General Class FAQs

How do I secure my spot in class?

Payment is required to secure your spot in class. You can register online via this link, or contact us if you would prefer to register over the phone or via email (we’ll either take a credit card number over the phone or email you an invoice, payable online).

Open Enrollment Class Specifics:

If you are attending an “open enrollment” class, please be aware that we are saving a spot in class just for you and your dog. Once you have registered, paid and picked a start date, your spot is secured in class for six CONSECUTIVE weeks. If you miss a class, it will still count towards one of your sessions. This is so that we can ensure small class sizes for all of our clients.

What if I miss a class?

In order to keep our classes small, Happy Dog Institute is unable to offer refunds or makeup classes, so please plan carefully when scheduling. Missed classes can be made up on a private basis for our regular private session fee.

How many dogs are in a class?

The maximum number of dogs per class is as follows:

  • Puppy 1: eight dogs
  • Adult dog classes (Fun Foundation, About Town, Calm Dog & Agility): six to seven dogs
  • Puppy 2: six dogs
  • Stranger Fear Class is a semi-private class, and there are four dogs in each class

Puppy Class FAQs

Is there a prerequisite for Puppy 1 Class?

No, but your puppy must be between 8 and 20 weeks of age on their first day of class.

What is open enrollment?

We want you to be able to join class with your puppy as soon as possible. With “open-enrollment”, there’s no waiting for a class to start – you can join as soon as you get your puppy as long as there’s room and you’ve met the vaccination requirements below.

Only Puppy 1 is open-enrollment – Puppy 2 has a set start and finish date.

How do I know what to bring to class, etc.?

When you register for class, you’ll get an emailed link to our video orientation which outlines class materials, rules and goes over concepts like house training and play biting. The video is about 35 minutes long, and you’ll need to make time to watch it before your first class.

You’ll also receive the link to the PDF class handbook in the same email, which has a printed materials list.

You’ll get a list of what to bring to Puppy 2 via email when you register, as there is no video orientation for this class.

What if I miss a class?

Please be aware that we are saving a spot in class just for you and your dog. Once you have registered, paid and picked a start date, your spot is secured in class for six CONSECUTIVE weeks. If you miss a class, it will still count towards one of your sessions. This is so that we can ensure small class sizes for all of our clients. You are welcome to make up a session for our regular private training fee!

What are the vaccination requirements for Puppy 1?

We require the first TWO rounds of DHLPP or DHPP (specifically Distemper and Parvo). The second round must have been administered after 8 weeks of age, and at least 7 days prior to the first session of class.

Concerned that your puppy won’t have all their vaccinations before starting class? Fear not! This article on Puppy Socialization from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior explains why puppy owners should be more concerned about behavior problems from a lack of socialization than a small risk of infection.

Is there a prerequisite for Puppy 2 Class?

Yes, Puppy 1. Also, your dog needs to be under 9 months on the first day of class.

Do I bring my puppy to every class?

Yes, EVERY class – including your first session. The video orientation you’ll receive after registering for Puppy 1 class has all the information you need to join on your selected start date – with your puppy in tow.

What? There isn’t room to start Puppy 1 class as soon as I’d like?

Sometimes, this is unavailable because class is full for a while. We’re sorry! We recommend registering for the next available start date so that you can get access to the PDF handbook and video orientation to support you before starting class. You are also welcome to purchase a Puppy Package to tide you over.

What if I need extra help?

We’re here for you! You are welcome to purchase a Puppy Package, which includes either an hour-long consultation, or four weeks of customized support for you and your household.

Why all the treats?

We use a lot of treats in class. Food is a primary reinforcement! People often worry that too many treats at first will make the dog only work for treats in the future – when in fact it’s the other way around. Associating behaviors with high-value reinforcement is essential to properly train behaviors – and maintain them. As they get better and better at their behaviors, we decrease the frequency of the reinforcers. They’ll still work hard because they never know when they’re going to get a treat now!

Ever stop to wonder why slot machines can be so addicting?

We also use other reinforcers like environment, toys and play as you progress through the Puppy Series.

Adult Dog Class FAQs

Is there a prerequisite for this class?

As long as your dog is over five months old and up to date on vaccinations, you’re welcome to join! (See below for vaccination requirements.). One exception is if they have a hard time on-leash around other dogs at fairly close proximity (4-6 feet at times). If that’s the case, another training solution would be a better it. Contact us for other options.

My dog gets nervous in public or around other dogs. Is this the right class for him?

We want your pup to be successful as possible! So if your dog has fear, reactivity, anxiety or barks on leash around other dogs, please contact us before signing up for Fun Foundation to make sure it’s the best fit. Often times, another service is a better fit!

