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BetCo Nov/Dec 2018 Newsletter

Hello ,

Road-tripping! Some of you have heard it already - the Sihlers are going south for the winter this year! We're already on the way - I'm writing this newsletter in Salt Lake City at a horse farm.

We feel we have very capable hands here at BetCo; a strong team managing office, daycare and play times, and wonderful teachers instructing classes, to allow us this great trip while we still help managing everything through phone and internet. Thank you BetCo team for making this possible!

We're also personally at a time where this year seemed to be the best fit - we have old and young animals, with the old ones not yet being too old and the young ones not being too young to do the long haul over thousands of miles with us. And we ourselves aren't getting younger either ...

You can follow us through Facebook or Instagram - I have already started to post pictures of Luce's adventures on both.

We wish you all a great start into winter and a peaceful holiday season!

Important news and reads in this issue:

1) Sports Classes Starting In November - Agility And Nose Work

There's still room in our Beginner Agility class - sign up now! Nose Work Beginner class has filled. Contact our office for the status of other higher level classes.

2) Trick Dog And Treibball Moved To January

Still time to join now, to start the new year with a fun activity for you and your dog!

3) Upcoming Manners Classes

There's room in Puppy 2 in November and December, Grade School has 2 classes in January!

4) Monthly Feature: FAQ

We want to put together a list of FAQ for our web page. Help us by reviewing the first questions (and answers) below and making any additional suggestions! What were your first and most urging questions when you contacted us? What was/is most confusing for you on our web page that could need clarification? Read more below.

All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.

Enjoy life with your better companion,


Luce and Chinook are strolling through the sign forest in Watson Lake, YT, Canada. Follow Luce's story of going south on our Facebook page or on Instagram, #Lucegoingsouth.

1) Sports Classes Starting In November

Agility classes are in full swing again, and we'll continue training throughout the winter with our instructors Rob, Kat and Ella-Kate. You'll start with a Puppy/Beginner class for dogs older than 6 months. Depending on the age and confidence of your dog, this class may be repeated to strengthen the basics. Then your dog will continue with our Skills class, for which we have three different curriculums. Your dog should be about one year or older for this class, for the bone structure to be ready for the different exercises. Most dogs take the Skills class 2-3 times before moving on to our Sequencing class, for which we again have three different curriculums.

When you and your dog are ready (as early as after 3 classes or any time later) you can join our agility practice group, with practices held either at Sirius Ranch (the local trial venue) or at our facility, if Sirius isn't available. How do you know if your dog is ready to move on to the next level? Best is to ask your instructor! The progression is faster for confident dogs that are not too speedy and have good obedience basics and focus on the handler. For everybody we have a German saying: "The journey IS the goal!" So no matter how fast or steady you and your dog progress, it's the JOURNEY OF DOG TRAINING we all enjoy so much!

Agility Classes - all levels: starting Saturday, November 3rd

K9 Nose Work® classes are a great outlet for any dog! No obedience needed, this sport is great for shy or confident dogs, big or small, young or old, exuberant or laid back. And because all dogs work only one-at-a-time, they can even be a little dog reactive. Call our office and talk to Deb if you aren't sure your dog qualifies for this sport.

What does Nose Work do? Teaching your dog to search (first for food, later for specific odors); it provides an energy outlet and mental stimulation without the arousal level of other dog sports, keeping your dog focused and balanced. Your dog learns to channel their energy into a search, to ignore outside stimuli and to team up with you, the handler. You'll learn to read your dog better and to better understand your dog's world, how they experience it through scents and winds. This sport can easily be copied and practiced at home, giving you opportunities to tire out your dog in between classes without needing extra space or special equipment.

K9 Nose Work® classes - Beginner and Intro to Odor: starting Sunday, November 4th

2) Trick Dog and Treibball Moved To January

Ella-Kate, our only instructor for these specialty sports classes, has sustained an injury (not here at BetCo) and has to take a break from teaching for us for about two months. Therefore we have moved the Treibball Intermediate and the Trick Dog Novice class to a new starting date in January 2019. We all here at BetCo wish Ella-Kate a speedy recovery!

This might give other clients the opportunity to join up, who couldn't commit earlier! Sign-up is open for anybody interested, and we have already moved all sign-ups from October to the new start date.

Trick Dog Novice: Thursdays, starting January 3rd, 2019 at 6:15 PM

Treibball Intermediate: Thursdays, starting January 3rd, 2019 at 7:30 PM

3) Upcoming Manners Classes

Classes that start every month:

Puppy 1 - Preschool,
Puppy 2 - Kindergarten,
Foundation Class,
Grade School;

Click HERE for the full schedule. The classes start on different days of the week and different times of the day, so pick the one that fits you best!

Puppy 1 - Preschool clients discount option: if you didn't purchase a Puppy School package, you can still save by purchasing the Advanced Puppy Package, including Puppy 2 and Grade School.

November/ December classes:

We still have room in our November Puppy 2 - Kindergarten class starting Wednesday, 11/7/2018 and running from 6:45 to 7:45 PM.

All other November classes are full as of October 20, and people from the November wait list will move into available spots in the December (or January) classes. We don't have any space for overflow classes in December, so sign up while there's still room!

Grade School will not be offered in December, but instead we'll offer it on two different  days in January 2019! See below.

January 2019:

We have scheduled 2 Grade School classes for January, trying to accommodate all the Puppy 2 and Foundation classes that will end in November and December, plus the canceled October Grade School class and the lack of a Grade School class in December.

Grade School:
Thursdays, starting January 3rd, 5:00 - 6:00 PM or
Wednesdays, starting January 9th, 6:45 - 7:45 PM.

