With decades of experience and solid science behind us, we know positive reinforcement training works and makes learning enjoyable. The system is greater than the sum of its parts…and, incidentally, demonstrates how your dog ends up wanting to cooperate when a treat otherwise wouldn’t be “enough pay” for the task. This class is packed with practical applications and you’ll see how this system can work for your dog, too!

What exactly do we work on in class? The list is actually quite long, but, here are a few things to give you an idea.

  • Hide & Seek at various levels teaches your dog to be brave…This is an important step along your training journey. At InJoy, we want you and your dog to learn how to bounce back from tiny little challenges and get more confident and sure. The world is a big place and, with practice, it’s possible to create a dog that looks forward to new encounters (rather than fretting and fearing the worst).
  • “Follow the Rain” is a concentration game that’ll help you get past
    “competing motivators” (that’s trainer speak for distractions), builds attention and focus with the bonus of building joyful heelwork!
  • “Jump on it!” taught through shaping sets the stage for teaching your dog to get on equipment (agility, platforms, etc), makes dogs want to stay, teaches stationing, and we’ve rolled in sophisticated training components like distance work, sending your dog away, a default down and duration, too. That’s a lot of variables!
  • We also work on listening games. Teaching your dog to actually listen, not guess/predict, not just read your body language, but to actually pay attention to which word you spoke (and respond accordingly) is another major facet of our program. This skill helps your dog come when called, and, in some of the games, your dog will simultaneously work on self-control (which complements listening SO well).

We also want to mention cooperative care. Training your dog to voluntarily work with you, and also your vet/groomer/etc, is really important to your dog’s quality of life. If you’re going to invest some training time with your dog, wouldn’t it be great if you taught your dog how to move around upon request (rather than pushing, holding, forcing), hold still (which every vet would LOVE for your dog to be able to do) and tell you when she’s relaxed and comfortable? Some of the tricks in “Where to Start” work on exactly that, coming at it also with a couple of tricks that are super cute, to boot.

There’s more to training than winding your dog up, racing around (after a ball or around an agility course) and playing (all of which we do love to do). Balance is important and this class gives you and your dog select experiences, negotiating the line between fun and calm. You need to build that “muscle” that allows your dog to transition from excitement to calm and back and forth again. Your dog’s mental health is at stake here, and you need tools to be able to shift between states purposefully.

Last, but not least, we examine play. In Joy supports “The Play Way”, a style of rehab that helps dogs deal with issues. There’s more to playing with your dog than you’d ever believe, believe me!

Time is precious. There’s no time to waste training pointless components of lame exercises. In Joy’s starter class is loaded with GAMES that teach you some of the most important stuff we know you need to know (that you might not even know about (yet;)). It’s the class long-time dog trainers wish they had in the beginning….who incidentally seek out and attend because the value is enormous. Utilizing positive reinforcement strategies well creates a vibe that is totally different than with other methods. It’s a joy AND your dog ends up with a “work ethic” of sorts, where your dog will seek you out for more. This class is a prerequisite for our Freestyle, Rally-FrEe, Tricks, or K9 P.E. (K9 P.E. is our 2nd pre-req for agility).