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Dog Training--Essential Life Skills

Essential Life Skills Dog Training Program

The Bow Valley SPCA is offering Dog training Classes that will be focused on teaching “Essential Life Skills” to dogs and their human companion(s). The course will be held at the Carla Cumming Sojonky Adoption Centre from 10:00 am to 10:50 am for 4 weeks. The cost is $150. This course is for dogs 6 months or older. 100% of your registration fee goes to the SPCA. So not only are you helping your dog by attending but you are helping our dogs too!

Classes will be limited to 5 dogs and registration is on a first come first served basis.
(Please note that your registration will not be considered complete, until payment has been made.)

Essential Life Skills classes will be scheduled approximately every six weeks (see the schedule below). We will also be offering Enhanced Life Skills for graduates of the Essentials class and Ultimate Life Skills for rock star dogs that cannot get enough training.

Our dog training programs are designed to fit into an overall educational effort to help dog owners to have healthy and positive dog/people relationships. This effort starts with regular free seminars offered by the Bow Valley SPCA on “How To Choose A Puppy”. The next stage, and one encouraged by the SPCA, is puppy socialization. The Canmore Veterinary Hospital and Bow River Veterinary Center offer complimentary classes to their clients.

Course Description

Essential Life Skills

Want a dog who doesn’t jump all over your guests, and won’t try to steal your dinner off your plate? A dog who comes when called and doesn’t take you for a walk? And a dog who’s happy at the vets and the groomers? Then our Essentials Life Skills class is for you.

It’s designed for friendly adolescent and adult dogs who could use some help polishing up their manners. We teach the basic behaviors using fun exercises and games so that you can have a dog who is truly a joy to live with! We’ll also show you how to teach your dog a trick or two to impress your friends.

Here’s what we’ll cover

  1. Sit, down, stay, recall, touch/station
  2. How dogs learn
  3. All about gear: front clip harnesses, muzzles, haltis
  4. Tricks
  5. Life situations: going to the vets, groomers, leaving your dog, crating your dog.

What you’ll need

  • A dog who loves people and other dogs.
  • Treats
  • A puzzle feeder such as a Kong, filled with your dog’ favourite
  • And a fun outlook because we’re all about making training fun for everyone!

Duration: 4 weeks

Session length: 50 minutes

Class size: 5 dogs

Age range: 6 months and over

Pre-requisites: No previous training required

Owners must sign a waiver, including agreeing not to use aversive/punishment based methods at home.

Location: Playroom at Carla Cumming Sojonky Adoption Centre

Current Booking: Click here

Essential Life Skills is part of a program of classes that are offering. Watch out for:

  • Enhanced Life Skills for graduates of the Essentials Class
  • Ultimate Life Skills for rock star dogs who just can’t get enough training.


Click here to see the class schedule for 2019

About your trainers

Kate Barker

Kate is a dog enthusiast and a senior volunteer with the Bow Valley SPCA. For the past two years, she has instructed the Open Paw dog-training program for new volunteers. This program was designed specifically for shelter dogs and focuses on the benefits of positive reinforcement training in a high stress situation such as an animal shelter.

Kate also works directly with the dogs in the shelter until they find their forever homes. She focuses on basic commands and loose leash walking but loves introducing dogs to agility obstacles. You can also find Kate at many SPCA events, introducing the dogs and talking about the benefits of force-free training methods.

Cindy Hui

As a senior volunteer with the Bow Valley SPCA, you can often find Cindy running around the Carla Cumming Sojonky Adoption Centre spending time with the various dogs (and cats) while they are in our care. Along with Open Paw training and dog play group facilitation, she is a major contributor to the rehabilitation and stress reduction programs for some of the more shy or stressed dogs that reside at the Centre.