Frequently Asked Questions
Will training my puppy with treats mean that I always have to use treats when asking my dog to do something?
Absolutely not! The goal with motivational training is to use what is reinforcing to your dog (treats, toys, etc.) to build a strong foundation in your relationship together. Once each behavior is learned and has a strong foundation, we quickly start asking for the behaviors without a reinforcement every time. Our training goal is always to teach your dog how to respond to your cues without a treat in your hand, by creating strongly-reinforced, learned behaviors at the beginning of the process. Each reinforcement (such as a treat) that we use at the beginning of the training process is like a coin deposited into a piggy bank that we can cash in later.
How do I know whether a private lesson or a group class would be best for my dog?
This depends on a combination of your training goals with your dog, whether the group class you are interested in is appropriate for your dog’s skill level, and your individual learning style and preference. These training services are also not mutually exclusive! Many clients find that private lessons compliment and enhance the skills taught during group classes! If you are having a hard time determining the best path to take for you and your dog, please contact one of our trainers and we will make a recommendation based on your situation.
Can I bring my children to group class with me?
We encourage well-behaved children to attend and participate in class with their parents! This is a great way to get everyone in the family involved in building a positive relationship with the family pet. When attending with children under the age of 10, please bring a second supervising adult in order to promote a productive class environment for all students. Children may not be dropped off at class with the dog.
I don’t vaccinate my dog. Can we still come to group classes?
In order to promote the health of all the dogs attending a group class, each dog must be current on DHPP and rabies vaccines or provide titers showing immunity. In addition, we strongly recommend that your dog be current on Bordetella and Canine Influenza vaccines as well. For puppy classes, puppies under the age of 6 months must be on-schedule with their veterinarian’s puppy vaccination protocol; puppies over 6 months are expected to be fully vaccinated. If your dog isn’t vaccinated, we are happy to do private lessons with you to accommodate this!
Do you offer payment plans for training services?
We do not offer payment plans; payment is due when services are rendered. If financing is a concern, we offer a pay-per-session option where you choose how often we meet and pay at each session instead of purchasing a package of sessions up front. Group classes are also a more economical option if that will be compatible with your goals for you and your dog.
Our Positive Training Policies
These policies have been created to help every student in class have the best experience possible. Thank you for abiding by these guidelines and promoting a safe and fun place to learn for you and your classmates! If you feel like you may be an exception to one or more of these policies, please contact us prior to attending your first class so that we can work out a suitable solution.
Any dog attending a group class which, in the opinion of the training instructor, is unsuitable for the group class environment (either because it does not have the necessary foundation skills for the group class or because it is being uncontrollable, unpredictable, or aggressive) will be transferred from the group class and referred to a more suitable group class or for private instruction. The balance of the group class tuition (less the prorated cost of lessons already attended) will be applied towards the tuition of the alternate service.
Private Lessons: If you must cancel or reschedule your private training session, please give us a minimum of 48 hours notice so that we can offer your session time to other clients who are waiting to schedule with us. There is no charge for cancellations and reschedules made more than 48 hours in advance. Cancellations or reschedules made within 48 hours of your session time will be charged to your package (or credit card on file) as a full session. For Initial Consults with new clients, we require a $25 non-refundable deposit to hold your spot on our calendar.
Group Classes: If you must cancel or reschedule your group class enrollment, please give us a minimum of 7 days notice prior to the start date of your class so that we can offer your spot to other clients who are waiting to schedule with us. There is no charge for cancellations and reschedules made more than 7 days in advance.
There are no refunds (or class credit) given for cancellations made within 7 days of the start of your class UNLESS there is a waiting list for the class and we are able to fill your spot with another student.
There are no refunds (or class credit) given for cancellations made after the class has started. If, after the class has started, your class instructor feels that a different service would be more suitable to what you and your dog need, the prorated balance of your tuition may be applied to the tuition of that different service. Tuition transfers are granted at the instructor's discretion only. Personal decisions not to continue to attend a class will not be awarded a credit for another service.
There are no refunds for portions of group classes that are missed due to personal scheduling conflicts or not attended for other reasons. All private lesson package sales are final - no refunds can be given for sessions left unused or expired.
Make-Up Options for Missed Classes
Option 1: Read the homework handout for the week you’ll be missing, watch the videos, and follow along at home! Feel free to email your instructor with any questions that you have! Our homework handouts are all very detailed and are a great resource for staying on track if you have to miss a class!
Option 2: Come to one week of our next class of the same type to make-up the practice time. You are responsible for checking our calendar and finding a class to attend, and emailing that class instructor to see if there is room for you to drop in for a practice. This is a great option to combine with Option 1! Tuition for this service is $15/drop-in makeup.
Option 3: If you would like some hands-on help with the class material for the week that you have to miss, you can schedule a Group Class Makeup Lesson with our Associate Trainer. This is a 30 minute private lesson specifically to go over the class material that you missed. Tuition for this service is $25.
Dogs in Heat
No refunds can be given for dogs that come into heat within the 72 hours prior to the start of class or after the class has already started. Students that are unable to attend class for this reason (we ask that dogs remain absent from class from first sign of heat cycle until 10-14 days from last sign of blood in the heat cycle) may transfer into the next class section of the same class, provided that there is available space.
If a class is cancelled due to inclement weather, that decision will be made (and students notified via email) no later than 2 hours prior to the scheduled class start time, unless the students have been previously notified to be on "stand-by" for a last minute decision. In the case of a canceled class, SDT will either 1) Offer a specific makeup class at a time convenient to at least half of the affected students OR 2) Offer affected students a voucher for a free drop-in session in a future class of the same type as the one they are enrolled in.
Children are welcome to attend group classes and private training sessions under the supervision of an adult. For children under the age of 10, a second, non-participating adult must be present with the children while on the premises. Children under the age of 17 may not, under any circumstances, be dropped off with the dog to participate in class in the absence of a parent or guardian.
In order to attend group classes or private lessons at our facility, your dog must be current on vaccinations according to your veterinarian’s recommendations. Rabies and DHPP (or titers showing immunity) are required, and we strongly recommend that your dog also be current on Bordetella and Canine Influenza vaccinations.
Leashes & Clean Up
Dogs should be leashed when entering and exiting the training facility, and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their own dog while on the premises, including the parking lot and gravel and grass potty areas.
No choke collars, prong collars, electric collars or other pain-inflicting training tools are to be used while on the training facility premises, including in the parking lot. No exceptions.