Group Classes FAQ

Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions about training in group classes at All Dawgs.

1. When should I start training my dog?

You can start training your dog as early as 8 weeks of age, once they have received their first series of vaccinations. If you adopt an older dog, you can start training any time. Training is a great way to build a relationship and establish leadership in your dog.


2. My puppy hasn’t received all his vaccinations. When can he come to class?

We allow puppies into class after they have received this first series vaccinations. The puppy socialization window begins to close when the puppy turns 20 weeks of age. Puppies will not be finished with their vaccinations until about 16 weeks. If you wait until the puppy receives all of their vaccinations, you have very little time to do socialization.  Also, more dogs are euthanized each year in the United States due to behavioral issues, not disease. Socialization is VITAL for all puppies. They need to see about 100 dogs as well as lots of new positive experiences and lots of people to be well socialized. We must socialize SMARTLY. Puppies in our Puppy Dawgs class only socialize with other puppies who have approximately the same immunity levels. They are not allowed to socialize with other dogs in the building. Our trainers take their own puppies through our Puppy Dawgs class for this reason.

3. My instructor said I needed perfect attendance for Puppy Dawgs for the STAR Puppy. What happens if I miss a class? Can I move to the next class?

YES! The STAR Puppy certification is something special we offer as the class is taught by a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator. By AKC regulations, we can only give the certification to puppies who have perfect attendance. However, dogs that miss class(es) can still enroll in All Dawgs classes and we encourage clients to do so!

4. I can’t make class tonight. What are my options?

The staff at All Dawgs hopes all our students can always attend classes. However, we realize that may not always be the case. If your dog is enrolled in a class that is offered multiple times a week and if the other class is not full, we’d be happy for you and your dog to attend that class that week. However, you must alert our office staff so our trainers know you will be present.

Clients enrolled in Puppy Dawgs and Apprentice Dawgs class may attend any orientation as no dogs come the first night. A Puppy Dawgs client may also attend any Apprentice Dawgs orientation as well. Puppy Dawgs class requires perfect attendance for the dog to be awarded the STAR Puppy certification.

Reactive Rover has a MANDATORY orientation as there is very important information (how to enter the building, equipment, etc). For safety reasons, these students who miss the orientation must pay $25 for a one-on-one orientation that is approximately 30 minutes to be scheduled before they are allowed in the building.

If none of the above options work, we will be happy to email you the homework given out so you can keep up with class and we hope to see you the following week.

5. Why does All Dawgs recommend training with treats? Do I HAVE to use them?

We teach with positive reinforcement. That means we want to praise and reward the dog when he does something right. This is how a dog earns his paycheck.  Food rewards are quick and easy for both the human and the dog, however, we do not require the use of treats. Clients who choose not to use a food reward are required to find something to reward the dog, such as a toy. The toy must be interactive, such as a tug toy, so it doesn’t disturb the rest of the class.

We work in our Apprentice Dawgs and Master Dawgs classes to wean dogs off treats properly. When dogs are weaned off treats properly, you have a strong behavior with high compliance but the dog never misses the treats when they disappear.

6. What kind of treats does All Dawgs recommend? What if my dog has a food allergy?

All treats are not created equally. We recommend treats that are soft and small (no bigger than a dime for a golden retriever-sized dog.) We do NOT want the dog to have to chew it (because he will forget what it was that earned him the treat in the first place.

Below is our “Treat Triangle.” We recommend a Level 3 treat for classes.

7. Does All Dawgs use clicker training?

Clicker training is a style of positive reinforcement training. In our obedience classes, we use another form of clicker training. Instead of a “click,” we teach our students the word “YES!” It is the same concept of clicker training, but we do not have to worry about not having the clicker handy! If a student would like to use a clicker in class, they may. We require the use clicker training in our Reactive Rover, as we are we are working on aggression issues and want to make sure the dog understand the exact moment he did something we like!

8. What other equipment does All Dawgs recommend for classes?

We always recommend starting with:

  • A buckle collar that secures like a belt
  • Martingale collars for any type of sight hound or dogs that are notorious for backing out of collars
  • Prong collars for dog who already pull on leash
  • A four-to-six foot leash. We do not recommend retractable leashes

9. Will All Dawgs guarantee the training?

No trainer can guarantee their training. We only guarantee that we deliver the information/training purchased. The success of the training depends on how well the client listens and practices the techniques we recommend.