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BetCo November Newsletter

Hello ,

 
After a beautiful and rather dry fall, winter came literally over night! Time for a gear check for your outings! Maybe you didn't know we offer all that?

Just arrived:
- Freedom No-Pull Harnesses
- Gentle Leader® head halters
- ComfortFlex Sport Harnesses (our Buggy-harness)
- Food dispensing toys (for outings without your dog)

Already in stock:
- Skijor belts and lines
- Book: Skijor With Your Dog (Authors live in Fairbanks)
- Couplers, martingale collars, Euro-leads and long lines

Discontinued and discounted items:
- Snowsuit for your dog
- Booties for your dog
- Carting/Pulk and mushing harnesses
- Reflective collars

Dress warm and enjoy the snow together with your four-legged friend(s)!

We're looking to expand our BetCo team by adding a doggy daycare assistant in the morning! Working hours would be approximately 3 hours in the morning three times a week. This is a year-round commitment and we're looking for somebody who can stay with us for several years, since the first year is a lot of learning.

Please understand that this job requires more than just playing with and supervising dogs. You'll also be a receptionist and sales representative, stock up our sales racks, clean, vacuum, ... and did I mention deal with dog poop (and pee)? You'll often be the first person people will talk to as they are interested in our services, so client communication skills are very important!

We prefer somebody who's familiar with our training concept because they have been attending our classes with their dog(s), maybe even having experience in taking care of other people's dogs in any way, like house sitting, grooming, working at a veterinary clinic or pet care facility.

They need to have a driver's license and their own transportation, and should live not too far away from our facility. Winter driving will be necessary.

Serious inquiries please send a resume to our office,
info@bettercompanion.com.


All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.


Enjoy life with your better companion,

Claudia

Sophia is a 6 year old Miniature Schnauzer, shown at agility practice on our field. Sophia and her mom enjoy our agility, nose work and freestyle classes. Look at that focus and determination!
Sports classes:

The Trick Dog Intermediate class is now on the schedule, for all our Trick Dog Novice graduates!!! It starts December 8th on Thursdays at 6:15pm. Our students from the Trick Dog Novice classes had only good things to say and look forward to move to the next level! Join your fellow class students! There'll be a break over the holidays on Dec 22 and 29, and class will resume on January 5th, ending January 26th.

Start or keep going with our popular Agility classes! If we have enough additional interest, we'll even double up whichever classes are necessary, so times as listed could still change. Starting again December 10th, on Saturdays, this session will have several breaks to accommodate the holidays, an agility workshop and an agility trial, finishing February 11th.

K9 Intro to Nose Work® is a fun sport and a great outlet for any dog; puppies or seniors, shy or outgoing, mellow or energetic, little or lots of obedience, even a little reactive to other dogs - no problem! Channel the energy of your 'nosy' dog into a behavior you can control! As we already filled an overflow class in November, with people on the waitlist, we added another K9 Nose Work Beginner class in January 2017!

We are working on adding other sports classes to the calendar, too! We have added a Freestyle Beginner class in February, and are trying to work one or two sports classes into the schedule on Sundays, possibly in March. Email us your wishes and you might see it coming true!


2) Manners classes

Any time after Grade School:
Times might still change! We're not sure yet if we'll offer our CLASS-BA course in November (Canine Life And Social Skills program) at 7:30pm or at 5pm. Tell us which time you'd want to sign up for and we might change it in your favor! Or take obedience to the higher levels in our Junior High class, offered again in December. Junior High graduates: There could be another Rally College in February, if we have enough Junior High students wanting to continue!

Haven't done Grade School yet?
After Puppy 2 - Kindergarten or Foundation Class, you can continue on to Grade School, offered every month. Pick the day and time that fits your schedule best! Grade School applies all the learned techniques to valuable exercises, improving your handling skills and your dog's behavior through more practice with controlled but increasing distractions. Next GS starting November 6th on Sunday afternoons, after that in December on Monday evenings. Grade School is already on the schedule all the way into February 2017, although some changes could still occur.

Want to start your dog now?
Our Package deals are the best option for the young dogs - bundle two or more classes for a great discount! You learn valuable lessons and your dog gets the best start. Package Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 or Foundation Class and Grade School together to receive the best rate! Puppy owners can even bundle P1, P2 and Grade School together for even bigger savings. 

Next Puppy 1 classes: Starting in November on Sundays and in December on Monday morning and Monday evening. Puppy 2 class starts in November on Wednesdays and in December on Monday mornings.

For dogs over 6 months new to BetCo, join our Foundation Class, also starting every month! Next FC starting  in November on Sunday afternoon or Wednesday evening and in December on Monday morning or Thursday evening.

