All of the information provided in this FAQ is given on the relevant page of this website. However, I get asked a lot of questions via email, message and on the phone each week so have put this together to cover the common questions and answers
Your puppy is now too old to join the Puppy School course. This course is specifically tailored for young puppies and there are no exceptions to the age limit.
If your puppy has completed Puppy School course you can book onto Puppy College or any of the graduate courses (providing your puppy does not have fear/anxiety/reactivity/aggression in a group situation)
For puppies that have not completed the Puppy School course I only offer one-to-one training.
It's fine! In an ideal world you and your puppy would be there for all of the classes, but life happens.
If you have prior commitments and are unable to re-arrange, it won't matter if you miss the odd puppy class. I will do my best to catch you up by sending you some additional information, or you may wish to book a one-to-one session (these are available at a discounted rate for my Puppy School students for this reason)
You will not be entitled to a refund for missed classes (see class T&Cs) and will not be able to join another class
When you book onto a course you'll be sent a questionnaire to fill in, this covers who will be coming to the classes. It's not a problem if a different person comes on different weeks (this is often the case due to childcare needs or work comitments). Please just note this down on the questionnaire so that I know
A few days before your course begins, you will be sent information on what to bring
You will not need any fancy equipment
For Puppy School classes you may be required to bring a brush or a towel for the handling exercises; your Puppy School manual will prompt you for this
No. Shy puppies are catered for
Please be aware that I will manage the group environment to ensure your shy puppy feels as safe as possible, and this may include visual barriers, but these can often be faded out as the course progresses
If your puppy is shy or nervous it would also be best to get additional support while your puppy is young, so that I can guide you and help your puppy gain confidence and reach their full potential. Please book a one-to-one session
Yes and no!
Puppy School classes:
I will guide you on how to read your puppies body language, and we will have some well structured "puppy interaction" sessions. We will do a few of these during the course.
I will discourage on-lead greetings before, after and during the classes because this causes no end of problems. Please trust me, I've been doing this for a long time and I don't make these rules for no reason. Your puppy's future is at the forefront of every decision I make in classes.
Puppy socialisation is not just about play, a class environment is a rich socialisation experience. Just by letting the puppies "rough & tumble" each week you're asking for problems.
Puppy College classes:
Puppies are kept separate due to their age, no playtime
I will help you to develop focus and engagement whilst in the presence of a small group of other puppies and owners. This is so that your puppy can pay attention to you, and come back to you rather than constantly trying to get to other dogs or people
Your puppy must be wearing a collar and ID tag by law
Retractable leads, choke chains, slip leads, head collars, spray or vibration collars are strictly not allowed in any of my classes
You must be attached to your puppy with a normal, short clip lead (2 metres in length is ideal). This can be attached to a collar or a well fitting harness. If your puppy pulls on the lead, a harness is a better option. Se the recommended products page for more information on harnesses
Your puppy cannot learn everything by attending a weekly puppy class
The real training happens at home. Please be prepared to offer training, appropriate socialisation and guidance for your puppy for at least 2 years. Puppies are most impressionable when young, so the effort you put in now will pay off when they are older.
Dogs benefit from training throughout their lives and even with the best start can develop behaviour problems at any age.
Puppies are not a blank canvas. Even puppies have behaviour problems. By the time your puppy comes to you at 8-10 weeks old there is already baggage; you cannot change genetics, early handling, socialisation and experiences that happened with the breeder before bringing your puppy home
Please don't expect to raise a 'problem free' puppy just because you've got them from a puppy. I'm here to support you though, if issues to crop up. That's what my one-to-one training or behaviour support is for
If you have booked onto Puppy School or Puppy College, I will be in contact each week with information for you so that you can practise at home and help prevent or reduce problems
Although I'm here at the end of an email to answer questions, I cannot solve problems you are having at home without seeing your situation and spending the time required to give you tailored advice, this cannot happen at the end of class
The gold standard is to invest in your puppy while young as many issues can be prevented. One-to-one training is beneficial for all puppies, even if they are booked onto a course and this is why I offer them at a discounted rate
I arrange and run between 6-8 classes per week, by myself. Each week I am being contacted by people that have caught covid-19 and are unwell.
I also frequently get enquiries from people that are clinically vulnerable and are concerned about attending group training; I do not want these owners and puppies to miss out on the magic of puppy classes, I want classes to remain accessible to all
Wearing a mask in class is a small and easy thing for us all to do and it helps reduce transmission of covid-19.
It's in my terms & conditions that if you get covid-19 you will have the option to attend your class online. If I get covid-19, I will only cancel classes if I am too unwell, otherwise the class will be taught online.
By ensuring that everyone is wearing a mask, I am giving your classes the best chance of staying in-person rather than switching online. Please note that I will not delay or refund classes if we get covid-19 or have a national lockdown. This is in the T&Cs when you book
Yes! But must be over 5 years of age. Children must be supervised by an additional adult unless they are sensible enough to follow instructions and strictly must not approach any other puppies or run around the hall making lots of noise
Children get bored and can be disruptive to the class, this is unfair on the other paying owners. Young puppies can be easily frightened by children
Children that are keen will learn a lot about dogs by attending the classes, especially body language and keeping safe.
It's important for puppies to be socialised around children so with the right rules in place this can be very beneficial for all of the puppies in the group
If in doubt please give me a ring before you book and we can discuss, as not all children are the same!
If you need to teach your dog or puppy new skills such as basic toilet training, crate training, to come when called, basic 'obedience' type skills, scent work, tricks, parkour, lead handling skills, co-operative handling and other day to day skills to enhance your lives- one-to-one training is for you
If your dog or puppy has a behaviour problem such as reactive barking, anxiety, separation problems, aggression, self mutilation, repetitive behaviours such as shadow chasing, destruction, inter-dog issues, predatory issues, resource guarding, or any behaviour that is based on an emotional response, you need behaviour support. Please read here for full info on behaviour support
Puppy School classes: You will be prompted to read and agree to the T&Cs when you sign up for classes, before payment is made.
Cancelation requires at least 7 days notice for a refund minus the £2 booking fee. A refund may be given within those 7 days IF your space can be filled by someone else. There are no refunds for missed classes or once the course has begun
Puppy College classes: Same as Puppy School above. The booking process is slightly different; after reserving a space at Puppy College you will be sent the T&Cs via email to review and agree to before you pay
One-to-one training / behaviour: 3 days. After reserving a session you will be send the T&Cs to review and agree to before you pay
I am a trainer for Darwin Dogs, we help to train suitable pet dogs to help those with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
I can help you to train your dog to do some tasks without getting an organization involved, if I feel it is appropriate and if I feel I have the skillset and resources to help you. I have 10 years experience working with assistance dogs and will give you honest feedback on whether I feel your dog is suitable for public access. You would not get an official coat or ID as the access would not be ADUK accredited. Public access is not right for all dogs, in fact most pet dogs are unsuitable.
Yes! I can offer "Puppy Pre School" sessions to give advice on setting everyone up for success before your puppy even arrives