What training methods do you use?

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There is no one right way to train a dog, as all dogs have different personalities and will learn differently. At Best Paw Forward, we will determine together what works best for you and your dog based on his age, breed, temperament and abilities. We believe strongly in science-based, tested and proven positive reinforcement training methods. We think that training should be fun and rewarding for both the dog and the handler and will show you how to implement play and joy into your training sessions. We stand behind all of our wonderful graduates who demonstrate  how effective our training methods are.


How many dogs are in each class?

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We believe in giving each student individual attention and aim to set all of our student up for success,  so we keep our classes small. Puppy Kindergarten is limited to 8 students, and the remainder of our classes have a maximum of 6. Our Scent Detection and Reactive Rover classes are limited to 4 students, as the dogs are worked individually, so more time is needed for each one. There will be at least one assistant trainer at most classes to offer more guidance and individual help to those who need it.


What do I need to know for the first classes?

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That training will be the most rewarding thing you do with your dog and we will encourage you to have fun while doing it, but it takes commitment and lots of practice. You will receive homework each week and you will need to practice daily with your dog to see results. If you are registered in our Puppy Kindergarten, Basic Manners, Confident Canine, Level 1 Scent Detection or Reactive Rover classes, dogs do not attend on week 1. This is a lesson just for you. Your class will be once a week at the same time for the course of the class. Our classes are held at our training center at 1680 Northfield Road, Nanaimo.


How do I pay for classes / training packages

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You can register for the class or training package of your choice directly on our website. For payment, we accept cash, cheque, e-transfer or credit card. Cash and cheque payments can be dropped off at our training center between the hours of 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Friday. We cannot accept debit or credit card payments at the training center, so if you wish to pay with e-transfer or credit card, just email us and we will send you instructions.


Can my kids come to the classes?

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All family members are  welcome at class, as it is important for your dogs’ learning that everyone involved in training is on the same page. While we do encourage children to come to class, we find that those who are old enough and able to participate with your dog are most successful. Children that are too young to participate often struggle to be still and quiet for an hour-long class unless there are 2 adults present. If there are other family members, friends or neighbours who are involved in caring for and training your dog, they are welcome to come too; we have plenty of room!


Where are your classes held?

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Our training center is located at 1680 Northfield Road. We share a building with Dog N’ Suds small dog and puppy daycare and are across the street from the main Dog N’ Suds building. Our 2000 square foot  training center provides us with plenty of room for classroom instruction and is the only one in Nanaimo with 1/2 inch sealed rubber flooring for your dog’s safety. Most of our classes are held at this facility, with the exception of our Outdoor Adventure classes, which are held at different locations around the city.


What is your vaccination policy?

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At Best Paw Forward, we believe strongly that all dog owners should educate themselves about vaccinations so that they can make informed choices for their pets. As puppies can be more susceptible to certain diseases, we require 2 sets of the core vaccines (distemper and parvovirus)  for Puppy Kindergarten and Puppy Socialization classes.

For the remainder of our classes, we require that the core vaccinations of distemper, parvovirus and rabies have been administered within the last three years. We will also accept serum antibody titer tests. If you choose not to vaccinate your dog after discussion with your veterinarian, we want to support your decision, so please discuss this with us so that we can make an informed decision that supports the health of ALL of the students in our classes.


What makes Best Paw Forward unique?

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Most in the dog training world have moved away from outdated “dominance-theory” training and toward science-based, tested and proven positive reinforcement training methods, which we are so pleased about. In addition to training through positive reinforcement, we also focus on helping you build the best possible relationship with your dog; we want your dog to see YOU as the best and most reinforcing thing in the world and will show you how to create this bond. We strongly believe that training should be enjoyable and fun for everyone involved and will teach you how to make play a part of your training and reinforcement for your dog. The results are a dog who does exactly what you want when you ask because he truly loves working with you.

Our classes are taught in our 2000 square foot training center in central Nanaimo at 1680 Northfield Rd. No need to do class in a barn or out in the rain – we have a large heated and air-conditioned building with thick rubber flooring for your dog’s safety.


When is a good time to start training my dog?

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NOW! There is no time like the present to start training your dog, whether you have a new puppy, or an older dog whose behaviour you are looking to guide in a different direction. Any time we interact with our dogs, we are essentially training them, and must always keep in mind that the longer we let undesirable behaviour continue, the more habitual it becomes for our dogs. While it is not true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, it is infinitely easier to start off creating good habits from the beginning, rather than trying to correct them after they are established.

If possible, it is best to have a trainer come to your home for an in-home lesson before you get your dog. We will give you lots of tips on proofing your house to make the first few days go as smoothly as possible. You may also choose to have a trainer come to your house as soon as you bring your dog home to show you what is important to work on first and set you up for more success when you do come to group classes. Once your dog has had two sets of core vaccinations, he is ready for class!


What if I need to miss a class?

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It is ideal and you will see the most success in your training if you come to every class. However, we realize that life often brings the unexpected, so if you do have to miss a class, you will still receive your homework handout and can practice the lessons at home with your dog.

We require that everyone attend Weeks 1 and 2 of their class. These are the most important, as we introduce foundations that you will need to succeed in the remaining classes. Please keep this in mind when registering for class.

The classes are as much (if not more) for you as they are for your dog, so, if your dog gets sick or is unable to attend class for any reason, we strongly encourage you to come without him. This way, you can still watch and absorb the class instruction and then take what you learned home to practice with your dog after class.

If you have any more questions that you don’t see addressed here, please contact us.