March Specials: CGC-Prep Class, Trick Dog - Novice Class
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BetCo News 2020-2

Hello ,

Important news and reads in this issue:

March highlights: CGC® (Canine Good Citizen) - Prep School, Trick Dog - Novice class, Agility and Nose Work classes!

Feature at the end of this newsletter:
Dog Sports - How To Choose The Right Activity For Your Dog

I often get asked by clients which sport I think they should enroll their dog in. Besides reading the description and researching the different dog sports online, there are other criteria that will influence your choice. Read more about making the right choice at the end of this newsletter.

All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.

Enjoy life with your better companion,


Trick Dog class improves the bond with your dog through teaching your dog tricks! Your relationship will become stronger, more positive and more fun! You will get ideas on how to exercise your dog on "rainy days" - in Alaska also "chill" and "snow days".
March Highlights: CGC® - Prep School, Trick Dog - Novice Class, Agility and Nose Work Classes

CGC (Canine Good Citizen®) - Prep School practices real life skills for 10 everyday situations. These ten situations can then be tested the week after the class in a CGC-Test we also offer at our facility. Items include politely sitting while being approached and petted by a stranger, walking on a leash, encountering and passing another leashed dog, separation from the handler and more.

CGC - Prep Class starts Sunday, 03/08/2020, running at 2:30 - 3:30 PM. There will be a break for Easter Sunday, with the last class held on 04/19/2020.

Trick Dog - Novice Class is a fun way to give your dog mental stimulation and exercise while improving your bond and having fun! Earn a Trick Dog title or just enjoy teaching your dog new tricks and showing off or refining tricks your dog has already learned!

Trick Dog - Novice starts Thursday, 03/26/2020, running at 7:30 - 8:30 PM. Last class on 04/30/2020.

Agility classes of all levels start Saturday, March 14th. This will be the last round of our winter classes. For the summer, while weekends are busy and precious, we are moving our agility classes from Saturdays to Mondays! Starting in May, we'll run the classes between 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM and the practices at Sirius Ranch from 5:00 to 6:30 PM. Classes will be outside as weather permits, and Practices will be outside once Sirius Ranch moves their equipment outside.

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 Saturday, 03/14/2020 and again Monday, 05/11/2020. The March classes are running straight through until 04/18/2020; the May classes will have a break on Memorial Day and end on 06/22/2020.

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 Sunday, 03/08/2020, running on Sundays at 5:15 - 6:15 and 6:30 - 7:30 PM. Last class on 04/05/2020.

Our Continuous Behavior Classes

Classes that start every month:

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

Spring/Summer Preview


CGC-Test: Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

Not confirmed yet: Clean-Up Evening at the UAF Trailhead on Trunk Road - TBA!

Shy Dog Workshop: Saturday, May 30th, 2020

Feisty Fido Workshop: June 20th, 2020

Here's what some of our clients had to say after taking Grade School:

"It encourages and motivates us to continue training"

"[The most interesting exercise was] loose leash walking from station to station"

"[My dog is now able to] focus on the handler for longer lengths of time"

'[I liked most the] real time feedback"

Read more testimonies HERE!
Icelandic Sheepdog Falki pushing an exercise ball to his handler, Deb at a Treibball demo at the State Fair in Palmer.
4) Feature:

Dog Sports - How To Choose The Right Activity For Your Dog

Often dog owners ask me the questions, What do YOU think is the right sport for my dog? And most often I can say - anything you'd like to pursue. Here are some hints and tips on how to choose a dog sport or activity for you and your dog.

1) Your Dog

Most dogs can do most dog sports, with just few restrictions.

If your dog doesn't like to swim, dock diving is probably not the sport for your dog. But teaching your dog to swim can be a life saver, so don't ignore water activities overall. Places that have pools for dogs will not only offer sports and therapy, but also swimming in general.

Dog Agility requires a dog to see the obstacles, to be healthy enough to jump and climb and to be able to walk on a 12" plank. So if your dog has poor vision, mobility problems, is substantially overweight or just an extremely large and wide breed (e.g. huge mastiffs), this might not be the sport to pursue. All other dogs, from tiny to large, can benefit from the activity of playing with the agility obstacles - be it to compete down the road or just for the weekly fun at school. All dogs will rather quickly be worked off-leash (one at a time at our facility), so it is necessary that they are people and dog friendly.

Treibball is a ground activity without jumping, but will include distance handling. Your dog will need good vision, otherwise any dog can do it! As in agility, because dogs will work off-leash, they have to be people and dog friendly.

