Common Questions About Classes

Have questions? Here are the answers to some questions we hear often.

What are classes like?

For most topics, one instructor explains while another instructor demonstrates. (Sometimes an instructor will demonstrate the topic using a student’s dog, because the instructor’s dog can make it look too easy.) Then the class practices the topic. Because we have more than one trainer per class, when students are practicing we have many hands to help, answer questions, and give tips. Sometimes a topic is mostly lecture and discussion. Which means that students have an opportunity to practice teaching their dogs to relax and be well behaved in a group situation!

Which class is right for my dog ?

If you have a puppy, 16 weeks of age or younger, then our puppy class is the way to start your dog out on the right paw. Dogs older than 16 weeks should start in one of our basic classes. Our basic class teaches you how to teach your dog the skills needed to succeed in our upper level classes, such as the Canine Good Citizen, Intermediate, or Tricks.

Won't my dog be distracted in a group class?

Yes, and that’s why we hold group classes. A dog who will listen and respond to you only in the quiet of your home does not have real world skills. We want you to be able to get your dog’s attention even when they are distracted, so you can have a well-behaved companion wherever you are.

Should I take a class or do private training?

We offer both group and private training because what’s best for you and your dog depends on you and your dog! Group classes are more economical and cover lots of topics with opportunities to practice and ask questions. Being on the field with other dogs provides the chance to learn and work with distractions around. We also have multiple trainers at each class, so that as you progress a trainer is available to step in to give tips and answer questions. Private training is one-on-one with Kate, a trainer and co-owner of Kindred Spirits. Kate can personalize training sessions for your questions and your dog’s needs. You can set up training sessions at your home, at Kindred Spirits (when group classes are not being held), or even meeting somewhere to go on a walk. Still not sure? Call or email–talk to us! We can help.

I want to take a class, now what?

To register for a class, come to our training field 10-15 minutes early on the day and time the first class starts. We do registrations at the first class meeting, on the field.

  • Your dog must be current on his vaccinations, so please bring proof of vaccinations with you to the first class.
  • Payment may be made at the beginning of the first class with cash, check, or credit card.
  • Bring your dog on the leash and collar that you’re currently using. (Except, the only leash we do not allow on the training field are the retractable/flexi leashes—just a standard fixed length leash is great.)

If a class does not have a start date listed, then let us know you’d like us to schedule a class. Click on the “Interested? Let Us Know” tab near the bottom of each page about a class. Fill out the form to let us know which class you’d like to attend.

I want to do private training, now what?

Contact Kate by calling (760) 630-4824 or emailing her at Let her know what you’d like to teach your dog or what issues you’d like to work on and when would be most convenient for you. Kate will then contact you to schedule an appointment. Visit our private training page for more information.

What if I have to miss a week?

We understand that life happens. We will do our best to help you get the information for that class. One option is to check our calendar and find another class that’s covering the material. For example, if you need to miss a Basic class on week 3, check our calendar to see if there is a different Basic class on week 3–you’re welcome to join that class for that session. Just let us know when you arrive that you’re dropping in on a different class. If there isn’t another class on the right week to drop in on, come a few minutes early the next week and one of the trainers can give you a quick catch up on the topics we covered.

What if I have to miss a few classes or start a class and can't finish?

Life happens! Let us know and talk to us. If you are ready for classes again, we can transfer you into another class.

What are weekly class emails?

Group classes include professional emails to help your dog progress and cover problem solvingAfter each class, we send an email with a short review of each exercise. We’ve found it makes a big difference in how much progress the dog makes!

What if I want to attend a "Beyond basic class" but prefer a specific time?

If you want to take a class and a particular day or time works best for you, tell us! Could you drop us a note and let us know which class you’re interested in and what days and times work for you? If people want an evening intermediate or a Saturday afternoon CGC, we’ll schedule one.

The cookies available in classes, what are they?

For anyone who hasn’t been to a class yet, we have jars of homemade dog cookies at each class. They are there for students to grab a handful when teaching or working their dog. You’re welcome to bring treats if your dog likes any in particular, though most dogs simply go nuts for our cookies! We frequently get asked what they are.

