Winter Class Act Tips by Kelly Murrell
This week, we’ll delving into group class management strategies, which will set you and your dog up for success!
Tip 1: Training Class Essentials
Preparation is key when it comes to dog training, and that also includes what you bring along to your training classes. We love the idea of having a little checklist so you can check it each week to ensure you have remembered everything you need! Here’s what we pack for our training class essentials:
- Crate or bed (depending on the dog and their level of boundary games)
- Crate Cover
- Food rewards – quantity and variety are key. You don’t want to run out and you want plenty of options. Plus, it’s always a good idea to pack something that can be easily seen when thrown
- Training toys
- Water and water dish
- Bring a warm coat for your dog to wear during their rest breaks and while they are waiting their turn – at during winter it is essential to ensure your dog’s muscles are kept warm throughout the training session
- Camp chair for you – depending on the length of your training class
- Notepad and pen
- Some kind of recording device, your phone for example
Tip 2: Car Park Consideration
Does your dog struggle while in the car? Do they bark at passers-by? Do they get excited or worried when they can see or hear other dogs?Before you have even stepped foot into your training class, the car park is where a lot of potentially over exciting or worrying things take place for your dog. They are then bringing this energy into the class with them.
So, to ensure your dog starts off the training class in a calm headspace, here are some of our suggestions for car park consideration:
- Park your car as far from the entrance to the training facility as possible, this will then reduce the amount of foot traffic passing your vehicle
- Reverse your vehicle into the parking space to reduce your dog’s ability to see potential triggers
- Leave your dog in the vehicle while you go and get everything set up. Be ready to go! Don’t try and walk your dog into the training facility whilst trying to carry all of your things!
- When you are ready to get your dog, get them out at a time where it is as calm as it possibly be, meaning when the majority of your class mates have already brought their dog into the training facility
- If they are amped up and not in the right headspace to enter the build right away; adopt calming strategies such as figure of 8 walking or scatter feeding
- And lastly, before taking your dog into the training facility, ensure you have offered them the opportunity to go to the bathroom
Tip 3: Doorways
Doorways are notorious places for negative events to take place. This is due to a couple of things; firstly there’s little wiggle room. Meaning that if everyone in the class is trying to go through the door pretty much one after another, this doesn’t leave much space for the dogs to make appropriate choices. Secondly; for dogs, entering through doorways is like us going through the wardrobe to Narnia!
We know that we are simply entering a building but for dogs it’s another world, and one that can be filled and fuelled with excitement and arousal. Our tips for entering a building would be:
- Ensure you are giving your classmates room
- Allow time for your classmates to enter and start making their way to where they have set up before entering yourself
- Give PLENTY of space!
- As we mentioned yesterday, if your dog is very excited, or worried, before going in we suggest figure of 8 walking or scatter feeding
- Take your time making the transition from the car park to your training class
Tip 4: Your Set-Up!
When arriving for your weekly class, we have already looked into the importance of getting everything set up and ready to (crate/bed/treats/toys etc) before getting your dog out, but today we want to look into the location of your set up in the training facility and things to consider. Here’s some of our suggestions:
- Space is important, so set your things up with enough space away from the other dogs in your class
- As much as you possibly can, set up your things away from high traffic areas, doorways etc
- Communicate with your classmates if your dog struggles to be near particular types of dogs so you can avoid (as much as you possibly can) going next to a dog that’ll be hard for your dog
Taking these things into consideration will ensure your group class experience goes smoothly and is enjoyable for you and your dog!
Read more of our handy Thursday training blogs HERE.