BetCo June Newsletter

Hello ,

Are you enjoying the longer days? We're all getting busier - planting, building, cleaning, re-organizing and whatever else comes to our mind! Our dogs feel the same spring fever and want to get busy, too! Don't forget to plan some extra time for them for walking, hiking, biking and maybe even swimming!

There're two great short hikes on the way to or from Anchorage, if you happen to have your dog with you in the car: Thunderbird Falls (northbound exit only, state park fee or annual sticker required) and Reflections Lake (Knik River Access exit, no fee).

Another opportunity to walk your dog is the annual Walk 'n Roll for animals, on Saturday, June 4th! You can register online at www.advocatesfordogandpuppywellness.orgBetCo will be next to the registration area from 9 to 10am with short dog sport demos while you're waiting for the run to start at 10am.

Join a class at BetCo for a fun activity together with your dog, spending quality time with your dog either during another behavior class or start a dog sport class! Our sports classes are tailored for pet dogs enjoying the activity. Competing with your dog is an option, but not necessarily the goal.

BetCo can also help you by exercising your four-legged friend for you. Drop your youngster off at our daycare to get things done without the guilty feeling of neglecting your dog or come to our Open Play Times on Friday evenings to watch your playful dog and chat with other dog owners (approval and reservation required for both - click on the link in the shortcuts to find out more!)

Find out below if there's something for you and your pooch, and read our monthly tip at the bottom! This month read about how you can improve your dog's daily manners without using treats!

All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.

Enjoy life with your better companion,


Manners classes - daytime and evening classes!

Our Puppy School Package is the best deal for the young dogs! You learn valuable lessons and your dog gets the best start. Next Puppy 1 classes: Starting June 13th, on Mondays at 9am or June 15th, on Wednesdays at 6:15pm! In July on Monday evenings at 5pm! Puppy 2 class starts June 13th, on Mondays at 10:15am or July 11, on Mondays at 6:15pm.

Have an adolescent or adult dog? Come to our Foundation Class, also starting every month! Next FC starting June 13th, on Mondays at 11:30am or June 15th, on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. In July on Sunday afternoon or Monday evening.

Puppy Package and Foundation Class graduates can continue on to Grade School, offered every month.  Grade School applies all the learned techniques to valuable exercises, improving your handling skills and your dog's behavior through more practice. Next GS starting June 15th, Wednesdays at 5pm or July 10th, Sundays at 2:15pm.

Want to practice good manners in public? Then join our CGC®-Prep School, working towards a Canine Good Citizen!  Prepare for the AKC's test held in September or just practice for your own benefit! This class is only offered twice a year (February and July).

Here's what one of our clients had to say:
[The class] "helped us understand a new way to think about training."

Read more testimonies HERE!
Activity classes:

Start or keep going with our popular Agility classes! If we have enough interest, we'll even double up whichever classes are necessary, so times as listed could still change. Starting Saturday, July 9th, with a break on August 6th (agility trial), finishing August 20th.

Join our Trick Dog class, starting August 18th, on Thursdays at 6:15pm. This is our newly revised former Tricks 'N Clicks class, now with a chance to earnTrick Dog titles for your dog conveniently from the comfort of our classroom!
Last Summer Workshop:

Feisty Fido Workshop is for dogs that are reactive to other dogs when walked on leash. They might be fine playing with other dogs off-leash, or it's unknown if they'd be friendly or not to other dogs. If you have been dreading a leash-walk because of possible encounters with other dogs, this is your chance to change that! Dogs should be people friendly for this workshop. Scheduled for Saturday, August 6, this is a 6-hour workshop plus a lunch break for maximum 6 dogs. You're welcome to pay for an auditing spot and come without your dog!
Monthly Training Tip:
Improve your dog's daily manners without using treats!

Sometimes we instructors forget that we sound like a broken record (who still knows what that even is?) when we repeat in class the phrase "just use more treats" or "just use more valuable treats" when an issue arises during class. Then our dog handlers feel that the only answer to all their problems is to use more treats, better treats, and again more better treats!

This is mostly true for the class room, because here we have two issues: The constant distraction by the other dogs and handlers and the limitations of using other rewards. It just isn't practical to reward a dog by throwing a ball for them through the room and allowing them to chase that ball or by allowing them to go up to the neighbor dog, who's already nervous about the other dogs being only 8 or 10 feet away.

But I want to remind you all that although this is a great class room solution, and might work best in other very distracting environments with limited reward options, you have tons of other rewards at your fingertips to use in your daily interactions with your dogs!

Here are some specific tips for using other rewards:
- Don't just open the door for your dog, have your dog SIT, then use the opening of the door as a reward for polite behavior. How many doors are you opening on a daily base for your dog? Don't forget the pantry or refrigerator door, the car door and the kennel and yard doors!  

- During your leash walks, just WALKING is a huge reward for most dogs. If you keep walking while your dog pulls, you reward pulling! So if your dog pulls, STOP WALKING as a 'punishment' and continue walking when your dog politely looks back at you from a slack leash.

- When you feed your dog, do you have your dog SIT before the food bowl gets put down? That's great! One Sit for a bowl of hundreds of pieces of food? That's like giving your hubby $1000 to take the garbage out! Take at least half of that meal and use each piece of food to train a behavior, like sitting instead of jumping or paying attention to you instead of anything else around you. Feeding these pieces away in 5 minutes for repeating the same behavior 50 times is better than one Sit! Then use the other half in the bowl and change up your routine. Prolong the SIT until the bowl is on the ground and you release the dog, add a Look or change it to a Down to make it more challenging.

- When taking your dog out for a leash walk or car ride, can you even tie your shoes without your dog running around and between your legs? Tying your shoes, putting on your jacket, grabbing the leash and putting the leash on your dog's collar are all rewards for your dog's behavior! So ask your dog to Sit politely and then reward your dog by continuing with the above routine - but ONLY while your dog still sits!

Our daily routines with our dogs have the biggest effect on our dog's behaviors and manners - use that to your advantage! You can probably train a dog by just using his/her daily food and never giving special treats or human food.

I still like to use commercial treats and human food as a reward, because I'm an impatient trainer and I know I can progress faster in my training if my dog is even more eager to get the reward. They'll try harder, the distractions won't be as important, I can increase the distractions and the difficulty of the task I'm teaching much faster in my training and I can actually even 'punish' my dogs more by withholding that special treat until they 'get it right'.

My dogs (and our horses for that matter) are learning NOT to mug us for the treats in the pouch or the hand but to wait politely for delivery, NOT to beg at the table but from their dog beds BECAUSE they want the treats so badly and have learned what works and what doesn't. My dogs know how good human food tastes and still don't take food from the counter top or even couch table. They're allowed to eat crumbs off the floor and have a job of pre-cleaning the floor from spilled fluids like milk or gravy.

The best dog trainers and performance dog competitors use human food to reward their dogs in training and in their daily lifes, because it's the best our dogs can ever get! Real meat, smoked salmon, cooked egg, fried fish, hot dogs, cheese cubes ...
Don't just feed it to your dog, make your dog WORK for it! And WORK for a pet dog means only sit politely, pay attention to me, come when I call you. We don't expect much, but for a young exuberant dog, it's unnatural and cruel to interrupt their play in such a way. So give them the reward they deserve.

Do you have additional ideas you want to share for improving polite behavior in our dogs' daily life, using positive reinforcement techniques? Remember some from class or from your class folder I didn't mention here? Share them with other dog owners on our Facebook page!
We now carry
Orijen and Zukes
Mini Naturals dog treats!
The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States

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