Dr. Ian Dunbar's SIRIUS® Dog Trainer Academy - All 4 Days
- 23 hours on-demand video
- 1 article
- 20 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- You will learn to manage and promote a dog training business.
- You will learn to use games and quantification to train and motivate people to train their dogs.
- You will learn to solve a wide variety of dog behavior problems, using the Behavior Problem Solving Matrix
- You will learn how to conduct dog training classes for puppies and adult dogs.
- You will learn to assess the severity of dog biting and fighting, and how to safely devise treatment and management plans
- There are no requirements to take this course
Dr. Dunbar taught the world's very first off-leash puppy socialization and training classes and he has been perfecting the SIRIUS Dog Training business model for the past 30 years. If you are a dog training professional, or you're thinking of becoming one, this is the course you simply must take.
The SIRIUS Academy is a structured and comprehensive course on how to run a successful dog training business. This course cuts to the chase and focuses on the essential information that you absolutely need to know in order to effectively teach people to train dogs as quickly, easily and enjoyably as possible.The full Academy consists of all 4 days of lecture, 6+ hours each, as well as substantial notes, including notes for the lectures, a Behavior Problem Solving Matrix, and the complete SIRIUS Syllabi for Puppy 1, Puppy 2, and Adult 1 classes, with week-by-week-schedules and minute-by-minute class notes. You will also get two free eBooks and 16 Behavior Blueprints which you can customize with your business information and distribute freely to clients and colleagues to aid in training and promotion.
Day 1: Business, Promotion, People Training & GamesDay 2: Behavior CounselingDay 3: Adult Dog Classes & Home TrainingDay 4: Puppy Classes & Home Training“Whether you're new to dog training and wondering how to get started in the business, or you've been doing it for ages (like me) and you're looking for some fresh ideas to super-charge your business, this is the very best place to get what you need. I found myself taking detailed notes for some long-term changes, and then also jotting down little nuggets of gold to go home and immediately implement into my classes or business practices…This four-day event, and yes, you MUST attend all four days, offers the attendee who already has some hands-on experience with dogs everything they need to start up their own classes. Those of us who've already been running our own classes come away with many new ideas for classroom games and exercises for both puppies and adult dogs, PLUS a comprehensive, tested plan to measure and increase our success, and to market ourselves (which we could all use help with).I am so excited to make some changes! Thanks so much for everything!"- Michelle Douglas, CPDT-KA, CDBC – Past President of the APDT
- Professional dog trainers, and anyone considering becoming a dog trainer.
- Dog Shelter and Rescue Organization personnel
- Vet Techs and Veterinarians
That's why we make BEFORE & AFTER You Get Your Puppy available as a free download. This PDF file can actually be customized with your business contact information and then distributed freely as a valuable promotional tool. You'll be promoting good puppy-raising practices and thereby helping to keep dogs out of shelters, all while promoting your own business.
BEFORE You Get Your Puppy
by Dr. Ian Dunbar
When you choose a new puppy, you need to meet six developmental deadlines before your puppy is just five months old. If your puppy fails to meet any of these deadlines, he will never achieve his full potential and will be playing ‘behavioral catch-up’ for the rest of his life. BEFORE You Get Your Puppy covers the first three developmental deadlines covering the period from puppy selection to your puppy’s first week at home. The last three developmental deadlines that your puppy needs to meet before he is six months old are described in a second book — AFTER You Get Your Puppy
1st Developmental Deadline — Your Education About Puppy Education
You need to complete your education about puppy education before you search for a puppy. You need to know how to select a good puppy and how puppies work. Selecting a puppy is similar to buying a car: Do lots of research beforehand and "test drive" a wide variety, especially including the one you intend to buy. But first, you need to learn how to drive. Specifically you need to know how to teach your puppy: where to eliminate, what to chew, when to bark, where to dig, to sit when greeting people, to walk calmly on-leash, to settle down and shush when requested, to inhibit biting behavior, to enjoy spending time at home alone, and to thoroughly enjoy the company of other dogs and people — especially strangers and children
2nd Developmental Deadline — Evaluating Your Prospective Puppy’s Progress
Before you choose your puppy, you need to know how to assess your prospective puppy’s current socialization and educational status. Regardless of breed or breeding, if socialization, errorless housetraining, and basic manners are not well underway by eight weeks of age, the puppy is already developmentally retarded.
