Loose lead walking is one thing that EVERYONE wants to master - but it can be one of the hardest things to teach a dog when the big wide world is SO exciting! This short course of three sessions in seven days - Wednesday, Friday, Monday at 6.30pm each evening - will teach you how to achieve the enviable dog that trots along beside you, and how to manage the behaviour while you are training.
The class is outside, so bring your coat. We will only cancel if it is really bad weather - not just a little rain.
The class is limited to two people and the course of three sessions is £30+VAT (£36). To book yourself onto the next available one call us on 01935 507490.
We have found that traditional training classes, where people sign up in advance for a six or eight week course, does not work out for everybody. Life gets in the way! And people miss a class or maybe two then struggle to catch up. We have therefore put our thinking caps on and have come up with a different system of training.
Totally Canine Flexi-Levels is a system of dog training which fits around your lifestyle, allowing you to work at your own pace, and at the times which suit you.
Instead of signing up to a fixed course, you buy a number of training sessions in the form of tickets. We publish a timetable of when classes are on, and you come to class as and when it suits you, using up one ticket each time. That way you get the number of classes you have paid for, even if you need to take a break for a week or two.
All of the trainers have put their heads together and come up with a list of what we would like to see the "perfect pet dog" able to do at the end of the classes. We have then broken all of those behaviours down into stages, and divided them into ten Levels, with gradually increasing skills.
All handlers start with an Induction session, which is run without dogs. This is to answer questions, make sure everyone is clear, and teach you how you are going to teach your dog, covering rewards, timing and delivery, how dogs learn etc. The Induction session is free, and runs once a month, on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm, and must be booked in advance - this is the only session which is at a fixed time and date and must be booked.
Handlers and dogs then attend at Level One. As soon as the instructor is confident that you and your dog have achieved all of the exercises in that level, you will move to Level Two, and so on. We try to run two or three classes at each level every week, so hopefully everyone can make at least one of them. You can attend any class at your level or an earlier one – so you could come several times a week if you wish. Most importantly, you are able to progress at your own level, rather than having to match the speed of the rest of the class. The timetable is changed around every few weeks, so if you really can't make any of the classes at the moment, watch the calendar each week and you should be able to make one soon.
How do I buy tickets?
You can buy tickets in the shop, paying by card or cash. You can also buy them over the website using Paypal and collect them in the shop when you attend the first time.
I have already done some training, can I start at a higher level?
No, everyone needs to start with the Induction and then go through the Levels. You may find that you pass one every session to start with. But you may also find that some of what we consider foundation behaviours has been missed off your training schedule so far.
How many tickets can I buy?
The training vouchers are sold in batches of five, ten, fifteen or twenty, with discounts for buying more.
But how many tickets will I need to complete the training I want to do?
We can't predict that. People and dogs learn at different rates, some are able to practice more than others, some behaviours take longer to learn and perfect than others. On average we expect people to get through Level One in about one to two sessions and Levels Two to Four in a further two to three sessions per level. But everyone's different!
What are you going to teach at each Level?
I don't want to do some of the things on your list – can I opt out?
You can drop out of the Levels as soon as you have done as much as you want to do. But we have agreed the list of behaviours at each Level to aim for a well-rounded, happy and trained dog with a skilled and informed handler, so all the behaviours at each Level are required to pass to the next one. The only exceptions will be if a particular behaviour is not advisable for you or your dog due to health or safety reasons.
I want to do the Kennel Club Good Citizens Scheme Assessments – how do they fit in with your Levels?
We have taught the Good Citizens for some years on a voluntary basis on behalf of Yeovil and District Canine Society and we wish to continue to do so. However we have found a significant number of people finding it very difficult without a strong foundation of basic behaviours.
The two schemes should marry very well. We are offering an option to "step sideways" out of the Flexi-Levels scheme after Level Four into the Kennel Club Bronze Award. A small extra fee will be payable to Yeovil DCS for extra classes to polish behaviours required in the test, and the Assessment. You can then step back, as it were, into the Totally Canine scheme at Level Five after passing your Bronze Award, or work through both systems at the same time. The same option will be available for the KC Silver Award after Flexi-Level Seven, and the Gold Award after Flexi-Level Nine.
What happens if I don't pass the Good Citizens Award assessment?
We hope you will! We never aim to set people up to fail and will advise you if we don't think it is a good time for you to try the assessment. However, if it does happen, don't worry! You can stay in Good Citizens and try again, or step back into the Flexi-Levels without.
Who is going to teach these Levels?
Gill and Zoe will be joined by Lindsey Poole, Penny Knight and Babs Hellier as instructors. We have regular meetings together to ensure that we are all teaching in the same way, and to the same standard. We aim not to confuse you with different styles and methods! However we do all have different strengths and preferences as does everyone. Look here for further information about the trainers, and information about how we train.