CGC-Prep Class, Nose Work and Agility Classes coming up soon
BetCo Mar/Apr 2019 Newsletter

Hello Carla,

Important news and reads in this issue:

Feature at the end of this newsletter:
Our aging canines - when is it time to say good-bye?

March highlights: Nose Work Classes, CGC® (Canine Good Citizen) - Prep School,

April highlights: Trick Dog - Intermediate Class, Agility Classes

Daytime classes will be offered again on Mondays in April!

New faces at BetCo

Being in Alaska for almost 20 years now I have not only lost my own dogs to old age but have also seen numerous friends' dogs getting to that point. It's always very sad and there's often the question of when is the best time to help our four-legged friend over the Rainbow Bridge. Read about my take on this and what I tend to tell my friends and clients when they ask me this ethically difficult question at the end of this newsletter.

All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.

Enjoy life with your better companion,


This is my Sally at age 16, a couple weeks before we decided to let her cross the Rainbow Bridge in January 2018. Letting go is never easy, but we're at peace with our decision. She's still dearly missed.
March Highlights: Nose Work Classes, CGC® - Prep School

K9 Nose Work® - Beginners gives your dog an awesome outlet, exercising your dog mentally and physically in a low arousal setting. With little demand on the handler's agility, the humans learn a ton about how dogs experience the world through their nose and how to read their dogs. Already a Beginner graduate? Then join K9 Nose Work® - Intro to Odor, starting the same day! Even if your Beginner graduation was quite a while ago, if your dog was ready to advance back then, s/he still is!

Nose Work classes start March 10th, running on Sundays at 5:15 - 6:15 and 6:30 - 7:30 PM. Last class on 4/14/2019.

Preview: There's already a K9 Nose Work® - Elements class for Intro to Odor graduates on the schedule for the summer! Sign-up is open, class starts Sunday, 7/7/2019.

- Prep School is a great class to practice manners in public through exercises, role plays and games. It's based on the AKC's (American Kennel Club) Canine Good Citizen® - program and prepares for their CGC® -Test, offered separately after the end of the class. The test consists of 10 everyday situations, e.g. loose leash walking and meeting a strange person.

Class starts March 17th, running on Sundays at 3:45 - 4:45 PM. No class on 4/21/2019 (Easter Sunday), last class on 4/28/2019.

April Highlights: Trick Dog - Intermediate Class, Agility Classes

Trick Dog - Intermediate Class is the continuation of our fun Trick Dog - Novice class! Earn your next TD title or just enjoy teaching your dog new tricks and refining old ones!

Class starts April 4th, running on Thursdays at 6:15 - 7:15 PM. Last class on 5/9/2019.

Agility classes of all levels start Saturday, April 6th. This will be the last round of our winter classes. We're planning on summer classes starting again July 13th. As we're trying to be as flexible as possible to accommodate everybody, we might double up a class or combine classes instead of canceling them. This could impact the times of other agility classes before and after. The earlier we know that you want to join us, the better!

Agility classes start Feb 23rd and again April 6th, running on Saturdays and finishing before Memorial Day Weekend. The February classes are running straight through; for the April classes, we'll have a break either on April 27th or on May 18 for a trial - watch for updates.

Daytime Classes and other upcoming classes

Classes that start every month:

Puppy 1 - Preschool, Puppy 2 - Kindergarten, Foundation Class, Grade School;
Click HERE for the full schedule.

Daytime Classes:

Puppy 1 - Preschool and Foundation Class will be the first classes offered on Monday mornings, followed later by Puppy 2 and Grade School classes as needed.

Classes start April 15th, running on Mondays at 10:00 - 11:00 AM and 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM. Last class on 5/20/2019.

Preview for May and beyond:

Junior High School in May! (For Grade School graduates)
K9 Nose Work® - Elements in July! (For NW-Intro to Odor graduates)

Here's what some of our clients had to say after taking Junior High :
"[The greatest benefit was that it] keeps us motivated to continue training ... "

"He now knows "go to your spot" and his recall has improved greatly. Loose leash walking is still a work in progress but we're getting there!"

"[My husband] forgot she (the dog) was out when he was bringing the horse in. She started to run toward the horse barking, but he said Stay and she stayed!"

'This class covered a huge amount of material. A little like getting a drink from a fire hose ... You get what you need but not all of it. I may take this course a second time to get more of it."

Read more testimonies HERE!
New Faces at BetCo

We're happy to announce several additions to our team at The Better Companion!

Daycare/ Open Play Time: We have added Danny Benson to the already existing crew of Jaralynn Jones and Christina Moitoso. Danny came to us for hands-on training for her Dog Training Instructor - course with Animal Behavior College. She will continue our well-established structure at Daycare and Open Play Time and use her skills as a dog trainer to maintain a balanced play group.