CLASS-BA Course for all Grade School graduates! First time conveniently on a Sunday, starting January 6, 2019 and running 3:45 - 4:45 PM. This class focuses on improving your dog's basic manners while reducing the use of treats and improving the dog's response to your cues.

4) Monthly Feature:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you give discounts for military/ seniors/ rescue dogs?

Our discounts are for everybody! The Packages have a discounted rate per class and give you the best savings. First choose your package and then use the purchased class credits to pay for any specific class you sign up for.

We also offer a "Pre-Registration Discount" for when you sign up and pay in advance. You'll find the pre-registration discount code online before you choose a class in the top description.

Another way to save is our "Second Class Discount". You can use this discount when you sign up for an additional class for the same household while you're enrolled in a class. You'll receive the second class discount code in your class from your instructor.

You can also always call the office and ask them about our packages or to get the code for your online registration.

How often do your group classes run?

Each class runs for 6 weeks, once a week. All sessions are full 60 minute sessions, with additional time between different classes for switch-over and questions to the instructor.

We start classes every month, some classes being offered every month, some every other month and some only infrequently. Our beginner manners classes - Puppy 1 for dogs up to 5 months and Foundation Class for dogs 6 months and older - are scheduled to start every month.

What is the difference between Doggy Daycare and Open Play Times?

At our Play'n Fun Doggy Daycare you drop off your dog with us for usually 4-8 hours while you can get other things done. Your dog will play under supervision with other dogs in our arena, get lunch and nap times as needed. We also have two fenced outdoor areas for potty breaks and short play. This activity is perfect once or twice a week as an additional outlet and socialization opportunity for your dog.

At Social Hour Open Play Times you come with your dog for one hour of play, either in our arena or, weather permitting, in our fenced grass field outside. All owners stay with their dogs for play time, meet and socialize and learn from our supervisors how to keep all dogs happy and safe by intervening where needed and how.

Do you offer private lessons and how does that work?

We offer three different kinds of private lessons:
Mini Privates, Private Lessons and Private Consults. All private lessons can only be booked through the office, not online.

Mini Privates: Book one of our play supervisors for a 30-minute session at our facility, offered Friday evenings at 8:00-8:30 PM or 8:30-9:00 PM. Depending on who is scheduled for the Open Play Times that evening, you can use this time to have a dog evaluated for Open Play Time or Daycare, find out if your dog is class suitable, refine a certain behavior like recall or loose leash walking, or get caught up on classes you missed.

Private Lessons: Claudia and some of our instructors offer one-hour sessions either at our facility or at your home to help you with regular basics like manners, structure, calming, house soiling and some destructive behaviors. We often prefer to come to your home, where we can better assess the situation and help you with specific management and exercise ideas.

Private Consults: Claudia also offers more detailed consults for behavioral issues like dog-dog aggression, fear of people and separation anxiety. Ask the office to send you an email with more detailed information.

What does the Package Add-On "STAR Puppy" entail?

The abbreviation S.T.A.R.® stands for Socialization, Training, Activity and a Responsible owner. This is a program offered through the AKC (American Kennel Club®) and can be added on to your class if your puppy will join our Puppy 1 - Preschool AND Puppy 2 - Kindergarten class, or the Foundation Class (for dogs under 1 year of age). The program rewards responsible dog owners who take the time to train and socialize their new puppy. The class instructor (all our instructors are also CGC®-Evaluators) will mark you and your puppy off for 20 different items and at the end of Puppy 2 class you'll receive the paperwork to send to AKC. AKC does charge an additional small fee when you send your forms in.

What does Positive Reinforcement Training mean?

That means that we focus on rewarding the dog's GOOD behavior rather than punishing bad behaviors. In traditional correction-based training the handler waits for the dog to make a mistake and then punishes it immediately, trying to decrease the unwanted behavior. This can be a leash jerk when the dog pulls on the leash, or when the dog does NOT sit immediately.

At our facility we help handlers to be one step ahead by AVOIDING the unwanted behavior, and at the same time establishing a new behavior that we want them to show instead. We reward the WANTED behavior to increase the likelihood of the dog repeating that behavior, which is called positive reinforcement. This can be a treat for being with you when on leash or feeding them their meal for sitting politely.

What training tools will I need for my class?

We don't require any fancy or special equipment. Just a regular flat collar with detachable leash and something to reward your dog will be all. During class the easiest reward that can be given repeatedly and quickly is a treat. You'll learn about other rewards as well, but for the class environment, the treat has proven to work best. Because the class is a very distracting learning environment, we recommend to use high value treats, like cooked chicken, smoked salmon, liver treats, cheese or hot dogs.

Other training tools could be a treat pouch, a gentle anti-pull device (Gentle Leader® head halter, Freedom® Harness) or a book we recommend. We have all the training aids we recommend and stand behind for sale at our facility.

If you are using anything specific right now to control your dog, bring it to class! We want you to FEEL safe about controlling your dog in this high arousal environment. Then we can decide together if there are other, maybe better ways to control your dog.

What does the abbreviation CPDT-KSA mean?

It stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge and Skills Assessed. This is a certification program that has been nationwide acknowledged and is conducted through official certification centers just like other professions.

CPDTs need to re-certify every three years, showing proof of continued education and signing an ethics pledge to keep up the scientifically proven standard of dog training, using humane training methods.

Claudia is a CPDT since 2003, keeping the standards for herself and her instructors high to benefit all clients and their dogs.

Are there any other questions you'd like to see answered on our web page under this column? What did you or are you struggling with to understand? Email us and we'll add your suggestions to our new FAQ page! Coming up soon!

Enjoy the Journey of Dog Training!
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The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States

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