3rd Developmental Deadline — Errorless Housetraining & Chewtoy-Training
Make certain that an errorless housetraining and chewtoy-training program is instituted from the very first day your puppy comes home.
That's why we make BEFORE & AFTER You Get Your Puppy available as a free download. This PDF file can actually be customized with your business contact information and then distributed freely as a valuable promotional tool. You'll be promoting good puppy-raising practices and thereby helping to keep dogs out of shelters, all while promoting your own business.
AFTER You Get Your Puppy covers the last three developmental deadlines that your puppy needs to meet before he is six months old.
4th Developmental Deadline — Socializing Your Puppy to People
Your Most Urgent Priority is to socialize your puppy to a wide variety of people, especially children, men, and strangers, before he is twelve weeks old. Well-socialized puppies grow up to be wonderful companions, whereas antisocial dogs are difficult, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous. As a rule of thumb, your puppy needs to meet at least one hundred people before he is three months old. Since your puppy is still too young to venture out to dog parks and sidewalks, you’ll need to start inviting people to your home right away.
5th Developmental Deadline — Teaching Bite Inhibition
Your Most Important Priority is that your puppy learns to inhibit the force of his bites and develop a "soft mouth" before he is eighteen weeks old. Whenever a dog bites a person, or fights with another dog, the single most important prognostic factor is the degree of bite inhibition and hence, the likelihood and seriousness of injury. Accidents happen. Someone may tread on the dog’s paw, or a child may trip over the dog while he’s gnawing a bone. A dog may snap and lunge at a person when hurt or frightened, but if the dog has well-established bite inhibition, it is unlikely the dog’s teeth will puncture, or even touch the skin.
6th Developmental Deadline — Continuing Socialization in The World at Large
The Most Enjoyable Priority of dog ownership is to introduce your well-socialized puppy to the world at large. Your dog will only remain sociable and confident if he continues to meet and greet at least three unfamiliar people and three unfamiliar dogs every day. Meeting the same people and dogs over and over is not sufficient. Your dog needs to practice meeting, greeting, and getting along with strangers, not simply getting along with old friends. Regular walks with your dog are as essential as they are enjoyable.
Dog training has changed a lot over the years. It wasn’t that long ago that there were no professional pet dog trainers. Sure, people have been training dogs for years, but mostly informally, and often for specific and practical jobs. The explosion of the popularity of the pet dog has necessitated the creation of a whole new syllabus and profession.
To be a pet dog trainer you not only have to know how to train and motivate dogs, you have to know how to train and motivate their owners. One of the most important aspects is convinving owners that training will be infinitely easier the earlier it is begun. Puppy classes allow pet dogs the opportunity to experience and learn life lessons at the most absorbent time in their lives. This will allow them to become familiar with the human world and acquire skills necessary to be a part of the family.
When starting a career in pet dog training it is really important to educate yourself. Take the time to listen to speakers that you like and network at conferences. Assist other trainers or set up apprenticeships with professionals. Use your online databases to do some research and get hands on experience by volunteering at a local shelter. Immerse yourself with dogs to observe dog behavior and learn from them.
The reason we are in this business is because we love dogs but in fact most of our job as pet dog trainers is to train people how to train their dogs. The question is how do you motivate people to want to do it. Fortunately, once you’ve learned how to train dogs, all you have to do is take the things you have already learned about reinforcement schedules and motivation and apply them to your interactions with people.
Your first employee should be a receptionist. Hire someone to schedule for you and answer your phones. If you are not answering calls then it frees up time for you to work more hours, in turn making more money.
