandals, clogs and other slip-on footwear can be hazardous on the training floor. Dog training is a physical job so please dress accordingly.
TRAINING GUIDELINES & TIPS
- Your voice is one of the most important training tools you have. Give your commands in a consistent tone of voice. Try not to “ask” the dog to do something. Remember that dogs speak Body Language better than English, so use your body to communicate with them as well. We will help them to become “bilingual” as the weeks progress.
- Give praise in an enthusiastic manner. Leave your inhibitions at the door and be prepared to have fun with your dog. You need to be the most interesting thing in the building.
- If your dog shows fear or apprehension DO NOT attempt to make him feel better with ‘coos’ or ‘baby talk’. This may reinforce the dog’s uncertainty. If you have this problem (inside or outside of class) – please ask your instructor for suggestions.
- If your dog is growling, barking and otherwise carrying on during class, we may need to help him cope with all the stimulation. For some dogs, walking into the training building is like going into Chuck E. Cheese restaurant for the first time (just too many sights, sounds and smells).
- We employ the use of a ‘safe space’ behind a visual barrier to help most dogs adjust. Please do not take it personally if we suggest this to you. It may be the only way to help you and your dog relax.
- Try to practice with your dog at least once every day. Dogs respond better to short training sessions so shoot for 10-15 minutes per session. Try to work on only one or two things in a single session.
- Your dog’s mealtime can be training time. Use his food as his “treat” and have him perform an exercise before you feed him. You can accomplish two things at once: feeding our dog and training him too !
- Don’t practice when you are in a bad mood. If you feel frustrated, then stop and try another time. Remember that dog training is a fun, bonding activity to do with your dog.
- Always end your training sessions on a positive note.
- Don’t worry if your dog performs perfectly at home but regresses at class (or vice versa). Dogs don’t generalize behaviors very well. That means they only understand the cues and skills where you have practiced them. Try to get your dog out of its familiar environment at least once a week to practice. We call it “Taking it on the Road”. This could mean you practice in the front yard instead of the backyard or maybe in front of your neighbor’s house as opposed to your house.
THE FIRST CLASS with YOUR DOG
- Be patient and try to relax.
- Dogs will be excited – anticipate that they won’t listen to you. Be prepared to help them pay attention with the help of tasty treats !
- Have a firm hold on your dog’s lead but try not to strangle. Your emotions and stress travel down the leash to your dog. Don’t forget to breathe. It will help you and your dog to relax.
- Do not crowd around the front door. Some dogs may be very nervous and act out in a defensive manner. We want everyone to start out on a positive note.
- When entering the training building, please walk all the way into the training area.Allow several feet of distance between you and other dogs.
- The instructor and assistants can help with any collar and/or lead questions.
- KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR DOG !
TRAINING DO’S & DON’TS
- DO clean up after your dog.
- DO work with your dog every day.
- DO check your dog’s training equipment for proper fit, plus wear and tear.
- DO praise your dog every time he tries to do the right thing.
- DO give your verbal cues clearly and only say the word one time.
- DO develop confidence in yourself as a trainer. If you are unsure, your dog will be unsure.
- DO work your dog in safe, unfamiliar environments to proof skills.
- DO the unexpected and your dog will learn to pay attention to you.
- DON’T ever lose your temper with your dog.
- DON’T get discouraged. If you keep working with your dog, he will learn.
- DON’T accept mediocrity; demand sweetly for the best (in yourself and your dog).
- DO review these tips from time to time.
- DO have fun with your dog.
- DO remember – Practice Makes Perfect!
COMMONLY USED VERBAL CUES & THEIR MEANINGS
Dogs don’t understand English so the words you choose are up to you. The following are the most popular and therefore we use them in our discussion and description of the class exercises. However, we encourage you to find words that will make sense to you and your family.
- Release Word: You will come up with your own release word. This word tells Fido that the exercise is over (which is VERY important with stay and wait.) Think of it as your ‘off switch’. Stay or wait is the ‘on switch’ and your release word is the ‘off switch’. Some suggestions are: “release”, “dismissed”, “all done”, “go play”, etc.
- Let’s Go / Walk An informal way for your dog to walk with you; they may be ahead or behind you but they must never pull on the leash.
- Heel: More formal; use this when you need Fido right at your side (such as in a crowded situation). Be sure Fido understands that he must be in “heel position” at all times when he hears this command.
- Easy/Settle: Slow down; stop pulling on the leash.
- Sit: Dog moves into a sitting position.
- Down/Drop: Dog moves into a prone position whether he was sitting or standing.
- Stand: Dog stands up and remains standing. This is extremely useful for wiping off feet, taking the dog’s temperature, and more.
- Come/Front/Here: Fido should come the first time and close enough that you can touch him (preferably sitting in front of you); dogs are always rewarded for coming when called, never punished !
- Stay: This means that whatever position you put Fido in – he is not to move until given a release (which only happens when he hears you say the Release Word).
- Wait: More informal than “Stay”; it means, “keep listening for further instructions.” A particularly useful command for going through doorways, in and out of the car, preparing his food, etc.
- Off: Tells Fido to get off of the couch, a person, etc. This word works better than “down” because down means lie down whereas “off” means just that, OFF!
- Leave It: Tells Fido to take his attention away from ‘it’ (which can be a piece of food, a pile of dog poop, another dog, a person, etc.) and move on. Think of this word as NEVER.
- Don’t/Quit/Stop: Use this when you really want to make a point. Don’t say too much or it won’t be as effective. Save it for when you really need it !
- Watch Me /Look: Tells your dog to look into your eyes. This is a key tool when you want to redirect your dog and/or give him additional commands in a distracting setting.
- Quiet/Hush/Enough: Use this when Fido is barking a little too much. Make sure you reward him when is quiet.
- In/Kennel/Load Up: Useful for getting your dog into something (car crate, kennel run, etc).
- Search/Find It: Tells Fido to look for something or someone.
- Fetch/Get It: Tells Fido to get an object and bring it back to you.
- Out/Give/Drop It: Tells your dog to release the object in his mouth.
- Gentle/Nice: This reminds the dog to be gentle when taking something for a person’s hand.
- No Sniff/Head Up: Stop sniffing the ground/person/object.