Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q.

    Why do you recommend training classes for pet dogs?

    A.

    Training classes help to establish clear communication between you and your dog. We help you to interpret your dog’s body language and also help you to communicate to your dog the manners you require, so that your dog will be a much loved family member staying in your home for life. It is also important for your dog to learn how to behave appropriately when other dogs are around, and of course the classes are lots of fun!

  2. Q.

    What sort of training methods do you use?

    A.

    Our training methods are guided by the RSPCA’s five freedoms for animals. We use positive reinforcement to change your dog's behaviour. This type of training teaches the dog what is expected of them, and reinforces those behaviours with something that is rewarding for the dog (ie food, toys, pats, opportunity to sniff, run, and play). If a dog does something you don’t like we help you to find an alternative behaviour you DO like and help you to teach your dog when to do that behaviour! You then get to spend your time rewarding your dog for good behaviour, building trust, and communicating clearly.

  3. Q.

    Do you guarantee your results?

    A.

    It is unethical to guarantee results, as leading organisations such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and Council of Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and many others, state in their code of ethics. Because of variables in dog breeding and temperament and owner commitment and experience, a trainer cannot and should not guarantee the results of his/her training. We only see you and your dog for 1 hour each week of your course, and we cannot guarantee your behaviour outside of these hours either!

    Training is also something that you need to continue for the life of your dog. We do aim to train you how to train your dog in the most effective, safe and enjoyable training methods, based on scientifically sound research and best practice.

  4. Q.

    Why do I need to attend orientation for Baby Puppy Class and Foundation training programs?

    A.

    The orientation session is essential to attend for new clients so you have a sound understanding of our training techniques and the equipment we use. We also discuss with you what you would like to get out of the course so that we can ensure we meet your expectations and help you get results. You also get to meet your trainers and provide them with important information about your dog or puppy. During Orientation you will learn the first 5 exercises to practice with your dog at home to get you started to before you commence class together in week 2.

  5. Q.

    Do I bring my dog or puppy to orientation?

    A.

    No. You do not bring your dog or puppy for orientation. Orientation is only for students and their family members as it is a lot easier to concentrate when you don’t have your puppy or dog there. By the time the dogs join the class in week 2 the owners have already a much greater knowledge and skill set which sets up the dogs up for greater success.

  6. Q.

    What payment options do you provide?

    A.

    You can book your dog into a class very quickly by using our online booking form. Our website accepts Visa and Mastercard payments only. Amex is not accepted via our website.

    If you would prefer to book over the phone, please contact our call centre on 07 3426 9999.

  7. Q.

    I have already done a puppy pre-school course at another training school, what can I do next with my puppy?

    A.

    Intermediate Puppy Class! This program is specifically designed for people and their puppies who have completed Baby Puppy Class with us, or a similar program at another training school or vets. The ages of the puppies at the start of the course are limited to 8 months or younger and the class is both fun and informative for those challenging periods in a puppy’s life! You only need to attend an orientation session without your puppy before the start of class if you have not completed Baby Puppy Class with us.

  8. Q.

    What’s the difference between my dog’s vaccination being up to date or being fully vaccinated?

    A.

    We take the health of your dog very seriously. To provide all dogs with a healthy training environment we ensure that all the dog’s coming into our training centre are vaccinated against disease and check vaccination certificates for each dog at the start of every course. If you have got your dog from the RSPCA shelter or another rescue organisation, it is important to remember that some of these dogs have an unknown vaccination history. Therefore, the first vaccination they get at the shelter does not always make the dog FULLY vaccinated but may be only part of their vaccination process which means that they are just up to date. The remaining vaccination/s must then be given by your own vet. Only fully vaccinated dogs are allowed into our training centre, puppies must have had their first vaccination and are subject to strict rules to minimise disease risk. These rules are explained in detail at all class orientations.

  9. Q.

    I have two dogs at home; can I bring them to the same class?

    A.

    We recommend separating dogs from the same household for training classes. The reason for this is that sometimes, dogs who know each other really well can become very distracted by each other in class and our aim is to have the dog focus on the handlers! It is much easier for the handlers if dogs from the same household attend separate classes and our experience is that you will be able to get more out of each class attended.