Telephone people have to be brilliant. An excellent receptionist will be unfailingly polite and knows how to ask for a sale in 60 seconds and how to get off the phone respectfully when a caller wants to chat forever. They will avoiding asking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, instead asking questions that steer people towards becoming a client,. They use the phone and get off the phone quickly. They need not know about dog training, and in fact it can be better if they don’t, as they should not be dispensing free training advice over the phone.
The next quantum leap is the decision to get a permanent facility. This is one of the last things you want to do, because it’s a huge investment. Instead, start out with small satellite rentals in numerous areas for an hourly rate. Now that you are training classes in different areas schedule your individual consolations in the same area before or after your class to cut down on travel time.
When you set up prices for your services to clients, offer three types of options - affordable, reasonable and outrageously expensive. Make sure that your system for new clients is in a one input process where they can sign up for a class, pay for it and get confirmation all on the same web page or in the same phone call.
If you find that you are ‘over worked’ or ‘too busy’, simply increase your prices. You will be amazed at the increase in profits, and there’s a good chance it will actually increase your workload, as people assume your higher prices mean higher quality.
Do not waste your time with clients that do not comply, especially if they are free clients. We all have friends or family that we want to help out with free training, but ensure that they are willing to do their part as well, otherwise you’re just wasting your time and energy.
Your website should be fun and interesting. Dog training is fun and your website should represent that. It can be worthwhile to keep simple blog on your website. Use a newsletter service to keep all of your contacts organized and update your clients on classes and schedules. And most importantly have videos. It now becomes entertaining, dynamic and educational.
Having an advertising budget is very important. It is not as important how much your budget is just as long as you have one. So what do you spend your money on? The best bang for your buck would be Google Local Search which is a good option for a low budget. Advertise what you do and where here.
Dog Star Daily offers wonderful resources you can download for free, then customize with your business contact information and distribute to clients as a promotional tool.
A great place to promote your business is the vet clinic. Vets are the first people who see puppies. Visit your local vets and bring promotional material they can hand out to their puppy clients. Offer free classes or lectures to the vet staff. It is a good idea to become good friends with the whole vet staff, as these relationship will greatly help promote your business.
Breeders are also important people to get on your team. Reach out to the local breeder community. Coordinate with your local library to host video nights, free lectures or question and answer sessions for pet dog owners. Give out the free books and downloads from DogStarDaily (customized with your contact info). Contact your local public media outlet and ask to have a time slot where you can run a video you personally recorded while training dogs or giving lectures. Its easy to do and fun!
The most effective and certainly the most enjoyable way to get compliance from pet dog owners is by using games. Training should be fun. It is a great setback to be rude or angry at dog owners. All you accomplish by making your clients look foolish or belittling them is mistrust in you. You’ve just distanced them from you and in doing so you have reduced your ability to help them.
Address the issue of owner compliance upfront. Give them all the information they need to know before the class or the consult and expect they will read it. Then test to see if they did their homework on the first class. Has the dog and its owner come prepared to learn? Will the puppy take treats from strangers? They will if the owners did the homework and had some strangers hand-feed their pup. If not then deal with it right away and demand compliance. Otherwise it is a waste of everyone’s time. And just remember, dog behavior never lies.
When you have a difficult situation with a client that violently disagrees with you there is no reason to argue. Don't delay training by arguing over an equipment choice like choke collars and shock collars. The best choice is no equipment at all, just the trainer and the treat, but your job as a trainer is to show them you have a better way of training. It is ok if your clients don't believe you right away. Show them you have the answers by delivering results.
A great way to practice how to deal with difficult clients is to role play. An exercise called the Bozo game allows you and your friends to test each other’s ability to answer silly questions. in an appropriate and respectful way. If you work in dog training long enough you’re going to hear some outlandish questions eventually.
Although people games are fun the best games are those we play with our dogs. There are three main reasons that fames are great. First it motivates dogs, owners and onlookers. Dogs and their owners are having a blast and other people see that and are immediately intrigued. Secondly games offer a way to assess performance. There is only one fastest recall, quickest sit or longest catch, and games give you an excuse to measure and record. Lastly games get owner compliance. The easiest way to get 100% compliance from dog owners is to make training fun and competitive!