Office: We are pleased to have found Amanda Moody to help Deb Frost in the office. Amanda is already "family" since she is DDC Supervisor Jaralynn's sister! Adding Amanda's proven office skills to the team will give Christina Moitoso a break from bouncing back and forth between multiple jobs. Christina took on additional responsibilities when I left for Arizona. Now she can focus more on those jobs as well as daycare and Open Play Time.

Instructors: We're also adding two more instructors to our team, so that we can better accommodate the needs for overflow classes and relieve Monica, who covered the workload of three instructors for the last 5 months. Danny Benson has graduated from Animal Behavior College as a Dog Training Instructor and is starting to co-teach with Monica, Ella-Kate and later me, until she can take over classes. Working the daycare and Open Play Times will give her additional experience, which is very useful for handling the play sessions of Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 classes. Rose Cotter-Lyford is coming back to teach for The Better Companion! She taught for us years ago, then took a break, now recently graduated from Animal Behavior College as a Dog Training Instructor, has run two of her own dogs through several of our classes and has already started helping us with Open Play Times. On the Fridays when she is not working OPT, Rose her own dogs to the play. Rose will also co-teach with Monica and later with me to learn our class curriculum and gain more experience.

We'll add a section with more detailed bios of our BetCo team members to our web page soon!
Claudia feeding treats, with all dogs waiting patiently for their turn. A common multi-dog household and self-control exercise for dogs of all ages.  Left to Right: Sally, 16 years; Chinook, 13 years; Luce, 2 years.
4) Feature:

Our aging canines - when is it time to say good-bye?

First; if a dog owner asks this questions, the answer should never be "Now!" or even worse, "Yesterday". This decision can't be made by anybody else but the dog owner or the one who lives with the dog. Anybody else, be it relative, friend, trainer, breeder or veterinarian, can only help carefully by compassionately sharing experiences, explaining progression or status of the dog as they see it (the vet) and supporting the dog owner by being there for them and giving them a shoulder to lean on or listening ear.

Most people don't want their dogs to suffer and make that their first priority. Others might have difficulty letting go of their dear friend of many years, need more time or believe in letting nature take its course without interfering. It's important to support these decisions without arguing, as this time is hard enough for everybody.

So before I give you my answer to the question posed, I'll give you my insight, which is a mix of my German veterinary background, my experience as a dog training instructor since 2002, my conversations with clients and friends and my personal experience going through this not too long ago.

About a year ago, I had to say good-bye to my two best dog friends of the last 12-16 years, both within 6 weeks.

Both dogs had their very own story and their very different health reasons why I decided to take the dreadful trips to the vet when I did. During the weeks before that, I needed to take time to talk to family and friends about my dogs and their condition, to brainstorm and to help me come to a decision – or not. But in the end, it was still my decision, every day. No one can make this decision for you.

People might lovingly say "Don’t you think it’s time?" but nobody can say "You should" or "You shouldn’t". I think even the first option is already too pushy, even though well-meaning. It is more important to SUPPORT your friend, relative or client in their decision making process.

My dog Sally looked like skin and bones for quite a while, but she still galloped up the hill and ran happily after the ball in the facility and on the field. She was already a very finicky eater due to her cancer, and combined with recurring diarrhea, she lost more and more weight. I was hoping for that clear cut moment of looking much worse from one day to the next, but the progression happened very gradually. I was willing to clean her nightly diarrhea disasters to give her/us more days of playing ball, but I finally realized that I’d rather want to make that trip to the vet before she totally crashes to spare her more accidents and to allow her the dignity to have been playful until her last day.

My other dog, Lucy, had more psychological, geriatric issues, although she looked rather healthier when I made the decision to help her over the Rainbow Bridge. She was far from healthy, but it wasn’t as visible as with Sally. This made it much harder for me, but Lucy was mostly blind and deaf and obviously becoming more physically and emotionally distressed daily by the loss of her world as she'd known it. Additionally, we had to factor into consideration a trip to Europe coming up that we couldn’t postpone. Leaving her in this state wasn't an option. But when I realized that it wouldn’t help her feeling better even if I’d cancel the trip to stay with her, that the problems she had still persisted, I found peace in my decision.

As a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with a veterinary background, I feel we should use our expertise only to increase our client's knowledge and lay out the different options as we see them. We're trying to give clients more knowledge and additional tools, maybe recommendations, but in the end they will be the ones to decide how to train their dogs or which treatment route to take - and when it is finally time to bid their dog a loving final farewell. .

I'll also like to be clear in saying that these decisions are not only based on the dog and its well-being, but also on the well-being of the people around the dog. "How do you feel about this?" is a question we need to ask the people living with the dog, not only the dog.

I hope for all of us that we can spend a long life together with our four-legged friends. But I also hope that you’ll find the right support around you, as I did, and that you’ll be at peace when the day comes to let your friend cross the Rainbow Bridge. The answer to the question "when is it time to say good-bye?" is: "Only YOU will know!"

And now give your dog(s) an extra hug for the love they give us!
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The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States

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