What else do I need to bring?

Just something to write with on the first day! We’ll discuss additional materials during the Orientation, which is Week 1 (see above).

What if I miss a class?

In order to keep our classes small, Happy Dog Institute is unable to offer refunds or makeup classes, so please plan carefully when scheduling. Missed classes can be made up on a private basis for our regular private session fee.

Open-enrollment classes:

Please be aware that we are saving a spot in class just for you and your dog. Once you have registered, paid and picked a start date, your spot is secured in class for six CONSECUTIVE weeks. If you miss a class, it will still count towards one of your sessions. This is so that we can ensure small class sizes for all of our clients. You are welcome to make up a session for our regular private training fee!

What is open enrollment?

We want you to be able to join your Fun Foundation Class with your dog as soon as possible. With “open-enrollment”, there’s no waiting for a class to start – you can join as soon as you have attended your orientation, as long as your dog is up to date on vaccinations.

You’ll want to register for the orientation first, then register for Fun Foundation class and pick a start date that’s after your orientation date.

Please note that only Puppy 1 and Fun Foundation are open-enrollment – everything else has a set start and end date.

What are the vaccination requirements?

All vaccinations must be current. Check with your veterinarian if you’re unsure. You will have the opportunity to list vaccination records when you register for class.

Do I need to bring my dog to every class?

No, the first class of Fun Foundation is an orientation and is held without the dog. All you’ll need for class the first week is something to write with! After that, your dog will need to be at every class.

How do I secure my spot in class?

Payment is required to secure your spot in class. You can register online via this link, or contact us if you would prefer to register over the phone or via email (we’ll either take a credit card number over the phone or email you an invoice, payable online).

Why all the treats?

We use a lot of treats in class. Food is a primary reinforcer! People often worry that too many treats at first will make the dog only work for treats in the future – when in fact it’s the other way around. Associating behaviors with high-value reinforcement is essential to properly train behaviors – and maintain them. As they get better and better at their behaviors, we decrease the frequency of the reinforcers. They’ll still work hard because they never know when they’re going to get a treat now!

Ever stop to wonder why slot machines can be so addicting?

We also use other reinforcers like environment, toys and play as you progress through the Fun Foundation and About Town series.

Human & Stranger Fear (Stranger Danger) Class FAQs

What do I need to bring to class?

We’ll go over the details at the first week, but a huge part of what makes this program so successful is that everybody is required to bring an adult (over 21) “buddy” to class so there are two adults per dog. Please be sure you are able to do this before signing up. See below for more info on this.

Does my dog have to wear a muzzle?

If your dog has a bite history or a tendency to lunge, then yes. If you’re not sure, then yes. Better safe than sorry! We’ll spend some time desensitizing to a muzzle if your dog has never worn one before. We don’t want it to be an added stressor!

What if I don’t have an adult to bring with me to every class?

Contact us and we can discuss other options, like private training. Once in a while we will let somebody who really cannot find a buddy into class, but there can only be one per class.

Where can I buy the Baskerville muzzle?

Fluffy & Floyd’s Pet Supplies in Tumwater has them (there are probably other places around town that do also), and you can buy them online.

What does my buddy have to do?

They will be doing a lot of walking past dogs, sitting across the room from dogs, coming and going from the space of another dog, etc. They should never feel like they’re in danger – all of this work is fairly uneventful. They do need to be fairly mobile in order to be a buddy. You will be doing the same work as your buddy also!

My dog isn’t aggressive, they’re just afraid of people.

Okay, so, we kind of hate the term “aggression”. Behavior is information, and an “aggressive” dog is usually a very fearful dog. They’ve just learned to use aggression to get their needs met. So, if your dog isn’t aggressive that’s totally fine! This is still the perfect class for them.

I already have a muzzle. Do I have to buy the Baskerville brand?

We do require that you have this muzzle because – while it’s not perfect – it’s designed to be fed through. In certain circumstances (like if you have an English Bulldog), you might not be able to use a Baskerville Muzzle. We can discuss this.

Can different people be my buddy for class on different weeks?

Yes! Absolutely. Variety is nice! Each buddy will need to sign a Waiver, which we will email you as class approaches if you are registered.

Does my buddy have to come to every class?

Yes.

We don’t get asked this one, but we feel we should mention it:

This class is fun, believe it or not! And very anti-climactic. If we’re successfully modifying behavior, we’re not seeing the behavior we’re there to modify (does that even make sense?). So, we’re not getting a bunch of dogs together to act fearful or aggressive – we want to see relaxed behavior. Feel free to contact us for more info on this.