K9 Nose Work requires only one thing: A nose! This activity can be pursued without any obedience background, besides the handler being capable of controlling the dog on leash between runs. The dogs take turns with only one dog inside the building at a time, so they can even be mildly reactive to other dogs. Dogs can be young or old, small or tall, light or heavy, mellow or hyperactive. Food motivation helps, but that can also be discussed with the instructor. Even dogs with mobility issues can participate in Nose Work! We have seen dogs on wheels (cart for hind end) successfully competing in this sport!

Freestyle, Trick Dog and Rally are all sports for pretty much any dog. These activities can even be done with poor vision as well, since the dog stays mostly close to the handler.

And which activity will your dog love the most? We don't know that until we tried them out! Some sports take longer than others to get really into it, so don't give up too quickly.

2) You, The Handler

Don't forget to ask yourself: What will I like? It is very important that YOU love the activity you are pursuing WITH your dog!

Do you like to be more active yourself? Then Agility, Rally and Freestyle could be for you. Do you enjoy observing your dog from a (short) distance? Then try Nose Work, or Treibball. Do you like to work your dog outdoors or on a farm? Maybe hunting or herding is what you want to try.

If you have limited mobility, then it might be best to first observe the different activities, so that you can see what the handlers are doing and if you could achieve the results with any necessary modifications. I have seen videos of Agility competitions and Treibball practice in the back yard by people in wheelchairs. Treibball offers challenges through online submission, so the back yard could be all you need for this activity.

Do you enjoy competing with fellow dog sport lovers? We have lots of competitions here in Alaska in Agility, Nose Work and Rally. You can also compete in hunting, herding, regular obedience, dock diving, Flyball and confirmation.

Again, you won't know your passion until you tried it! And again, you might have to stick with some of the sports a bit longer before you really get the feel for it.

3) Combining Sports

A lot of activities will twine into each other and help improving other sports. My passion is to compete in Agility, and I'm using Rally practices to work on my dog enjoying to work with me close and Treibball practices to work on controlling my dog at a distance. I want to add Trick Dog for an even better relationship with my dog, increasing my dog's desire to overall work with me rather than running off to do other things.

All these activities will also help in controlling my dog either on a hike or from a horse when we are out on a trail ride. One important trick for me will be that she can hand me anything I dropped. She will need to stand up on her hind end, to reach up to me on my horse.

4) Scheduling

This is often overlooked, but also very important. What day of the week can you best join a dog sport class? When and how often are classes offered? Some activities you might want to jump on when they are offered, because they only happen once a year or even less often than that.

If you are interested in one specific activity that we can offer, please email us about it! We do keep a list of clients and their interests into the classes or sports we offer less regularly. We can there also note if you are bound to specific weekdays or times (e.g. I can never make a 5 pm class, or I'd need a Sunday or Monday class). The more flexible you are, the easier for us though.

We offer Agility and Nose Work year-round, whereas Rally, Treibball and Trick Dog classes are only offered sporadically.

Here are the specifics of what The Better Companion plans to offer in 2020:

Nose Work: Starts March 1st, on Sunday, early evenings. After that we'll have a break for Beginners and will offer an Elements class and possibly an Odor class on Wednesday evenings in June.

Agility: Starts March 14th, on Saturdays. After that we'll move the classes to Mondays daytime for the two summer sets, before moving back to Saturdays in the fall.

Trick Dog - Novice: Starts March 26th, on Thursday evenings. A great opportunity to take this class with our guest instructor Ella-Kate! We don't know when we can offer this again, but sure not before next winter or spring!

Rally College: We might be able to offer a daytime class on Monday mornings in July, but an evening class will most likely rather happen end of October. That way we can offer another Junior High Class in August, which is the pre-requisite for taking Rally College.

Treibball Beginner: We will try to offer a Treibball Beginner class in the fall, on a weekday evening. Either August or October.

Freestyle: Not in the books right now. Maybe next winter, but we might rather offer more Trick Dog classes instead.

We hope this helps you decide what dog sport activity you'd like to try out next!!!

Interested in a different activity like skijoring, mushing, herding, flyball or dock diving? Whatever it might be, we might be able to connect you to the right groups and people who offer these activities. Just send us an email with what activity you are interested in and we'll see what we can do! We do have a great book about Skijoring in our little bookstore, too.

And now have fun and play with your dog(s)!
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The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States

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