All this may come very naturally to you but it is important to remember that these concepts are not that easy for the average dog owner. It is up to you to teach them how to communicate with their dogs. There are six E’s of training pet owners: it has to be easy, efficient, effective, enjoyable, efficacious and expedient. What you are teaching has to be simple and produce quick results. It should be fun so the owner and the dog want to do it and it has to be suitable for everyone in the family to follow instructions and set themselves up for success.
During training we attempt to accomplish five things: progressive desensitization, an increase in frequency of behavior, a decrease in frequency of behavior, putting a behavior on cue, and putting the absence of behavior on cue. This will allow you to teach woof and shush or jazz up and settle down. Training in the presence and absence of a behavior will give you control over the level of intensity of a certain behavior.
Auto shaping is the easiest way to train. One of the best examples of this is chew toy stuffing. Chewing a toy trains pet dogs to chew on this toy and settle down and is periodically rewarded when food falls out. Long term confinement is another great example. This give you total management and is the best way to house train a pet dog.
All or none reward training takes time but it is very simple to do because there is to prompting or instruction. You simply wait for the behavior to take place and ignore all the rest. Reward desirable behavior and ignore undesirable behavior. Good behavior will then increase in frequency and bad behavior will decrease in frequency.
Shaping is a technique that uses a clicker to shape a behavior with very small approximations. This method is great for teaching behaviors that are complex with multiple steps or for something that can simply not be lured.
Repeating a command to your dog is a good practice to allow. It is more important to follow up and demand that you are listened to. If you allow your dog to blow you off he will quickly learn that he only has to listen to you sometimes and not others. A good rule of thumb is that once you repeat the command the behavior must be repeated by the dog. Eventually he will learn that if he does it the first time you ask then he only has to do it once, but if you ask multiply times then he has to do it multiple times as well. Repetitive reinstruction doesn't have to be punishing but it must be given with urgency. Use a tone of voice to get the point across.
It is also a good idea to teach in all tones of voice. In a case of emergency you are most likely not going to address the command with a sweet voice instead you will be screaming. Teach your dog ahead of time that shouting is not bad, in fact it is rewarded heavily and through association will become positive.
When a dog forgets his manners use specific redirection. By responding with a single word you must communicate three different pieces of information: stop the current behavior, tell them what to do and the potential danger of noncompliance.
When dealing with problem behaviors is it a good idea to put a problem on cue. This not only allows for more control over you dog but you can also use these behaviors as rewards. Some problem behaviors will have to be trained different through trouble shooting techniques or rewarding the cessation of the behavior. Provide an opportunity to set up a controlled learning situation for your dog to actively train and do so often so your dog has a lot of chances to perform the correct behavior.
Total management of your dog or puppy right away is the best way to address problem behaviors before they start. Auto shape them while you are away from home in their long term confinement area with chew toys. Chew toy stuffing and hand feeding is the most important thing you can do for a new puppy. And when you are home short term confinement should to be practiced so you can communicate other important lessons to your puppy like potty training and alone time.
When working with aggression it is really important to properly assess the danger of the situation. Do you have the ability to take on this case and do you want to? A level 1 and 2 biter is easy to fix but level 3 is risky. A level 4 case should be avoided and leave the rest to a professional who handles aggression cases. Ask and assess what level your clients dog is at. If the dog is reactive and has never sent a dog or human to the hospital you have a good chance with it. Dogs that have hospitalized other dogs or humans do not have bite inhibition and other arrangements should be made for these animals, whether it be euthanasia or permanent confinement.
Education should be solution based. What we really need to know is the rank order of problem behaviors by incidences and their solutions. We currently have behavior blueprints that explain how to solve such problems. Looking at your behavior Matrix from your notes will give you a list of behavior problems and how to solve them in ranking order. When examining the behavior matrix, make sure to fill out the form with importance and with urgency.