The cookies are homemade for us by Jill Gibbs, which is why they’re called jillcookies! She lives in Montana and makes dog cookies in her home kitchen in her spare time, using human grade ingredients from her grocery store. Jill has a variety of flavors, many are grain-free, and all of them are delicious. She mixes the dough, rolls them out, and then either cuts them into large shaped cookies or small square “training treats.” They are baked, then dehydrated so they last longer.cranberryjillcookie

If your dog drools for jillcookies, we often have bags for sale for Jill at the field, they are $7 a bag, $8 for the grain-free flavors. If you’d like to order from her directly, message “jillcookies” on facebook or email her at

What if it rains?

We do not hold classes in the rain. If it is raining, call us before you leave your house. We try to make the decision about whether or not to hold class as early as possible, but we also hate to cancel/postpone classes. If class is cancelled, we will post on Facebook, send an email, and try to call everyone. If that happens, we’ll add a week onto the end of class so you get the same number of sessions.

What about holidays and no class dates?

There will be no classes:

  • Saturday, May 14 – we’ll be hosting a rattlesnake avoidance clinic
  • Saturday, May 28 – Memorial Day weekend
  • Monday, May 30 – Memorial Day
  • Saturday, July 2 – 4th of July weekend
  • Monday, July 4 – 4th of July

Is my dog too old?

The adage is wrong–it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. We have no upper age limit for dogs attending classes. At this time our current record holder started classes when she was fourteen!

My dog is aggressive, what do I do?

Dogs showing aggression towards people or other dogs are not allowed in a group class unless pre-screened and approved by a Kindred Spirits trainer. We must be assured that the dog is not a danger to anyone else in class. If a dog cannot attend a group class, contact us. It doesn’t mean that your dog isn’t trainable. We can discuss private training, an evaluation, or a behavior consultation.

My dog is fearful, can anything help?

Absolutely! Lots can be done to help fearful dogs make progress toward having less anxiety. Working with your dog increases communication, builds a vocabulary, increases trust, and the structure reduces uncertainty. We can’t change who the dog is, but there’s a lot we can do to make them more comfortable and less anxious.

Can my children attend?

Children are allowed to attend classes, but our classes are geared for adult learning. We do have rules for children that must be adhered to for everyone’s safety – especially the safety of the kids.

  • Children must remain within arm’s reach of their parents at all times.
  • Children must leave other dogs alone. They are not to pet other dogs. Even if dogs are friendly, other dogs are at class to learn.
  • Dogs chase things that move–especially children–so kids must walk, not run, at all times.
  • Children may participate in training with a parent, but the parent is the primary trainer.
  • The creek and pond at Kindred Spirits is protected wetlands and is not fenced off. Please keep your child up on the top level of the yard and do not allow him/her to go down to the pond.
  • Under no circumstances shall a child be dropped off at Kindred Spirits without a parent.

Thank you for allowing Kindred Spirits Dog Training to continue to allow children in our training classes while maintaining a safe learning environment for all.

Do you offer rattlesnake avoidance training?

We do! The rattlesnake avoidance clinic for 2018 has been scheduled for May 18, 19, and 20. The clinic went exceedingly well in 2016 and 2017. Over 225 dogs were trained and we were very impressed with High On Kennels’ training, timing, and caring. Most importantly, dogs who had been trained by High On Kennels in the past and came back for a refresher had a very good rate of remembering that snakes are not to be played with.

I have a cat, can I bring it to class?

That would be great–we could use it as a practice distraction for dogs! (Only kidding!) More seriously, the theory of interrupting unwanted behavior and teaching still applies to kitties. You can teach cats to come, fetch, and play games. We also have some articles for cat owners.

Not sure what to do?

Give us a call or send us an email!  We’re honest and we’ve seen it all, we’ll be happy to advise you.

Most issues we are contacted about are helped or even solved by basic obedience and exercise. We have private training for issues not covered, scheduling convenience, and sessions for what you and your dog need. Behavior consults are available for more severe issues.

Talk to us, let us know what’s going on with your dog. We’re here to help.

(760) 630-4824 or

Have a question that isn’t here? We want to hear it! Contact us