DOGGY DAY CARE / PLAY GROUPS / BETCO – DOG BEHAVIOR,/TRAINING, AGILITY & OTHER DOG SPORTS!

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Claudia Sihler
CPDT-KSA
Phone (907) 357-2521

1400 Regine Ave
Wasilla, Alaska  99654




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How Does A VIRTUAL CLASS Work?

Why VIRTUAL CLASSES?

How Does A VIRTUAL CLASS Work?

What Will The Weekly VIRTUAL (Online) Meeting Look Like?

What are the advantages of a VIRTUAL CLASS?

I really wanted to come to class because of the social interaction and distractions a class environment provides. How could a virtual class still help with this?

What Equipment Do I Need To Participate In A VIRTUAL CLASS?

What If I Miss A Week And Can't Make The Virtual Class Meeting?

How Can The Instructor Help Me with Training Issues Without Meeting Me and My Dog In Person?

Will you switch a class from VIRTUAL back to in-person between sessions?

Can I still participate in the STAR Program by AKC?

Why VIRTUAL CLASSES?

The pandemic of COVID-19 inspired us into finding a way how to safely continue classes without the actual meeting in the classroom. So we looked for and found a concept we feel will give clients a very valid alternative, especially while they are bound to stay home and need a way to keep themselves and their dogs busy.

These classes are now not only helping during the pandemic, but can also be very useful in the future for:

  • Rural areas and communities – Alaska has many of them!
  • People that are homebound due to an illness or injury
  • People who travel a lot and have a hard time being physically in the classroom for 6 weeks in a row, but could attend a virtual classroom
  • People with dogs that aren't suitable for a group class, but would still like to learn the basics of teaching their dogs manners or maybe try out a sport as an activity for their dog 

A class listed as a VIRTUAL CLASS will stay virtual for the whole set of 6 weeks, no matter if the pandemic situation changes.

A class listed as a regular class could change to a virtual class, if the situation warrants it. (pandemic, volcanic eruption … )

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How Does A VIRTUAL CLASS Work?

We are now offering online classes, so that students can attend from home or wherever they are at the time a class session is scheduled.

The class format will stay the same as before, with 1 one-hour session each week for six weeks, held at the same time. You will sign up and pay as usual for a 6 week class. Our payment structure and cancelation policies are the same for in person and online classes. We will take a maximum of 8 dogs into one online class. 

The instructor and students will participate in weekly online meetings, where everybody has the chance to be seen and to talk. You will see the instructor demonstrating exercises with a dog, and if there is time, students will also be able (but don't have to) show their dogs and maybe an exercise done with them. See below for a more detailed description of the format for a weekly online meeting.

During the week, students can practice at home like usual, communicate via Facebook in a closed group, write a question via email to the office and even video themselves to post it on Facebook.

The instructor will answer any class related questions or comments that came up during the week at the next week's session, to include everybody in the answers, especially for people who are not on Facebook and for questions emailed to the office.

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What Will The Weekly VIRTUAL (Online) Meeting Look Like?

The online meeting of one hour will look like this:

  • Questions and answers (Q/A): The first week of class the instructor will explain some rules of the classroom and everybody can test it and ask questions about the technicalities. The following weeks the students will review the last week and report or ask questions regarding the exercises at home. The instructor will answer question they received either through classroom chat, email, Facebook or right now from a participant.
  • New Exercises: The instructor will explain and demonstrate the new exercises for this week, using their own dog and showing which household props could be used, if needed. After each exercise, students will be able to try out the exercise immediately, while the instructor watches them. If there's time, some students may demonstrate to the class what they worked on with their dog, either to show their success or to show where they had difficulties.

The instructor will talk about the feature where applicable.

  • Q/A: The students get a chance to ask final questions about the new exercises or feature. The instructor will answer them right there.

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What are the advantages of a VIRTUAL CLASS?

  • There is no physical contact between the students or the dogs. This helps to limit spread disease (COVID-19), but also can help if you or your dog tend to get anxious in a group setting.
  • You can participate from anywhere. This could be at home, at a friend's house, on vacation or during a business trip in the evening at the hotel, even if you didn't bring the dog with you.
  • You will teach your dog new behaviors in a familiar environment, where learning is easier. Your dog can focus on the task rather than getting excited or worried about the environment.
  • You can see close-ups of the demonstrated exercises, like looking on the screen rather than sitting in the back row of a football game.
  • We don't need to see any health updates for your dog, since they are not coming to our facility!

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I really wanted to come to class because of the social interaction and distractions a class environment provides. How could a virtual class still help with this?

We are aware for the puppies you wanted the social interaction and for some of the adult dogs you wanted the distraction of other dogs and people being present.

We didn't want you to sit at home and do nothing, which is worse than being able to learn something new! Let's together use this opportunity to think outside the box!

  • We have changed the original Puppy Playtimes of each Puppy 1 Class session into a section of providing ideas for socialization without close contact to other dogs and people.
  • We have changed the original Puppy Playtime of each Puppy 2 Class session into a section of providing ideas on how to exercise your dog physically and/or mentally at home.
  • Especially in Grade School, where a lot of exercises evolve around the distraction of the other teams in the class, we have changed out these exercise with other ways of how to add distractions in your home environment and improve or prove your dog's behavior.
  • Especially the Foundation Class will benefit from going virtual by taking the distractions away, while teaching new concepts to the owners and new behaviors to the dogs.
  • While we canceled our Agility Classes, we are offering Treibball as the sport that can easily be taught at home with limited space.

