How can I find the right dog training group class for my dog?
Select the ideal group class for your dog by setting goals for your dog’s training and then browsing our site. If you are interested in basic manners, control and obedience our Basic Manners class will be ideal. If you are looking for training for your puppy, sign up for our AKC Star Puppy Kindergarten group class.
If you are interested in Pet Therapy we offer a class for the AKC Canine Good Citizen that also includes Pet Therapy information.
If you just want to have some fun or increase your bond with your dog consider one of the many dog sports we offer:
Agility * Dock Jumping * Fun Scent Games * Lure Coursing * Trick Training * Disc Dog
If you have a dog that is being reactive barking, lunging or being unruly around dogs or strangers, sign up for our My Dog Has Issues program or schedule a behavior consult!
If you are still not sure please contact us for a FREE Email-Consult
Which shot records should I have for my dog or puppy?
For any of our puppy classes, puppies must be up-to-date for their age, with at least the first set of DHLPP shots, usually given between 6-8 weeks of age. Because socialization is so important and needs to begin as early as possible we do not usually recommend waiting for the full three sets of puppy shots. Veterinarians will suggest different guidelines for your puppy, so please take their advice into consideration. If your veterinarian tells you that your pup must have ALL vaccinations before attending a puppy class then he or she may not be current on the latest protocols for puppy socialization and vaccinations. We also require bordetella, lepto and flu shots.
At Courteous Canine, Inc., we agree with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s Position statement -“In general, puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first de-worming. They should be kept up to date throughout the class.”
For non-puppy classes all dogs must have:
- the full sequence of DHLPP (usually an annual booster for adult dogs)
- Rabies vaccine
- H3N2 canine flu vaccine
Your dog’s shot records may be anything from a vet receipt to a shot-vial sticker to a note from the breeder or a checked-off list with the shots on them. We have to work a bit on the honor system, but we do want to make sure the puppies are all safe
I can’t make it to a group class, what should I do?
If you cannot make it to class then please notify your Instructor. Unfortunately we can’t offer make ups as classes are in high demand. If you or your dog is sick we can freeze your group class and restart you when you are better. Likewise we can freeze your attendance if you have an emergency. Please notify your instructor.
If I cannot make it for a private training appointment, what should I do?
Please cancel your private appointment as soon as possible; we prefer 48-hours notice so we can schedule other clients who may be waiting for an appointment. If a client no shows for an appointment or our trainer arrives to the appointment at your home and you have not notified them that you are unavailable then the appointment rate will be charged.
My dog is very noisy, how do I keep them quiet during class?
Our trainers are experienced in handling noisy dogs and provide visual barriers and food stuffed toys to minimize barking. Please do not be embarrassed, all our dogs have funny quirks!
Do you sell Gift Certificates?
Yes, we do sell gift certificates. If you contact us, we can discuss how to purchase them and can then print a nice gift certificate that you can give to a friend or family member.
I have used traditional dog training methods in the past, why should I change my methods now?
Because you can! Some of the more traditional dog training methods use corrections as the main form of communication. These methods were popular before we knew as much about dog behavior and training as we know now. The dog training industry has progressed in many areas over the last 20 years. We want dog training to strengthen the dog-human relationship and we want dogs coming back to learn more with a happy demeanor and a wagging tail. Force based methods also have hidden consequences. With force, dogs learn to fear us and this can cause avoidance and escape behaviors and even lead to aggression. It is easier and more effective to use fun to modify behavior and train your dog.
What is a ‘clicker’ and do I have to use one if you work with my dog and me?
A clicker is a tool used to tell your dog ‘yes, you got it.’ It’s an excellent way of marking the precise behavior you want. A clicker is the equivalent to a whistle used in animal training. You can also use the word ‘yes’ instead of a clicker. Some people find clickers hard to coordinate with a treat bag and a leash and a dog. We also use the lure-reward method of training; it is fun, highly effective and great when involving children into the training process. While we encourage the use of a clicker we are force-free for both dogs and people!
- For the first class you will need to provide your vaccination records, although ideally email them to LoveDogs@CourteousCanine.com ahead of time.
- Soft and small treats, size of a fingernail – we recommend chopping up low fat hotdogs, string cheese or any other soft treat that agrees with your dog.
- A hungry dog. Please don’t feed your dog for at least 4 hours before class. If you have a highly food-motivated dog then your trainer may advise you to give them half their food rations before class.
- Bringing a mat or your dog’s bed may also be very beneficial to give your dog a “station”.
- A standard (non-flexi) leash and nylon collar or body harness. **Please no choke, prong or shock collars.**
- If you are already using a Head collar then bring that too. If you are planning on using a head collar please do not put it on your dog for the first time just before class. Your dog will spend the first session feeling uncomfortable and trying to remove it.
- A squeaky toy that can be used to get your dog’s attention. You can also bring a tug toy.
- A water bowl and water. Training makes a dog thirsty. A stressed dog can also get thirsty and don’t forget water for yourself too.
Do you offer private dog behavior consultations? Can a dog trainer or behavior consultant come to my house?
We do offer private dog training classes. Private dog training lessons are available in individual lessons or as packages. If you have a dog behavioral problem such as fear, anxiety, dog aggression, human aggression, resource guarding or other problem behavior, your trainer will make an initial appointment to conduct a full behavioral consultation. After the initial consultation your trainer will be in a better position to advise you on the Behavior Change Program needed and how long it will take to reach your goals.
Where are your dog training classes located?
We have group training classes at our main New Tampa campus: 3414 Melissa Country Way, Lutz, FL 33559
Do your trainers say they are Positive dog trainers?
As it is used in dog training, the term “positive” can be very misleading and confusing to the pet owner. In the context of learning theory, the science behind how we all learn, the term positive means the addition of something. Positive reinforcement means you are giving the dog something it likes whereas Positive Punishment means you are giving the dog something it does not like. At Courteous Canine, we use the least aversive and minimally intrusive training methods possible. We work to minimize stress and maximize fun! Dogs do not seek to avoid or escape the methods we use, so yes, we are positive trainers. We NEVER inflict mental or physical harm on any dog. Courteous Canine’s methods are educational, instructional, effective and efficient and most importantly they are user friendly. Friendly for the dog and friendly for the owner.
Can I observe a dog training class?
Because of the pandemic we currently can not allow anyone to observe group classes.
What is your cancellation policy?
For Behavior and Training consultations we have a 48-hour notice cancellation policy. Drop in group classes do not require cancellation notices.
My puppy is deaf. Can we still attend a group class and do your methods work?
Yes! If a dog is only partially deaf then we can still use the clicker or the word ‘yes’. If your puppy or dog is completely deaf, then we use hand signals or a flash light or other visual cue to teach them desired behaviors. We love working with all dogs including those that have unique challenges.
If I have a puppy in my home with other, older dogs do you still recommend Puppy Class?
Yes! Socialization is much more complicated than just exposing your dog to its own family of dogs. Ideal socialization means ever widening exposure to new and varied objects, places, people, dogs etc. Come join the puppy class fun!
Which training class is right for my dog?
This question will depend on your dog’s age, experience, previous training history, your goals, schedule, budget and family situation. We have a dog training program for you that offers the training you need, when you need it.
Contact us today for a FREE Email Consultation & learn more about how we can help you.