Frequently Asked Questions

 

What shot records do we need to enroll in a class?

For puppies: We need to see that they’ve had their first round of puppy shots (parvo distemper which may be abbreviated on your records as “DHPPV,” “DHPP,” “DA2PP,” or “DA2PPV”)

For adult dogs:  We require a rabies vaccine as well as parvo distemper (parvo distemper may be abbreviated on your records as “DHPPV,” “DHPP,” “DA2PP,” or “DA2PPV”).

We do not require that you give us a copy of your records. But you will need to bring them for your instructor to see at the start of each new class session (for example the first day of Puppy Class as well as the first day of Tumultuous Teens).

*Any dog which is showing signs of illness (vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, lethargy, etc) should be cleared by a veterinarian before attending any classes or socials, both for their well being as well as the health and safety of all our canine students.

 

What if I miss a class?

While there are no refunds after the start of a given class session, we do understand things come up and individual classes may be missed. We try to be as accommodating as possible in that regard. If you are going to miss a class we will do one of the following:

  •  If there is another time during the week that your same class is being taught, we will invite you to make up your class by joining the other session for a day. So for example, if you are enrolled in a Saturday puppy class but there is a Wednesday class you can hop into for one week, we are happy to let you do that. Sometimes you may not be able to hop into the same week you missed or you may have to wait a week or two until another class gets to the week you missed. For example, if you missed week 2 of your Saturday puppy class, you may actually attend your regularly scheduled week 3 and 4 before making up week 2 by stepping into a Wednesday puppy class.
  • If we cannot get you into another class, the trainer and/or their assistant will catch you up upon your return. Most of our classes have a built in “review” time at the start of each class where we warm up with the things we have already learned and often that time can serve to catch up anyone who may have missed class.
  • If your dog is undergoing surgery (castration or spay for example) and won’t be able to attend class, you may come watch your regularly scheduled session without them! This way, once they are feeling better, you will know how to proceed with their training and won’t fall behind!
  • If you will be unable to complete a session (will miss more than one or two classes) you may request a credit for another class at Heavenly Hounds. There are, however, no refunds after the start of a given class session, only credits.

*PLEASE NOTE: While we do try to allow our students to do make up classes, we cannot accommodate clients who wish to “pick and choose” classes they wish to attend. When you sign up for a course, we expect you to make every effort to attend THAT class at it’s scheduled date and time. Classes are designed to build on behaviors from week to week and for the best experience, it is in your best interest to try to clear your schedule to accommodate your chosen class. 

**What Class is Right for my dog and me?

I recently got a new puppy or am getting a new puppy soon. How can I make sure that my puppy gets off on the right foot?
There are a bunch of options available at Heavenly Hounds for new puppies. A 7-week puppy class is usually the place to start! It will answer most of your puppy related questions, teach you and your puppy the basics, and give your puppy a start in socialization.
Puppy Socials are a great way to jump start your puppy’s socialization and give your puppy the confidence he/she needs to succeed in all areas of life.  The Puppy Enrichment Program Day Training is the place to supplement your puppy’s education and socialization, and can help you work through difficult training challenges by having your puppy work one on one with a Heavenly Hounds Trainer.  Paws-Around-Princeton is a great way to practice your puppy’s skills in the real world in addition to providing valuable socialization!

My dog isn’t a puppy anymore, but I’d still like to do some training with him. What are my options?
A Basics class is open to dogs of all ages and will teach you and your dog all of the essential skills weather they are a new rescue or an older dog that simply needs a refresher course. After that your dog will be able to go on to an Intermediate Class and eventually an Advanced ClassDay Training is a great way for your dog to work one-on-one with a trainer. It is great for reinforcing existing training or working through areas where you have been struggling. Reactive Dog classes are available for dogs who have difficulty when seeing/hearing other dogs or otherwise do not do well in classes with other dogs.

I’ve taken a training class before, but there are still a few things that my dog needs to work on. What can I do to address a few specific issues?
Heavenly Hounds offers a few classes and clinics for dealing with common issues. Check out one of our many clinics listed on our General Obedience page like our Loose Leash Walking Clinic or Put a Stop to Jumping Clinic. We have several clinic tailored to common problems. Day Training can be a great way to work through a specific training issue that you’ve been struggling with as well. Your dog will get to spend time working one-on-one with a trainer so that they can develop and implement a training plan specific to your dog and their issue. If your problem areas take place primarily at home, we can also set up a private lesson to work on issues that aren’t easily replicated in a classroom.