Private Training & Behavior Help FAQs

In-Person Training

What type of behavior issues require in-person training?

Click here to read about behavior issues that require in-person training.

Where are consultations held?

About 8 miles south of Tumwater, Washington. We’ll email you directions once your consultation is scheduled, as the date approaches.

I read that I need to submit some paperwork before my consultation. What sort of paperwork and how do I get it to you?

Don’t fret! We have a single page of paperwork, plus a page with some policies and contractual stuff on it that we have you electronically sign and send our way at least two days before your scheduled consultation. It’s easy to fill out and submit online, and we’ll email it to you with plenty of time to complete it after your consultation is scheduled.

What should I bring with me to my consultation?

When you scheduled your consultation we emailed you a Consultation Letter with a list of what to bring. Let us know if you need it sent again before you arrive!

Why aren’t consultations held at my house?

Consultations are held in a neutral territory so that we can assess your dog without their territory being an issue. This will give us a better “baseline” and a more accurate read of your dog’s behavior and temperament.

Do you need to see the behavior?

You’d would think so, wouldn’t you? In short, no. We don’t need to see the behavior, for a number of reasons:

  • A consultation is the first step in helping your dog heal and de-stress. Recreating the behavior adds undue stress for you and your dog that just isn’t necessary, and sets us off on the wrong foot.
  • We’ve see it a gazillion times before!
  • If we need more information, and if you’d like to share what’s going on with visual aids, feel free to bring some video of the behavior with you to your consultation.
  • In rare cases we may need to see the behavior in order to assess it – but this is hardly ever the case. We can discuss this more at the consultation!
Remote Training

Do you need to physically demonstrate what I should be doing with my dog?

In some cases, yes! But this is typically the case with behavior issues that aren’t suited for remote training. Click here to read about behavior issues that require in-person training.

What is remote training anyway?

Good question! This training is conducted via phone, video chat, email and video sharing. How we approach remote training depends on the behavior issues we’re dealing with. Read the FAQs below to learn more.

What kind of technology do I need to do remote training? Do I need to be a techno-wiz?

No! For a phone consultation, all you need is a phone and – if we request video of your dog’s behavior – a recording device like a smart phone or tablet equipped with a camera.

If we transition to a weekly support package after the consultation, you’ll need internet access and a computer or a tablet. Having a smartphone with a camera is handy too. If you can turn on your phone, computer or tablet, you are in good shape. If we need to interact via computer and/or video chat, we will tell you exactly how to go about setting this up. These days, most of our clients have the necessary equipment to do this type of training and do just fine! Plus, they love it!

Do you need to physically demonstrate what I should be doing with my dog?

In some cases, yes! But this is typically the case with behavior issues that aren’t suited for remote training. Click here to read about behavior issues that require in-person training.

I read that I need to submit some paperwork before my consultation. What sort of paperwork and how do I get it to you?

Don’t fret! We have a single page of paperwork, plus a page with some policies and contractual stuff on it that we have you electronically sign and send our way at least two days before your scheduled consultation. It’s easy to fill out and submit online, and we’ll email it to you with plenty of time to complete it after your consultation is scheduled.

What if I want you to see my dog’s behavior even if we are doing remote training?

Oh, the joys of modern technology. These days, we can accomplish pretty much anything via email, video chat and file sharing. You are welcome to share video of your dog’s behavior – and we often request it! – when you are doing remote training. Typically, people will share video with us via Google Drive.

Don’t you need to meet my dog and see the behavior?

We have three answers to this question:

  1. Sometimes we need to meet your dog, yes. If this is the case, we won’t recommend remote training and we will schedule an in-person consultation.
  2. Other times, we don’t need to meet your dog initially to get the ball rolling, but we will as we progress. Often a phone consultation is a great way to get you some help quickly (like when your dog just bit your family member, or they are peeing all over your house, or two of your dogs are fighting and it seems to be escalating quickly – you get the idea). If necessary, we will transition to in-person training after an initial remote consultation. Click here to learn about remote training.
  3. Some behaviors – like dog-dog aggression in the household, house training and separation anxiety – should be conducted exclusively via remote training for optimum success and maximum support. Click here to read about behavior issues that can be addressed exclusively via remote training.

What if I want you to see my dog’s behavior even if we are doing remote training?

Oh, the joys of modern technology. These days, we can accomplish pretty much anything via email, video chat and file sharing. You are welcome to share video of your dog’s behavior – and we often request it! – when you are doing remote training. Typically, people will share video with us via Google Drive.