It gets a little unclear when handling separation anxiety cases, is it separation anxiety or is it an owner absent problem? Diagnosis is very important. With anxiety you may need the help of a vet. This may take some time and patience to fix but also some tough love. The dog needs to learn how to be alone. Leaving him with a chew toy can provide a break in anxiety and adding cues to his environment will help become secondary reinforces and relaxers. Chew toys are a great way to fix most owner absent problems.
Hyper activity can be put on cue in a game we like to call meet the beast. Now you should train in a settle command and you have added control over your dogs levels of activity. You can amp them up and calm them down. Jumping up and leash pulling and running away can also be put on cue.
Dog-reactive dogs often become ostracized in class settings because they are too much of a distraction to the other dogs and the other dogs are too much of a distraction for them, so no one gets the training they deserve. That’s why it’s important that these dogs get their own class.
The Open paw program was developed for shelter dogs. This is a very fluid environment to attempt a training program and it was not easy. The first thing that Open Paw initiated was the removal of the food bowl. Classical conditioning and All or None rReward Training are both very important methods in helping to make shelter dogs more adoptable. The beautiful thing about these two types of training is it takes away all expectations. The dog no longer has to listen to your commands. If you don’t ask them to do anything then there are no hard feelings when they don’t perform. Frustrations come from high expectations. On the other hand, if you simply watch them and wait, it won’t be long before they do something worth rewarding, whether that’s looking at you, sitting, lying down or just looking cute and not barking.
In adult classes you would treat the nervous, scared and shy dogs the same as you would in a shelter. Classically condition them to accept treats from every person in the room. Treating a dog is a good temperament test as well. A lot of information can be gathered from whether or not the dog takes a treat from you. Taking a treat symbolizes trust. If a dog won’t take a treat from you it could mean that the dog is not comfortable with you or the environment they’re in.
In real life situations you won’t be able to control the level of your dog’s excitement, so this is how you prepare. The more you practice, the easier it will be to settle your dog down when there is a truly exciting stimulus, like a barking dog or someone at the door. Whenever possible, you should practice settling your dog down when these exciting stimuli present themselves, so you have more control on those occasions when your hands are full or you’re otherwise occupied.
Putting undesired behaviors on cue is a good way to control them. Train your dog to pull on leash, train a slow down and a speed up behavior for your walk. If your dog enjoys pulling you can now use the pull behavior as a reward for when they’ve been walking nicely with you on leash.
Some dogs may bark and lunge and act foolish, but you just ignore them and eventually they settle down, which is something you can reward them for. By removing any expectations for a specific behavior, you end up with a very relaxed class, because there’s no way the owners or dogs can get it wrong.
You can also promote specific behaviors with All or None Reward Training. For example, if you want to get a dog to pay attention to you, simply wait for the dog to look at you and then reward them. When they’re not looking at you just ignore them. As they get the idea and begin to look at you more you can slowly increase the criteria for a reward by asking for longer duration looks. You can even make it even more challenging by turning yourself around and forcing the dog to find your front and look at you to get a reward.
Any time you take a dogs leash off you have to worry about its safety. One of the best things you can do is train an Emergency Sit command. With just one command we reduce the complexity of off leash behaviors to one reliable command and then we can integrate it into every activity your dog is doing. A recall is not the best emergency command because there are situations where you would not want your dog to run back to you (let’s say they’ve already run across a busy street).
It’s important to practice your Emergency Sit command using the tone of voice that you might use in an emergency situation. Otherwise they’re not going to be very reliable when you find yourself in a real emergency. Another important element for achieving a reliable Emergency Sit command is building distance control. Ask for compliance at increasingly longdistances, with increasingly high levels of distractions.
Test your reliability with distance stays. The only way to stop a dog from releasing from a distance stay is to have a distance command. Redirection is a great tool to accomplish this, if you’re dog is practicing a down stay and they look like they’re about to break you can remind them to “Down”. Initial instruction should be tone neutral and the redirection can use a more urgent tone to tell them that they need to focus. When we start working on distance control just remember that every time you take a step away from your dog it becomes a new behavior and your reliability is probably going to decrease. But with a few repetitions you can get the reliability back, and then take another step away and repeat.