  10. Q.

    How many dogs are in classes?

    A.

    We have a maximum class size of 6 dogs for all our classes. This allows the trainer to spend quality time with each client, providing them with the individual help they require.

  11. Q.

    Is my dog too old to bring to training classes?

    A.

    No! Any age of dog is suitable for our classes. If your dog is reaching a fine vintage, we may just require your vet’s approval, especially for our more active classes such as dog sports. Our training classes may just be what your older companion needs for a new lease on life!

  12. Q.

    Can I bring my family members and children?

    A.

    Yes! We encourage all family members and friends to come to our classes. We do require children to be able to sit quietly on chairs during the class so that they minimise distraction to the dogs. Trainers frequently ask children to participate in suitable exercises with their dogs, under adult supervision.

  13. Q.

    What do I need to bring with me to class?

    A.

    For classes, what you need to bring with you to class is explained in detail in the orientation session. The most important thing you will need is of course your dog! A mat for your dog and some yummy treats and/or toys are also essential items for all classes.

  14. Q.

    Why do you use lots of food in training classes?

    A.

    Science proves that dogs are more likely to repeat a behaviour that has been rewarded on previous occasions. As we use positive reinforcement methods in our training, we reward the dog when they do the desired behaviour. We find that most dogs respond very well to food rewards in a training class environment and they produce quick results. However, we do encourage and teach the phasing out of food rewards towards the end of the training courses when the desired behaviour has been taught and the dog is able to perform it reliably. We also teach the importance of using training treats as part of the daily food intake for the dog, as we don’t want dogs to become overweight.

  15. Q.

    Isn’t using food bribing my dog?

    A.

    In our classes, we work with lures to first show your dog the position or behaviour we require. After they understand the position, we quickly move to presenting the food only after the desired behaviour is performed. If your dog has trained you to "show them the money!" before they will comply, we can help you work together to change this habit! Just like you go to work for a salary, your dog should be paid for their efforts.

  16. Q.

    What if my dog is not interested in food?

    A.

    If your dog is not interested in food during training classes, they may be motivated by toys and praise. We help you to work with whatever your dog finds most motivating and rewarding for them. Remember that all animals need to eat! If your dog doesn't want to eat in class there may be other factors, such as stress, affecting their performance.

  17. Q.

    What equipment is required throughout the course?

    A.

    If you are a new client, most of the equipment will be discussed in orientation. You will need a mat for your dog, a treat pouch or similar to put your treats in, an appropriate leather or nylon collar, an appropriate lead suitable for your dogs size (no extendable or chain leads allowed), a harness and/or head collar is optional and may be recommended and fitted by your trainer. Toys such as squeakies and tuggies may also be required.

  18. Q.

    What happens if I have enrolled and I have to cancel my course?

    A.

    We understand that life gets in the way sometimes and that some situations can’t be helped. Refunds and transfers can be discussed but are dependant on individual circumstances and are subject to approval from the RSPCA School for Dogs management. Once classes have been confirmed no refund can be given. While we try to be as accommodating as possible we can’t always refund or transfer you, so choose your class carefully!

  19. Q.

    What happens if I miss a class?

    A.

    Please let your trainer or our office know if you will miss a class, preferably beforehand. Your trainer will arrange for a suitable catch up time or fill in class if appropriate. At the start of each course you are issued with a student manual, which is easy to follow to begin teaching exercises at home. If a class is missed without notification no make-up can be offered.

  20. Q.

    I have just adopted a dog from the RSPCA and the adoption fee included a training class, why is this and do I have to go?

    A.

    Some dogs that come into the shelter often have very few manners and require training to help the dog understand what is expected of them in the home environment. Your home environment is very different to the dog’s previous home environment, if the dog has even had a home or training before! We recommend all dogs have training to help establish a great bond between you and your pet; however, there are some dogs which the shelter feels would benefit even more from having these training classes to help them build confidence or because they are large and very strong. We do not make you come to these classes, but feel that you will miss out on expert advice and tips on how to manage your new family member appropriately and effectively.

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