I’m looking for something more to do with my dog beyond basic obedience. Does Heavenly Hounds offer classes besides obedience classes?
There are lots of fun things to do with your dog beyond basic obedience! Tricks class is a great way to engage your dogs brain and push them to learn new things. Additionally, it is great for improving your timing and skills as a handler. Agility Basics is appropriate for dogs of all ages (even puppies!) and experience levels. This class builds confidence as it introduces all of the essential agility equipment. This class also focuses on useful agility skills such as attention on the handler that have broader applications. Rally is a dog sport that involves a dog and handler team moving through a course consisting of various obedience challenges that they must complete before moving on to the next one. This fun sport focuses on the relationship and communication between dog and handler, and is a great way to apply your basic obedience training in new and interesting ways. Nose Work is an exciting, positive and fun new sport designed to channel dogs’ natural scenting abilities. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and a natural desire to hunt. This makes scent work the most natural thing any dog can do! This sport is based on the foundation skills used in K9 detection work training, like bomb or drug detection. Classes focus on teaching you how to encourage and develop your dog’s natural scenting abilities by using their curiosity, desire to hunt, and their love of food and toys.

 

**The best way to get specific advice and a detailed training plan tailored to you and your dog is to call us at 609-610-2037 or email us at Info@heavenlyhoundstraining.com.  To see our complete list of available classes, visit our Services we Offer page. 

 

My dog barks at other dogs anytime he/she sees them. Taking my dog for a walk is a nightmare. What are my options for training him/her? Can I even take any group classes with my reactive dog?

Private lessons are often a good place to start when working with a reactive dog. It allows the instructor to asses and observe the dog in her regular environment.

We also offer a suite of classes specifically for dog reactive dogs. These classes for reactive dogs are special classes that help you understand and work through your dogs reactivity with the help of an experienced trainer.

Can more than one person come to class?  What about my kids?

We welcome all members of the family to come to class!  We only ask that there be only one person working with the dog at a time and that all other members of the family remain seated so that the dog is clear on who he or she is supposed to be paying attention to at any given time.  We encourage the parents to make sure they are familiar with all of the training exercises that we do in class first but love when all members of the family can be on the same page together!  There are occasions where we may ask that an adult take the wheel for a particular exercise but we absolutely encourage the kids to be part of the training!  If your kids are younger, we recommend you bring along a silent activity (like a coloring book or an electronic game which can remain on “mute”) in case they get bored of watching the class.

 

Can we alternate handlers from week to week?

In general, it is best if the handler can be consistent from week to week, HOWEVER, we understand that everyone is busy and sometimes it is difficult to be there each week.   If you want to switch handlers, it is your responsibility to pass along all of the training exercises we have done in class to your fellow handler.  Although we will always make an effort to help out someone who missed a class, we cannot spend extra time each week catching someone up as that would not be fair to our other students. That being said, we have had several families who have successfully switched handlers every week due to their own dedication and persistent communication and if you think you can do the same, we won’t stop you!

 

What will I need to bring to class?

  • Flat Collar: (buckle or Martingale style) and, if you prefer, a well-fitted traditional style harness can be added. Easy walk or other harnesses/head collars can be discussed on an as-needed basis.
  • Leash: A 6-foot light-weight leather or nylon leash (no chain or retractable). All dangling items, rings, charms, poop bag holders should be removed so as not to distract the dog if they become an issue.
  • Toys and/or treats: HIGH VALUE ($50-$100/hour level) toys and treats (see chart below)! Bring a few things in case what you thought was going to work doesn’t. Please avoid crumbly/crunchy cookie-type treats.  For nose work classes: Sometimes, your usual food reward for other activities is not high enough value for nose work. We’ve found some of the following to be very motivating: Tuna, sardines, salmon, bleu cheese, ham hocks, sausages, mackerel, meatballs, liverwurst, and hot dogs.
  • Treat pouch/bait bag: Please bring a wearable pouch (fanny pack can work in a pinch) or bait bag in which to put the food for easy access during training (no plastic baggies).
  • Mat or blanket for your dog: Some dogs prefer to lay on a soft surface over the floor and may avoid settling down if they don’t have something to lay on.
  • Hungry & Motivated Dog: Please either don’t feed your dog before the class, or feed a reduced meal so that your dog is hungry and motivated. Also, if you have a high energy dog, please don’t burn them out with a long hike or play session before the class.