In a Stay Proofing class your job as a trainer is to distract the dogs and entice them into breaking their stays. It’s a lot of fun and you can get really creative here. Use treats, balls, toys and loud noises but do so in small increments and slowly increase intensity. You can also use the other dogs in the class as distractions, perhaps letting one dog roam freely while the others are maintaining a Stay. If you have them in your class, the best distraction is likely to be children, so try and incorporate them in your Stay Proofing.
In a Heeling class you can use All or None Reward Training or Lure Reward Training to get a heel behavior. First you must teach the dog the rules of heeling. Teach walking off leash first and then heeling on leash second. It is important for the dog to learn the heel position before you even begin to move. Position is very important because it changes context and comprehension levels and response reliability drops if the dog is out of position. If your dog leaves the heeling position the first thing you need to do is get them back into the correct position.
Most dogs are terrible on leash because when the leash is tight they no longer have to pay attention to you. If you keep walking with a tight leash your dog will never pay attention to you. Walking is a reward, so why would you want to reward the bad behavior of pulling on leash? If you stop walking, how long will it take for your dog to look at you? Time it. Then stop often and wait for your dog to acknowledge you. During a walk stop frequently and use that opportunity to get your dogs attention and reward them by continuing the walk.
You first must make sure it is a safe environment with safe dogs. What is causing the problem? Assessing the severity of each dog’s aggression problem is very important. Get a full history in detail. If there is danger because the dog doesn’t have bite inhibition then he is not welcome in class. Dogs in growl class are dogs that have been in numerous fights but have not sent another dog to the vet. Objectively assess the situation and look at their fight/bite ratio.
Classical conditioning and All or None Reward Training are the only techniques you should use. A loose leash and muzzle is a must. Time is your friend and patience is key. Don't rush a growl class. Move people around in class so the dogs find themselves in different settings around different dogs. Classically condition first to get dogs comfortable with the situation, then start All or None Reward Training to shape good behavior. A Growl class can be a bit of a roller coaster, starting with a lot of excitement and energy, but eventually the dogs will settle down and gain a very positive experience.
Then take the leashes off and explain the safety and allow the dogs to work things out on their own. Stop fights when they happen because they will happen. If it happens more then once take one of the dogs out for a couple of minutes then let it back in and take the other dog out for a couple of minutes, allowing each to get a chance to socialize with the other dogs. If one dog changes behavior then all the dogs change behavior. Praise good behavior and good interactions A LOT. Don't take good behavior for granted.
Make sure that you discuss bite inhibition at this time and explain that it is OK to bite. The more the puppy bites as a puppy the safer he will be as an adult. Don't stop frequency before decreasing force. Mouthing is essential but only on hands and never on clothing, which is not able to feel the amount of force and give the appropriate feedback. Explain to your clients the importance of beginning a socialization schedule right away. Their puppy needs to meet lot's of people before they even take a puppy class.
Now the puppy is ready for class. Owners will never forget puppy class and as the trainer you have to be great and have fun and smile. Make sure your clients are having fun. You have to be a good leader and it has to be a jolly place. Tell every dog you love them. Always greet people when they come in and hug them on the way out. Talk to all the puppies and get the puppies off leash the whole time.
Make sure you are looking at all the puppies in your puppy class and looking for erly signs of propnlems so that you can address them before they start. Prevention is key. If you can nip a problem in the bud you should pat yourself on the back, because you just saved a puppy and increased their quality of life.
The most common problem in a puppy class is to have a bully and a fearful dog. Fearfulness and bullying must be addressed immediately. Both situations can be devastating for that dog’s long-term quality of life, unless you deal with it now.
Fearful dogs are suffering unnecessarily. It’s as if they were in a metal box covered with snakes and spiders and rats, suspended to 300 ft in the air, naked in the dark and they have to give a public speeches everyday of their lives. Don’t let another day go by where they are left to live with anxiety.
