Your First Class

Instructor working individually
with handler who joined class
after usual start date


Please contact us by email or telephone if you are interested in joining Four Paws. Don't just turn up, unless you simply want to view a class.

What to bring

Our suggestions, below, will help you make the best of your training from day one. But don't worry if there is something new to you, your trainer can tell you what equipment is best for your dog when you meet.

Clearing up after your dog

Please bring something to clear up after your dog if they make a mess.

Vaccination certificate

Please bring your dog's vaccination record to the first session.

Appropriate clothing

We train outside, and in most weathers, so please dress appropriately for this, especially if it is cold or raining! (Occasionally, we cancel due to poor weather. Please look out for an email or telephone message, and check the front page of the website, if the weather is bad. We will use one or all of those methods to get a message to you.)

About leads

Good leads for training are material (or soft leather) leads, five to seven feet long. Leads shorter than this are unsuitable for heel and recall exercises. Some pet shops only stock short leads (or retractable ones), but many internet sites sell suitable length leads.

Chain leads, all-in-one collar with attached lead, and retractable leads are not suitable for training classes. Rope leads are okay, but not as kind on the hands as leads described as weave, webbing, webbed, canvas, nylon, or synthetic.

Do make sure your lead is strong enough for your dog, and not fraying at any point.

We have some leads available for loan. Please return them. In the classes, we may use very long leads for some training exercises. The trainer will supply these.

About collars

Nylon, woven and leather collars or harnesses are fine. No check chains please. Half checks are permitted.

Being careful to reward Sit
with dog still in position

Do ensure your dog's collar is fitted well. The collar should not be too tight – you should be able to slip two fingers between the dog's neck and the collar. It should not be too loose – your dog should not be able to get out of the collar by pulling backwards.

Please bring any special training aids if you already use them, such as a head collar, special harness or double lead. However, it would be good to bring an ordinary collar or harness as well.

About rewards

You and your voice! Your pleasure is one of the best rewards for your dog. And it's always available, and free. Try praising your dog with a soft but high pitched, encouraging voice. And if your dog likes cuddles ... go ahead! However, we encourage you to bring two other types of reward as well:

Tit-bits. Bring some easily handled tit-bits which you can keep in your pocket. Commercial tit-bits are fine. Other possibilities are cheese, ham, bacon, or sausage. Pieces about 1/4 inch cubed are good. DO NOT bring tit-bits that crumble because they fall on the ground and distract all the dogs. (A word of warning: check the ingredients of commercial tit-bits. If you want to protect your dog's teeth, avoid giving many tit-bits containing sugar.)

Toys. Bring a toy or two. Please bring non-squeaky toys only. Even if your dog doesn't use toys, you could still bring one – perhaps we can teach you how to use play. We will have a supply of toys available, but your own dog's favourite is best!

Your trainer will show you how to use rewards to train your dog.


When you arrive at our venue, find the canopied stall in the car park, and introduce yourself. We will register you, and direct you to your first class ... and then you can go and enjoy training your dog!

It helps if you avoid being close to other dogs until you get to know them. Some dogs find socialising difficult when they first come, and they need space.

Please keep your dog on a lead whenever you are in the car park. That area is not secure.


An example of an exercise in a first class:

All our exercises have a purpose, but we also try and include an element of fun! In this group, we looked at recall in the very first class. We vary our exercises regularly, so you may not do the exercise shown here.
In time, we show you how to recall successfully, even under distraction. One of the ways we teach, and test, recall past distractions is using Temptation Alley – where you recall your dog through a line of toys and food bowls (eventually containing food). In this group, we tried Temptation Alley straight away!

With novice dogs, we may use a long lead for safety. A trainer held the dog securely but in a non-threatening way, by using string through the collar. The handler called their dog past the distractions. This amazing dog succeeded in his first class ...


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