Puppy classes only:

  • Mat to Sit on: This one is for you, not your dog. Owners will be sitting on the floor (so long as they are physically able to do so) with their puppies and you may prefer something more comfortable than the floor.
  • Brush: There will be time between exercises where you may want to practice getting your dog used to being brushed and groomed.

Please note that many of these required items can be found by visiting our STORE.

Dog Reward Pay Scale

     

Why are there no on-leash greetings permitted at Heavenly Hounds?

We ask that both in the parking lot and inside of the Heavenly Hounds Training facility that you keep your dog(s) a generous distance from all other dogs.  There are a variety of reasons why this has become our policy:

Leash work = teamwork

While the dogs in our classes are here for a variety of training goals, one of the most common complaints is that dogs pull on leash. If our human students allow their dogs to pull them towards the other dogs inside and outside of class,  they are actually reinforcing the pulling behavior! The dog pulled and got rewarded with getting to visit the dog.  This is counterproductive to our student’s training goals!

While we do think having doggie friends and off leash romps can be great, and we are not trying to discourage dogs from bonding with members of their own species; However, we want to make sure that our dogs are bonding to people during the critical socialization periods of their development to avoid potential behavior problems down the road. This is far more important with the world that we live in than having canine friends. At the end of the day, we want dogs to be our friends, and not drop us like hot potatoes every time they see another dog.

We encourage you to think of the leash as the signal to your dog that you are now working together. We want the leash to be the symbol of a strong bond and foundation with our dog which will result in eye contact and a loose leash. We want you to be the most interesting and fun aspect of your dog’s life so that they will always choose you over any canine they come across.

Not all dogs want to meet new dogs!

While some dogs would probably be ok meeting new dogs on leash, it doesn’t mean the dog they want to go visit will be receptive of that approach. Just as not all humans are interested in making new friends while in line at the grocery store, many dogs are simply not interested in greeting every dog they come across. Similarly, some dogs will be flat out irritated or stressed with a dog coming towards them and often those signs of stress are easy to miss. While the initial greeting may seem ok, it can very quickly escalate into a fight if one dog feels trapped (common since they are on leash and have nowhere to go) or frustrated that the other dog didn’t hear or see their signals that they didn’t want to be greeted (often indicated by posture, lip licking, looking away and other body language which may or may not include growling or barking).

At Heavenly Hounds we are proud to offer and entire class, called Peace Walks, for dogs that are reactive to other dogs on leash. This is an incredibly common issue and can be directly caused, in some cases, by on leash greetings. Some of our students who have graduated from our Peace Walks class go on to attend other regular group classes (a testament to their hard work and dedication to their dogs!) but their dogs will always be more sensitive to dogs running up to them. We ask that all of our students be respectful of their hard work.

What if my dog is friendly and loves to meet new dogs?

“Friendly” dogs that love to greet on leash may not be perceived as such by the other dog on the receiving end. While you see an excited dog pulling to get to a possible new friend for an impromptu play date, the other dog might be seeing a stranger aggressively approaching (because they are straining forward on the leash)! In going back to the grocery store example: you might be willing to say a casual hello to someone in line with you at the store, but you are WAY LESS likely to be receptive to someone running down the aisle yelling “HELLO NEW FRIEND! I WANT TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE FOR DINNER TONIGHT!” Keep that in mind when you are out for walks with your dog.  Even the most patient and friendly dogs in the world don’t want to meet every overly excited dog they come across.  At some point it won’t be fun anymore and that can lead to some serious behavior problems, including leash reactivity. We strive for all our canine students to be social (capable of being in the same environment, if not actually playing) with other dogs but we do not want them to be dependent on them! We want you to always be #1 in your dog’s mind.

 

What is your cancellation policy?

See our Polices page for details.