Frequently Asked Questions
What training option is best for me?
Elite Sport Dog offers a variety of training options to choose from, including group classes, private training sessions, and board and train options. The specific type of training that is right for you depends on a number of factors including your goals for the dog, the severity of any behaviour problems you are dealing with, how much time you have before you need to see results, and your budget.
Group Classes: Group classes are excellent for owners of dogs with no major behaviour issues that want a mostly self directed training experience with some guidance in a controlled environment. Group classes are a great way to learn general good practices when training dogs and are a great way to learn obedience skills and then perfect those skills in a highly distracting environment. Group classes are typically not the best choice for dogs with a specific behaviour problem, particularly if that behaviour problems is affecting the owners ability to live peacefully with the dog. Group classes also provide a great way for owners to get out of the house and socialize with other like minded dog dog owners. In a group class the trainer's attention is split among up to 10 students at one time, which makes it impossible for the trainer to give you and your dog the attention you really need to address a specific behaviour concern. Dogs that present a safety risk to themselves or others are not suitable for group classes, at least not at first.
Private Consultations: Private Consultations are great for all dogs ranging from putting a good start on an 8 week old puppy to aggression issues in an older dog. In a private consultation the trainer is focused exclusively on you and your dog for the entire training session, which allows us to provide you with FAR better advice than what is possible in a group class setting. Private consultations allow your trainer more time to give you more in depth explanations of your dog's behaviour, while also allowing us to get to know your dog better than what is possible in a group class, and the better we get to know your dog, the more we can do to help you and your dog. Many of our most successful students are doing a mix of both private consults and group classes.
Board and Train: Our board and train program allows us to get to know your dog extremely well which gives us a more complete picture of your dog's behaviour as well as allowing us to produce results far more quickly than what is possible through other training programs. Board and train dogs are fully immersed into the home and daily life of Elite Sport Dogs owner Angie Barron, and is strictly limited to two dogs and one time to maintain the quality of the program. The board and train program is by far the most effective of all our available programs and is suitable for most dogs ranging from puppies to the most severe behaviour issues.
Do you offer puppy classes?
At Elite Sport Dogs, we incorporate puppies into our regular group classes instead of running puppy specific classes. We do this because over the years we have found that training a puppy among more advanced dogs creates a far more productive training environment and significantly better socialization experiences for the puppy than trying to train puppies in a room full of puppies. While the other dogs in the class will be at a far more advanced training level than you and your puppy, we will provide you with instruction that is at your puppies training level and show you how to use those better trained dogs to your advantage when training a puppy. The more advanced dogs also benefit from training around the distractions that young puppies are so good at creating!
How old does my puppy need to be to start training?
We do not have minimum or maximum age restrictions on our classes or private training programs. In general, the earlier you start training the better and private training is always an option for dogs of any age, but there are factors that every puppy owner should consider before bringing their puppy to a group class environment. Puppy owners are often advised to keep their puppy isolated from other dogs and public environments until the puppy is fully vaccinated for parvo at 16 weeks of age. Between 8 to 16 weeks of age is also what’s referred to as a critical development period. During the critical development period the puppy’s brain is particularly receptive to new information, and the neural pathways that are formed during this time stick with the puppy for the rest of their lives. A puppy's experiences during this time have an absolutely massive impact on their future behaviour as adults. While keeping a puppy isolated will prevent them from potentially being exposed to parvovirus prior to being fully vaccinated, it will leave major gaps in the puppy’s social development. It is the opinion of Elite Sport Dogs that the risks associated with a lack of socialization during critical development periods far outweigh the risk of a puppy catching parvo when reasonable precautions are taken. With that said, we advise our clients to carefully consider all the facts and make an informed decision for themselves when determining the right time to bring a puppy to group classes. Should you decide to keep your puppy isolated from 8 - 16 weeks to protect from the risk of parvo, we strongly encourage you to contact us to arrange for private training as early as possible during the isolation period to help minimize the negative effects on their psychological development.
We will accept puppies prior to 8 weeks old for training in certain circumstances. Puppies should never be weaned prior to 8 weeks of age and you should be extremely suspicious of anyone that will allow you to take a puppy home prior to 8 weeks, but we also recognize that on occasion there are circumstances where it does happen, in which case you should absolutely consult a professional trainer sooner rather than later as puppies weaned prior to 8 weeks are especially susceptible to a vast array of serious future behaviour problems that should not be taken lightly.
Does my puppy/dog need to be vaccinated?
We require all dogs attending group classes to be age appropriately vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of your veterinarian. Generally speaking, healthy adult dogs should have a rabies vaccine as well as a DA2PP, DAPP or DHPP vaccine. The DA2PP/DAPP/DHPP vaccine is a 5 way vaccine that protects your dog from canine distemper virus (D), two types of adenovirus commonly known as hepatitis and kennel cough (A, A2, or H), parainfluenza (P), and parvovirus (P). Copies of current vaccine or titer test documents can be uploaded by logging into your account and visiting the my account tab in the members area.
Does my dog need to be spayed or neutered?
Absolutely not! We welcome both male and female dogs of any age that are intact for both private training and group classes. Females in heat are both allowed and encouraged to attend class, but please advise us at least one hour prior to class or 6 hours prior to a private appointment.
What is the best age to start training
The best age to start training your puppy is as soon as you bring them home! The training that happens between 2 - 4 months of age may not look at all like what most people think dog training should look like, but what we do during this period has a massive influence on what our puppies become as adults.
What training method do you use?
At Elite Sport Dogs we do not adhere to any one particular training method. Dogs are much more complex than we often give them credit for, and each individual dog has their own unique way of perceiving their world and processing information which is largely influenced by their past life experiences as well as their genetics. Even dogs from the same litter can require drastically different training approaches, even if the training goal for each dog is exactly the same. The factors that need to be considered when determining the best way to train a particular dog doesn’t stop at the dogs either, every owner has their own unique lifestyle and expectations of their individual dog. There are just too many moving parts involved in dog training for one particular method to be effective in all situations which is why we are well versed in both the theory and practical application of a wide variety of different training methodologies. If you are interested in more detailed information about our training please visit the training tips page or simply contact us and arrange to come watch some classes so you can see for yourself!