Featuring Jen Larson, KPA-CTP & Courtney Emken
Concept by Courtney Emken


Picking the right class for your dog can be overwhelming! DogBoy’s has all different kinds of classes and workshops that we teach, so knowing where to start can be challenging. We show you how to evaluate your dog’s social skills and abilities to determine which classes and workshops would be the best fit for you both.


– I’m here with Jen and today we’re going to talk about all the different kinds of classes and workshops that we teach at Dog Boy’s. We get a lot of people that are calling us that have needs and questions about their dogs and they wanna take a class, but some of them just aren’t even sure what classes we offer or what would be the best class for their needs. So, let’s talk a little bit about what we teach.

– Okay, so the first thing I would do is I would probably think about your own dog and evaluate their ability to work around other dogs, or work around strangers. If that’s something that they’re gonna be comfortable with and we could always talk to the instructor in advance if you had any concerns or special needs. Another good thing to do would be to try a workshop before training or for a six week group class. So try a workshop and see if that would work out for your dog.

– Right ’cause a workshop is only one night and or one Saturday afternoon and then you’re not having that long commitment that some people are a little bit adverse to.

– We’ve got lots of different classes here at Dog Boy’s. We offer a great puppy class so that’s good for owners that have a new puppy and need some socialization and basic skills. The next level up from that would be our basic foundation skills class and in that we teach attention, focus, impulse control, all the basic behaviors, sit, down, stay, coming when called, walking on leash. We also have some specific, targeted workshops that might focus on some specific skills or just fun. Lately we’ve had some really cool workshops. We had a handling workshop where the instructor focused on getting dogs comfortable with being handled when going to the groomer or the vet or putting a harness on, putting a leash on, things like that. And we also do lots of fun tricks and games in our enrichment workshops.

– I love that the handling workshop is something new that we’re teaching because that’s so important for so many people. I know even little Noodle does not like to get his nails trimmed and having a handling workshop you know, even though I’ve been in the business for a very long time, I always have something to learn from a workshop or a class and he needs a little help at the vet and vets get really frustrated if you have a dog that you bring to them and they can’t manage to check their temperature or look at their teeth or give them a vaccine. We can teach methods in one night that will really make a difference for your dog at the vet or the groomer. One of my favorite classes that I’ve ever taken here at Dog Boy’s are some of the sports classes that we offer and particularly with Noodle here, agility was his favorite class so, you know, a lot of people would think he’s too small to go through all those obstacles, but he was not only so good at them but he was so fast that I almost could not keep up with him ’cause he would just tear through. In fact, one day he broke out of our yard and he broke into the agility field and started going through all the obstacles by himself So I know he was having fun.

– He enjoyed that class.

– He really loved it.

– And we also do some other great sports classes and we do an intro to sports class where it’s a four week long, group class you can sample a lot of the different sports. Agility, rally, nose work, disc dog, and tri-ball and tri-ball is a pretty interesting canine sport.

– And what’s so great about an intro class is that you get to sample all of it so you don’t have to dive, deep dive into any of it. You just get to try little pieces of it and if you like one of those sports when you try it, then you can take another class later where you get to kind of deep dive into that sport. So I think at this point, it’s just important to mention that not all dogs are a good fit for a class setting. For instance, I have a dog that doesn’t do well in classes. And his name is not Noodle for the record.

– So that’s right. There are some dogs that might be a little bit too reactive to be in a group class so for those dogs I recommend either private lessons or a specific reactive dog class which we also offer.

– So that’s a great point. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what happens in reactivity class and what all you cover there.

– So first of all, class size is limited. So, it’s usually just four dogs or maybe even less depending on the group. So we start group, it’s usually a six week long program. The first week is just a people orientation. We let the handlers come in and we sit down and we talk about the logistics of the class, what their specific triggers of each of their dogs are and we just kind of go over what we’ll be covering. So then in the later weeks, we practice some important life skills for the dog so being able to be around other dogs on a leash or seeing another dog behind a barrier and not react. I mean so we teach them alternative reactivity and incompatible behaviors. We teach some strategies for the handler, leash handling skills, things like that. So just really getting the dogs and their handlers more comfortable out in the real world.

– Well, and I would say whether your dog is reactive or not, taking a class is just so great for building that bond between you and your dog. I’ve had a client actually tell me, you know, I always loved my dog but it wasn’t until I took that second class that I realized how much I loved my dog. Like, you just start to see your dog bloom and grow and you realize like, you don’t even know what your dog is capable of until you take you know, an upper level class ’cause it’s just, it’s just awesome to watch.

– That’s such a good story.