What is the language of instruction?
All instruction is given in English. Some, but not all, instructors are bilingual and can answer your questions in French. You may speak to your dog in whatever language you choose! All our instructors know the appropriate French words of command, and can guide you as necessary.
Who can come to class?
All members of your family are welcome in class. Only one person should be working with the dog at any given moment, but you may switch from one handler to another whenever you choose.
Children under the age of 8 are welcome to attend and participate to the extent of their abilities. However, children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by a non-participating adult at all times i.e. an adult must be responsible for the dog, and another adult must be present and responsible for the child. Parents must instruct young children, before coming to class, that they may not run around nor should they approach other dogs. Not all dogs are comfortable with small children.
Is there homework?
Yes, there is homework! Owners should expect to train their dog daily, for 20-45 minutes.
I’m going to miss a class. What can I do to make this up?
Designate a substitute handler from your family. Please ensure this handler is up to speed on all exercises. It will not be possible for the instructor to review previous exercises for the substitute during class.
Ask your instructor if an alternate class is available. We will do our best to find an equivalent class at another time but cannot guarantee one will be available.
Ask the instructor for the homework for the class that you will miss, so that you can work ahead at home.
My dog is going to be spayed/neutered during the course. Can I make up this class?
Regrettably, no. It is unfortunate that dogs need training and neutering at roughly the same age. However, dogs often recover quickly from these surgeries. If your class is on Monday evenings, try to schedule surgery for Tuesday morning. There is an excellent chance that your dog will be recovered and able to participate in the next class.
If not, we encourage handlers to attend without their dog, and observe the lesson. Exercises can still be practiced at home, within days of surgery.
What vaccinations must my dog have?
Dogs enrolled in Puppy Kindergarten must have received a minimum of 2 booster vaccines for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza (DHPP).
For all other classes, dogs must be current vaccinated for DHPP and Rabies.
Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccines are recommended, but not mandatory.
Vaccination certificates must be presented at the first class. Dog tags are not sufficient, as tags may be changed from one collar to another.
What kind of leash and collar will I need?
We prefer to work the dogs on flat buckle collars, or head halters. However, anti-pull harnesses, Martingales, chokers and prong collars are also acceptable. Retractable leashes (i.e. Flexi-leads) are not suited for training. Please use a 6′ long leather or nylon leash instead.
My dog is in heat. Can I still attend class?
Absolutely. Though your dog will be a distraction to some of your classmates, other dogs need to learn that they must still be responsive to their owners, even in the face of distraction! We do require that dogs in heat wear protective shorts while in class.
Do you ever cancel classes due to weather?
Yes. If there is a snowstorm, if it is dangerous to drive, if it is raining heavily (outdoor agility classes), we may cancel classes. If this is the case, we will call and notify you of the cancellation. We will also leave a message to this effect on our answering machine, so that you can call us and check for yourself if you are unsure. A make-up class will be scheduled. Usually, an extra week is simply added on at the end of the course.
I’m interested in a particular course, but your website doesn’t state when the next course will start.
Some courses are scheduled only when we know we have enough interest to justify running it. We maintain interest lists at all times, for all our classes. By adding your name to our interest list, you increase the likelihood that we will run it. Simply call, or send us an e-mail, and tell us that you’d like to be added to the interest list for a particular course. This is not a commitment on your part. It simply guarantees you first dibs at registering, as we will contact you directly and offer you a slot whenever we next run that course.
How can I stay up to date on all the news at Best Friends?
Best Friends is on Facebook! Become a fan of our page! We regularly post news about students’ successes, upcoming events at Best Friends and pictures of classes and activities.