Here's what one of our clients had to say after taking Foundation Class:
"[The greatest benefit was] reminding me of my behavior and using positive reinforcement. [I liked most about the program] the layout and how one thing added to the next ... June [the instructor] is amazing, she explains things very well, has awesome patience, and takes the time to show she really cares."

Read more testimonies HERE!
Monthly Training Tip:

Distance - use it wisely!

Distance can be used in a lot of different ways.

1) Increasing or decreasing the distance between you and your dog can help with stay training, self-control training and separation training.

2) Increasing or decreasing the distance between you and your dog and a highly attractive stimulus can be used as a punishment or reward. It can also (as above) help training the Stay and self-control.

3) Increasing or decreasing the distance to a stressful, fear-eliciting or otherwise threatening stimulus can change a dog's emotions from feeling safe to feeling life-threatened and therefore greatly influence your dog's behavior.

Lets discuss each scenario a little closer.

1) Distance between you and your dog:
Increasing the distance when you train your dog to Stay is an easy process, but are you also practicing the return to your dog? As you're returning to your dog while s/he has to stay in place, you're also improving your dog's self-control! They want to re-unite with you and celebrate with you, not stay calm and in position as you approach and maybe even circle them, before you reward and release them. It takes a lot of self-control to contain that feeling, which you see when you allow your dog to come to you from a stay instead of you returning to your dog.

Experiencing difficulties when you return to your dog? Is your dog getting up before you release him/her? Start small again, only moving away half a step at first, then adding the circling of your dog, before you slowly increase the distance again.

To train true separation, you could tie your dog to a post in your yard, then walk away. Now your dog knows s/he can't just get up and come to you, but is physically separated from you. You can ask your dog to sit or lay down, to give your dog a task to focus on while they're waiting for you to come back.

Start with a short distance, and only return to your dog when s/he is calmly sitting or laying, without barking or whining. If your dog gets up, stop and wait for him/her to settle again, before you move closer. You're now rewarding your calm dog by returning and a noisy or unruly dog by NOT returning, maybe even stepping backwards. You don't need to say much, because your body language/movement says it all.  

2) Distance to an attractive stimulus:
Let's use this example: Your dog LOVES to meet other dogs and wants to play with them! You can replace that stimulus with any other object your dog LOVES, e.g. people, our facility, your car ...

As your dog sees that object/stimulus, there's a certain distance when you're far enough away, where your dog recognizes the object, but isn't out of control yet. That's a great distance to work with your dog on manners! If s/he obeys, e.g. can Sit, or just pays more attention to you than the object, therefore not pulling on the leash, you can take ONE STEP closer. Try again if your dog can 'behave', and now either 'REWARD' him/her by taking another step closer, or 'PUNISH' him/her by walking a step further away, taking your dog with you.

During these exercises, keep the leash at the same length and don't use your arm to change your dog's distance to the object/stimulus. Show your dog the 'reward' or 'punishment' by moving your whole body together with your arm that holds the leash either closer or further away from the object.

And there's a distance where you can't control your dog anymore, s/he won't listen to anything you say and won't eat the delicious treats you brought. You're too close for training your dog! Now increase the distance until your dog is able to 'Sit' and/or eat a treat from you.

Note 1: The more delicious your treats are, the earlier you can stop - working closer to the stimulus. If you just use plain kibble (dry food) or no treats, you'll have to go much further away than if you use cheese, hot dogs or real meat to help your dog paying attention to you instead of the object.

Note 2: You can practice this exercise without the use of any treats. Again your distance might have to be greater in the beginning, but if your dog LOVES the object more than anything, you do have a very powerful reward system by increasing or decreasing the distance only.

3) Distance to an unpleasant stimulus:
If your dog is too close to a threatening stimulus, s/he might feel his/her life is in danger and could bite to defend that! It doesn't matter if YOU think your dog is safe. YOUR DOG NEEDS TO FEEL SAFE!

At a certain distance your dog might growl at the threat/stimulus. DO NOT SCOLD GROWLING! We need that warning system BEFORE the dog bites. It just means the distance is still too close for your dog to feel safe.

Find a distance to the stimulus/threat where your dog notices the object, but still feels safe. Ask your dog for some tricks like Sit, Shake, and maybe a 'Look' at you. If your dog can obey, you might be able to go a bit closer to the threat and ask for tricks again.

Now distance is your friend! Use more distance to reward your dog for having done great around a threating stimulus - walk away! Use more distance to help your companion to relax. Again don't plainly pull on the leash, but walk away together with your dog!

You'd only decrease the distance because you believe your dog is ready for that new distance, NOT TO PUNISH your dog. You'll ONLY INCREASE the distance TO REWARD your dog or to help your dog relax from a stressful encounter.

Enjoy the Journey of Dog Training!
Claudia

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The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States

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