BetCo April Newsletter

Hello ,

Spring is still reluctant and winter unwilling to leave. We want more outdoors activities for us and our dogs, but this wanna-be winter keeps us restrained.  

Not at BetCo! We offer indoors activities, play and learning and have already added some summer workshops to look forward to!

Find out below if there's something for you and your pooch, and read our revived monthly tip at the bottom! This month learn how you can improve your dog's Recall!

We added spring Agility classes to the schedule!!!

We also decided to keep our annual doggy day (RDO-Day) on its original date in September, so no matter if you're a vendor, want to show off your breed, or just visit, mark your calendar for Saturday, September 10th, 2016!

All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.

Enjoy life with your better companion,


Manners 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: Monday, April 4 at 11:15am and Wednesday, April 6 at 5pm! In May on Sundays!

Have an adolescent or adult dog? Come to our Foundation Class, also starting in April or May!

Puppy Package and Foundation Class graduates can continue on to Grade School, offered in April and May.

We now have the next level offered after Grade School: Join Junior High in May! It's a great new curriculum!

Junior High will also help in getting your dog ready for the CGC®-Prep School, offered afterwards in July.

Here's what one of our clients had to say:
"I like the reward based, R+ approach. My dog learned to focus, we enjoyed the training and it included socialization. She was always jumping up on people to greet them, but that stopped within 2 lessons!"

Read more testimonies HERE!
Activity classes: We'll continue with Freestyle Practice for our Freestyle II graduates on Thursday evenings in April and May, and add Rally Practice by mid May!

Join the fastest growing dog activity - allowing your puppy's NOSE to go places! Channel their deep and much-loved instinct to sniff into a controlled behavior and game - any dog can do it! May offers not only another K9 Nose Work® Beginners class for dogs of all ages, but a Nose Work Puppy Primer class specifically geared for our younger ones from 9 weeks to 9 months of age. Starts Tuesday, May 17, ends June 21. Over 9 months, please sign up for K9 NW-Beginner class.

Start or keep going with our popular Agility classes! Due to client demand, we found a way to keep them going in spite of our busy May/June schedule! If we have enough interest, we'll even double up whichever classes are necessary, so times as listed could still change. Starts April 30, with a break on May 21 and 28, finishing June 18.
Summer Workshops:

Shy Dog Workshop is for dogs that are timid when meeting new people, maybe even growly or barky towards strangers. They should be comfortable in a new environment like our dog training facility and not aggressive. Learn how to help your dog make friends faster with your guests or house sitters! Scheduled for Saturday, May 21, this is a 4-hour workshop in the afternoon for maximum 6 dogs.

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:
How to improve your dog's Recall

Our dogs behave one way or the other either because they get rewarded for it (behavior will happen more often) or because they didn't like the outcome (behavior will happen less often). This is easy when we give them a treat for a Sit, but a little more complex when it comes to the recall.

Just give them a treat when they come, right? But that doesn't always work because:

1) The other reward is higher (chasing a rabbit versus getting a treat) and
2) There's often a negative outcome involved after we called them to us - loss of freedom!

We call them for a reason, which is usually either to come in the house, get in the car or at least get the leash back on. Every time they end up being confined or at least stopping what they were having such fun doing, and that's a huge negative outcome (equals punishment) for especially the young, energetic dogs.

How can we change these two facts that work against us in the recall?

1) Increase your reward: raise the quality and quantity of your reward by finding extra delicious treats like deli meat, smoked salmon, table scraps, stir-fry chicken or beef, hot dogs, cheese ... you name it! Remember that table scraps given during training are not the same as begging at the table - and shouldn't result in begging. Do you really believe your dog would NOT eat "people food" if found on the streets because you never fed it to your dog? Hah! Think again!

Then, don't give them just one piece; give them 10 or 15 pieces, slowly, one at a time! Let them settle in with you while munching on the delicious treats, forgetting about the rabbit or the buddy they just played with.

2) Dilute the idea of freedom loss: Practice the recall with that delicious reward before you need to confine your dog. "Catch & release" is a great way to teach your dog that coming to you is part of the FUN! Call your dog, praise and reward lavishly, then let your dog go play again! Do this several times while your dog is playing, sometimes touching his collar, sometimes not.

Additionally, sweeten the confinement with a fun activity while they are learning to improve the recall. For example; if you need to call your dog into the house, play a game in the house every time (at first) that you call your dog inside. If you need to call your dog to the car or just to leash your dog; play a quick game on leash first, then take your dog to the destination on-leash (car or home or just continuing your walk). You can wean the dog off of these games eventually, but even after they develop a really good recall, they'll enjoy the surprise game now and then!

The easiest and still worthwhile game for a dog to play is to FIND treats hidden or just scattered over the ground. Take 10-15 pieces and either scatter them on the ground or specifically hide them either around or in the car (if inside the car, I'd suggest just placing a dish in an obvious place for the dog to discover [happy happy!] so they don't get the idea that it'd be good to dig for treats in the car), or just right where you leashed your dog! Then tell your dog to "find the cookie!" and let the games begin.

Do you have additional ideas you want to share for improving the recall, 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!
The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States

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