Bullies are usually just over the top players and need to know how to act appropriately with other dogs. If they don’t learn these skills they’re going to get to go on fewer walks and enjoy less time off-leash, because their owners will be worried about them hurting another dog. When talking to the bully puppy give lots of praise and reprimand over the top behavior. Be insistent. Don't give up your instruction with a bully puppy. If that doesn’t work bring him into your Puppy 2 class and the bully will then be bullied by safe and reliable older dogs. This can have and immediate and profound effect on temperament.
Everyone is biased against reactive dogs, but reactivity can be a good thing because it’s the only way to learn about a dog’s bite inhibition. Why do puppies have needle sharp teeth? To learn bite inhibition. When a puppy bites it hurts, giving you a chance to communicate that they used too much pressure. If a puppy never mouths then they don’t learn bite inhibition and they become potentially more dangerous in the future. Similarly until you’ve seen a dog react you don’t know what their bite inhibition is like. If a dog has bitten on multiple occasions but never caused real damage, you can be fairly confident that they have solid bite inhibition, and while you have a problem that needs to be addressed, it is a manageable problem that is not very dangerous. If you have a dog that has never bitten, you don’t know how much damage they will do if they ever do bite, so you have an unknown level of danger.
In a puppy class, keep everyone active and training the whole time. Everything you say is an instruction on what to do next. Don't lecture and leave demonstrating to a minimum. People should do the training themselves. If people can't train in your class they can't train at home. Make sure they do it correctly in front of you. They should be handling their own dogs and all the other dogs the whole time.
Quantify your progress. Several years ago an exam was created to test if puppy classes worked. Test week one and week six, it is that easy. Plot the progress and you will see that puppy classes work. Then plot the changes in each behavior and the response reliability between hand signals and verbal commands.
There is no research in dog training as to what are the quickest ways to train a behavior. We need a base for behaviors on how long it takes to accomplish a behavior and have reliability. A study you can do is time and trials to criteria. Count trials or repetitions before the dog completes a behavior after the initial command. Then how long does it take to get their response reliability up to a criteria. Be sure to explain your techniques.
Solicit owner evaluations for your classes and always work to improve your classes. Find ways to make training more fun, quicker and easier. Pay attention to your evaluations. These evaluations are usually based on whether or not they like you. You want to be loved by your clients so they keep bringing their dogs to you and recommending you to their friends, and you want your classes to produce huge increases in response reliability, so your clients have control over their dogs and enjoy a high quality of life together.
In your notes you have a list of some very important things to address in class. Bite inhibition, socialization, household etiquette, being home alone, sitting, settling and bullying are all great things to tackle. Make sure they are off leash the whole time. Play lots of games and give out prizes or ribbons. Discuss the Emergency Sit and how to get reliable Downs. The highway recall is a good exercise. And make sure there’s plenty of time for handling, gentling and desensitization.
Walking on trails is very similar. Train your dog to follow you on trails by using lots of games and exercises. Change direction often, play hide and seek if they get too far ahead. These games teach them to pay attention to where you are.
Open field follow is very difficult. The key is to walk away from the dog no matter what, and never follow them. Change direction constantly. Don't accommodate for your dog. Do this correctly and you’ll see an bungee cord effect, where as you move away from your dog, they snap back towards you. Practice this often and you’ll and up with a dog that is always paying attention to you and ready to follow your every (unpredictable) move.
A great and fun way to desensitize the puppies for anything in life is to have your students bring in costumes and dress up. Tell them to act silly or wear masks. If you have a wheelchair bring that in or blow up some balloons. Anything a dog might encounter in life, bring it to class. Now they wont fear it later in adulthood because they saw it in puppyhood. Then these dogs are ready to face the world and all its scary things.
In more advanced puppy classes start teaching them vocabulary. Teach Go To behaviors and names for things to go to. Teach them what things are and what they mean. Teach them names of people. 'Fetch' is another great game to teach your dog to build their vocabulary, asking them to fetch specific items. These are all great ways to exercise your dog on a rainy day.