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What Equipment Do I Need To Participate In A VIRTUAL CLASS?

  • For the session itself:

Technical equipment: You only need a smartphone, iPhone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer with Windows or Mac, as long as they are equipped with a speaker. If you also have a camera and microphone, you can be seen and heard by your classmates.

We will give you a link to download an App called Zoom. It downloads in minutes. No need to login or sign up, just join a session when it happens. Zoom is very user friendly. 

Zoom allows people in the "Meeting" to see each other, or not. Every participant can choose to be seen via a camera and separately choose to be heard or not by the others at any time (if you are equipped with camera and microphone). Participants can also ask questions and comment in writing via a chat, which the instructor will answer (no camera or microphone needed). 

Only one person at a time will be heard by the others, to avoid noise clutter. People can turn off their microphone when they are not speaking to the group and only turn it on to speak to the group. That way the class won't hear any background noises or when the student sneezes. J The same can be done with the camera. If you don't want your class mates to see you until you get into a different room, just leave the camera off. You can still hear already what is talked about in that session.

Training Equipment: There will be short breaks during the session just like at a real class where students will have time to practice immediately what they saw demonstrated. You will receive a prep email that will specify what you need to prepare for that. You choose if you will be visible to the instructor while you are practicing or not. These breaks will be followed by a Q/A time to discuss what happened.

  • For during the week:

Class curriculum: You will receive the class curriculum as a PDF file to download at home. Please understand - YOU PAID for this curriculum! Please do not publish the curriculum or parts of it on social media and do not forward the file to anyone. You can also always pick up a hard copy at the office. 

Clicker: For Puppy 1 or Foundation Class, you will receive a Tagulator from us, which is a clicker with a chain of beads and a carabiner. You can stop by at the facility while Amanda (our office manager) is in the office and pick it up together with a hard copy of your class curriculum. Call the office to find out when Amanda will be there and she can prepare the items for you in the entry area. You don't need to see or meet Amanda.

Facebook: We will start a Facebook support group, where students can post videos of themselves working with their dogs, ask questions and bring in ideas (e.g. what item from your household could be used to help with an exercise). Training questions will be answered by the instructor. This group will be closed and only available for our classes.

You don't need to be on Facebook to be part of the class. The instructor will discuss any common questions that came up on Facebook at the next week's session, and you can ask questions by sending an email to the office.

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What If I Miss A Week And Can't Make The Virtual Class Meeting?

We are really hoping that you take your participation in the virtual classroom as serious as you would have made it work to COME to class. The virtual classroom will not be the same without you! There will be several levels of support available:  

  • Your class curriculum: You will receive our detailed class curriculum as a PDF file to download at home. All exercises are well explained for each week and there is an additional section called "Good Behavior At Home", giving you specific ideas on what and how to practice with your dog at home. There is also a lot of extra information with practical tips and learning knowledge included in your booklet.

Please understand - YOU PAID for this curriculum! Please do not publish the curriculum or parts of it on social media and do not forward the file to anyone. You can also always pick up a hard copy at the office. 

  • Facebook: We will start a private Facebook Group for your class for students only. In this group, you will find the recorded sessions or the links to them, can exchange questions, post short training videos and ask our instructors training related questions. 

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How Can The Instructor Help Me with Training Issues Without Meeting Me and My Dog In Person?

You might be surprised seeing other people in your class having the same problems you have with your dog. Our instructors are all very experienced and able to help you, even though you and your dog are not present. In doubt, we instructors will contact each other and brainstorm together how we can help you.

Please keep in mind that our classes will cover regular training issues and manners, but can't in detail answer questions about behavior problems like aggression towards other dogs or people, separation anxiety, or excessive barking. Your instructor might be able to help you with a brief answer, but it is also possible that your dog's problem behavior needs to be addressed in form of a consult. Contact us about our consult solutions!

The instructor can demonstrate with their life dog during the online meeting, how to help your dog to be successful in a different way, if the way you tried didn't work for you.

You can ask the instructor either during the virtual meeting, by sending an email to the office or by posting your question in the Facebook group. The instructor will usually answer your question latest at the beginning of the next week's session.

The best way would be to have somebody videotape you and either post that to Facebook, or upload it to YouTube and then emailing us a link with an explanation of what exactly you want to know. You will need a YouTube channel for that. It's easy and free, but you will need to register with YouTube and create a password with them.

Can I still participate in the STAR™ Program by AKC

We did send a request in to the CGC department (Canine Good Citizen) of the AKC (American Kennel Club), asking if their STAR Puppy Program could be applied to online classes. Their simple answer was NO. We have for now taken the STAR Puppy "Package" off our web page.

For puppies that have been at in-person classes for at least 5 weeks before we had to close our facility to the public, we will evaluate them further in-home and finish their papers to our best ability.

For puppies who did not have the opportunity to come to at least 5 classes before switching to virtual classes, we will refund the $20 or turn the payment into a credit in their account with us.

Will you switch a class from VIRTUAL back to in-person between sessions?

No. A class that has started as a virtual class will finish as such, no matter if any mandatory restrictions will be lifted during that time. We will gladly change some of the future classes back to in-person classes, but only if we can give enough notice to everybody.

This allows people to sign up for a virtual class even if they are never able to participate in person for various reasons. We might continue offering some classes virtually in the future if the demand is there, e.g. for rural communities in Alaska.

We could imagine starting some first in-person classes with a maximum of only 4 participants, if the restrictions will only be lifted slowly and to support everybody's need for more personal space. FEELING safe has been and always will be our priority, for humans and dogs!

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