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Here in New Orleans, pets are part of our lives as much as anything else. Let the Louisiana SPCA help you care for your pet! 

Frequently Asked Questions - Dog Training

Below are questions frequently asked about dog training. 

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Find more training info and tips on the Louisiana SPCA Blog!

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What training methods does the Louisiana SPCA use?

What if my dog isn't food motivated?

What supplies do I need for class?

Where are training classes held?

What are the qualifications of Louisiana SPCA trainers?

How do I qualify for a training class discount?

If I took a Basic Obedience Class somewhere else, will that count as the prerequsite for Manners Plus?

Do you provide special accommodations for reactive or shy dogs?

What are the vaccination requirements to participate in classes or private training?

Do you offer classes for aggressive dogs?

How do I register for a class?

I can no longer attend the class that I registered for.  What should I do?

Do you offer make-ups for missed classes?

How do I schedule private training?

Are there discounts available for private training?

 

What training methods does the Louisiana SPCA use?

At the Louisiana SPCA, it is part of our mission to foster the human-animal bond, especially in our training classes.  Our classes are designed to teach you how to motivate your dog to do what you would like him to do and how to humanely decrease unwanted behaviors, all while having fun with your dog.  Our classes do not use force, fear, or pain to accomplish this and all training is based on the science of how animals learn.  We will teach you how to effectively increase the behaviors that you do like with positive reinforcement and decrease those that you do not like by reward removal.  Food is the most powerful motivator for dogs, so that is the primary reward used in classes.  Once behaviors are learned, we will teach you to maintain them through the use of life rewards.

What if my dog isn't food motivated?

This can be a concern for some students, but our instructors will be able to work with you to find the right reward for your dog.  Some dogs will need higher value rewards, and some may need special accommodations made with their feeding schedule.  All living beings must be motivated by food to live, so we will help you find a way to increase this motivation for training.  Some training can be accomplished with toys or attention, but training with food will provide faster results.  Our dogs have to eat, so we might as well make use of that and have them work for their food!

What supplies do I need for class?

Supplies will depend on the class that you registered for and a supply list will be included in your email class confirmation.  For all classes, if your dog pulls strongly on leash, you will want to arrive to class in a front-attaching harness or head halter.  Both can be found online and at most pet stores.  You will also need small, pea-sized pieces of high value food rewards to last a full hour, water, and a water bowl for your pet.  Some classes may require mats or clickers, but you will be notified ahead of time about any special gear that is needed.

Where are training classes held?

We currently have two training locations in the Greater New Orleans area: the Louisiana SPCA and Jefferson Feed Pet and Garden Center. We offer Puppy Preschool, Basic Manners, Manners Plus and Reactive Rover.  On our class registration form, you can view a list of class locations and start dates.

What are the qualifications of Louisiana SPCA trainers?

Dog training is an unregulated industry.  That means that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer without ever completing a certification course or having any formal knowledge about animal behavior.  Since we are dedicated to offering quality classes to our students, all Louisiana SPCA trainers have completed a certification course or are working towards obtaining a certification.  In addition to that, our trainers continue to develop professionally by attending webinars, training workshops, and seminars to maintain up to date in advances in the sciences of animal learning.

How do I qualify for a training class discount?

A discount on Basic Manners can be obtained by attending our Intro to Dog Training workshop, held quarterly.  In addition, Manners I is offered in Large Group format for a reduced fee, and we offer discounts for dogs adopted from our facility within the past 3 months. 

If I took a Basic Obedience Class somewhere else, will that count as the prerequisite for Manners Plus?

Yes - completion of a comparable entry level training class is sufficient for enrollment in Manners II, Canine Good Citizen, and Agility for Fun.  You may be asked to submit video footage of required skills before enrolling in the class.

Do you provide special accommodations for reactive or shy dogs?

We strive to make class a positive experience for all involved, which means sometimes making special accommodations for shy or stressed dogs.  Visual barriers are sometimes used for dogs that feel overwhelmed by the group setting with the goal of having them gain confidence each week and eventually participate outside of the barrier.  If your dog is reactive on leash to other dogs, you will be excused from class and asked to enroll in Reactive Rover before joining in a Manners I class.

What are the vaccination requirements to participate in classes or private training?

All dogs must be up to date with age appropriate Rabies and DHPP vaccinations prior to participating in a group training class.  Puppy Preschool is the exception and puppies must have at least 2 DHPP vaccinations before joining the class. 

Do you offer classes for aggressive dogs?

Dogs that are aggressive to people or other dogs are not appropriate for our group classes.  Please check out our private training offerings for help with aggression.

How do I register for a class?

You can find our training class registration form HERE.  

I can no longer attend the class that I registered for.  What should I do?

Class deposits are non-refundable, but can be transferred to another class once per calendar year.  Class fees are not refunded should you choose to drop from a class for any reason.

It is the responsibility of each student in a group class to be on time and present for each class. Make up classes are not available for missed classes; however, an abbreviated private lesson may be available at a reduced cost. Please contact us for details.

We will allow a student to transfer to a different class one time in the same calendar year. Requests for transfer must be received at minimum 72 hours before the start of the first class of the registered session. 

All scheduled private lessons must be canceled or rescheduled a minimum of 24 hours prior to the scheduled lesson time. Late cancellations and "no-shows" will be charged at the normal rate. We allow for one re-schedule only per appointment.

Private lesson packages must be completed within 8 weeks beginning on the date of the first lesson. If the lessons are not completed within this time, it will be at the discretion of the assigned trainer and The Louisiana SPCA Behavior and Training department to determine if the reason for the delay was warranted. Clients that wish to extend their end training date must submit an email statement requesting a delay, including the reason for the delay, and the proposed date to resume training. Clients must receive a reply statement from the Louisiana SPCA permitting them to extend their training date.

If you have questions or concerns, please email training@la-spca.org before dropping from a class.

Do you offer make-ups for missed classes?

We do not currently offer make-up classes.  If you must miss a class, please email your instructor and they will send you the homework for that night so that you can be caught up for the following week.  Instructors are available via email for support in between classes.

How do I schedule private training?

Please visit our Private Training Page and complete the Private Training Request Form.  For in-home training, a trainer will be in contact with you within 72 hours to help you schedule your initial consult.  For in-shelter training, you may choose an appointment date and time on the form and you will receive further instructions within 72 hours of filling out the registration form.  You will be charged a non-refundable deposit for in-shelter private training, and the remaining balance will be due at the time of your appointment.

Are there discounts available for private training?

You can schedule in-shelter private training for a steep discount on our private training fees.  In-shelter sessions are on set days and times throughout the month and can be scheduled HERE.  We also offer our group classes in a private format in-shelter for $250 for the 4 or 5 week session.

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