There is great joy in sharing your life with your canine “best friend,” and with good care and good health, your lives together can be in excess of a decade or more. That’s a big part of your life. How do you make that really count for quality and fun? It’s all about the time you spend together!
Life with your dog can be a great deal more than just “sit” and “stay.” There is a world of great activities and sports the two of you can share. Many of these are offered, right here, at the Richmond SPCA!
Training classes and bonding go hand in paw! Getting off on a good start during those first weeks and months of learning is critical for a puppy and the road you will travel together. That’s why we offer two puppy classes based on age. Good Start Puppy is for little guys under 16 weeks old and Surviving Adolescence is for puppies between 4-6 months of age.
For dogs over 6 months old, Canine Manners will provide you and your dog with many of the training knowledge and “tools” you’ll need to know to effectively teach throughout your years together. And, yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! We welcome you and your “mature” dog to Canine Manners!
So, what’s the next adventure for you and your dog? Check out the many options that include Agility, Flyball, Rally Obedience, Click for Competition, Making Fido Famous: Tricks or Advanced Trickery, or our newest class, Treibball! See descriptions below.
What does your dog like to do? Run, jump, fetch, herd, focus? If you don’t know, try some classes and see what makes those eyes light up! Most dogs are much more intelligent than we imagine. You’ll be surprised to find abilities you didn’t know he had, and you’ll discover the trainer in YOU! One of the greatest benefits of dog sports and training is deepening that life-long bond with your dog. Look for class start dates on our training calendar at www.richmondspca.org/classes, and most of all have fun!
Our newest sport – Triebball
Triebball was developed in Germany for dogs who love to have a job! This is a game for dogs who thrill at the chance to focus their herding instincts. Dogs are taught to "herd" big balls (think of a Yoga or Pilates ball) from one area to another. Individual and team competition lead to a great sport for both dogs and trainers.
Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. The Richmond SPCA offers a wide variety of Agility classes that are designed for all levels. It's great fun for both dog and handler and is a wonderful way to bond with your canine companion!
This is the ideal game for dogs who love to jump and retrieve balls! Flyball is a fast-paced team sport in which teams of dogs race, in a relay, against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of 4 hurdles to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball.
What’s rally obedience? See how much fun you could be having in this popular and fast-growing dog sport. Rally Obedience (also known as Rally or Rally-O) is not your usual obedience training. Instead of waiting for the judge's orders, the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. The course consists of 10 to 20 signs that instruct the team what to do. Unlike traditional obedience, handlers are allowed to encourage their dogs while they complete the course. Dogs should already have knowledge of basic commands.
Click for Competition
This series offers a number of rotating courses focused on trainer handling and obedience work:
- Choose to Heel: skills covered include rhythm heeling, fronts, finishes, on and off leash, lateral moves, pivots, moving down, hand signals and more
- Positions, Jumping and Stays: skills covered include sit, down, drop at distance, stand, hand signals, jumping, targeting, sit stay, down stay, out of sight stay, recall and more
- Directions, Retrieving and Scentwork: skills covered include targeting, retrieve on the flat, hold, scent retrieve, directional retrieve, directional targeting and more
Making Fido Famous: Tricks and Advanced Trickery
Our introductory tricks class, followed by Advanced Trickery, is a great place to start on your road to “Making Fido Famous.” We will review the basics of clicker training (recommended as a method, but not required) and discuss how to teach your pet all manner of tricks (wave, speak, sneeze, rollover, spin, back up, etc). Dogs who already know some tricks will get to show off and then get help in taking their tricks to the next level. Dogs should be friendly with other dogs as well as with humans (or easily managed when around both). Who knows? There may be opportunities to show off in public and be on TV! Some of our students have been seen in local commercials.
Gail Bird Necklace is the education & training administrator at the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be