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CLASS POLICIES and PROCEDURES

COVID-19/Pandemic Specific:
We follow and abide by the most recent recommendations and/or requirements mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Illinois regarding precautions to avoid the transmission of COVID-19. 


Training Treats/Rewards:
We use +R (positive reinforcement) methods to train dogs. This means your dog will be rewarded for doing what we ask them to do. Science has proven that dogs who are rewarded for desirable behaviors will repeat them with greater and greater frequency than if they are punished for unwanted behaviors. 


Your dog is going to learn lots of new behaviors in class, so you will want to bring lots of rewards (treats) with you. When choosing treats for class, we encourage you to follow the SSS rule: small, soft, and stinky. Keep in mind that you will need a treat that is yummy enough to keep your dog’s attention on you and away from all the other fun pups in class.


Generally speaking, we never encourage the use of anything labeled “training treats” since they never seem to work in the high distraction atmosphere of class. For the same reason, we don’t encourage the use of kibble either. We find meats (chicken breast, hot dogs, turkey bacon, roast beef, etc.) and cheeses (especially string cheese) work really well for a lot of dogs. Also, brands like Stella and Chewy’s and Vital Essentials are great. Your treats should be very small; about the size of a pinky finger nail.


Doggie Gear:
Your dogs should wear a collar or harness to class. We encourage you to use a quick release martingale collar but a flat buckle collar will work as long as your dog cannot pull out of it. No pinch, prong, choke, chain, or training collars, please.

 

You dog must be on a leash appropriate for her size. If your dog is quite tall, a two foot leash might be the best option. If your dog is shorter, then a four foot leash is the way to go. Rarely do any dogs require anything longer than a four foot leash. Absolutely no flexi-leashes are allowed in class.

Human Gear:
Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes and non-slip shoes. Flip-flops and dog training don’t mix; they can actually be quite dangerous. So, no flip-flops in class, please.

 

Vaccinations:
Generally, all puppies and dogs should be vaccinated in accordance with State of Illinois laws and following the advice of your veterinarian.
 
Specifically, puppies must have proof of having completed at least their first round of Parvo and Distemper vaccinations before beginning class. Dogs over four months of age must provide us with proof of Rabies, Parvo, and Distemper vaccinations. You may submit copies of vaccination records electronically prior to the start of class or you are welcome to bring hard copies to the first class session. However, puppies and dogs cannot begin class until we have copies of those records. We also accept titers as proof of immunity in lieu of those vaccinations.


Dog Reactive Dogs:
We understand dog reactivity and encourage dogs with issues to work on them in class. However, we must know about it in advance so we can create the best possible learning environment for your dog. 


Human Reactive Dogs:
Please talk with us about scheduling private sessions if your dog is reactive to humans as we cannot allow them in group classes for the safety of your dog as well as the other members of the class.

 

Make-up Classes:
While it does not happen often, if we have to cancel a class, we will make it up by extending the class session an extra week.

 

We understand that life can get in the way sometimes and if you are unable to attend a class, we will be happy to meet you shortly before the next class begins or stay after that class to get you caught up on what you missed. We do not offer individual make-up classes.


Inclement Weather:
Weather-related closures will be announced on our Facebook page Spot on Dogs Illinois.

Saturday and Sunday classes:
We are very active in dog sports and sometimes will have trials to attend on Saturdays and Sundays. All of our classes are six weeks long but you might notice that some weekend classes are scheduled over a period of seven weeks. That’s because we might have to miss a day to attend a trial. Of course, we will let you know that when you sign up for the class.

 

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