Puppy Life Skills
Building Confident and Resilient Puppies

Puppy Life Skills is a class designed for young puppies to meet their special needs for exploring the world in a safe manner. We focus on socialization and habituation exercises designed to help your puppy develop into a confident and resilient dog. We use choice and safe, effective positive reinforcement techniques to help your puppy learn effectively.


  • This class includes 4 sessions (1 hour each) focusing on:
  • Habituation exercises – textures, movement, novel objects, sound
  • Socialization – to people and dogs
  • Puppy behaviour concerns (jumping up, barking, nipping and chewing etc.)
  • Establishing effective communication with your puppy
  • This is not a puppy play class – but where appropriate, brief curated play sessions will be included at the end of each class. Attendees have the choice to participate in these or not as they see fit. During play sessions we discuss topics like healthy play styles, canine body language, how it intervene if play goes bad.



  • Puppies must be 7 to 20 weeks of age at the time of enrolment.
  • First set of vaccines administered at least one week prior to first session

Download the Puppy Life Skills Information Sheet here: PLS Class

Concerned about bringing a young puppy to classes before all the vaccinations are completed?  See the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior Position Statement on early puppy socialization here: https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Puppy_Socialization_Position_Statement_Download_-_10-3-14.pdf


Canine Life Skills
Basic Obedience and Manners for Family Dogs

Open to all ages of dogs. This class is appropriate for:

  • puppies just getting started with classes,
  • dogs and handlers that would like to go back to basics and strengthen skills
  • building a good foundation for sports classes



This class includes 6 (1 hour) sessions focusing on:

  • Basic training techniques – learn how to train your dog more effectively
  • Building rock solid focus
  • Good manners: greeting dogs and humans, leave it, drop it
  • Obedience: sit, down, stay, come, walk politely on leash
  • This or an equivalent class is required as a foundation for sports classes.



  • Vaccinations up to date
  • May be done concurrently or after Puppy Life Skills but PLS is not required
  • Dogs must be able to work around other dogs


Download the Canine Life Skills class information sheet here: CLS Foundations class instructions

Private Classes

Private classes are available for:

  • Behavioural issues / Reactive dogs
  • Special training needs or interests
  • Introduction to performance sports
  • Problem solving
  • Families with three or more people wanting to learn together
  • Anyone who prefers a private class for convenience of scheduling or other reasons,

Flexible scheduling is available. First session is one hour. Subsequent sessions may be half hour sessions if appropriate to the training goals.

Barn Hunt Classes

Barn Hunt Foundations (Level 1): a set of 6 sessions for dogs that have minimal to no experience with barn hunt and for experienced dogs that are struggling with trial performance in novice or higher classes and need to go back and improve foundation skills.


This class systematically addresses barn hunt foundation skills for dog and handler such as:

  • Introduction to quarry
  • Building value for the rat
  • Building search drive
  • Developing a strong and sustained indicator behaviour
  • Supporting a systematic search pattern
  • Building drive for tunnels
  • Recognizing your dog's motivators in Barn Hunt and using them effectively to provide reinforcement
  • Developing a tube removal strategy that does not demotivate your dog


Each class is limited to 5-6 dogs so you will have lots of time on course for practical experience.


  • none


Barn Hunt Novice (Level 2) - 6 sessions working on strengthening foundation skills and developing advanced skills.


This class is intended to build confidence in navigating actual novice courses and prepare you and your dog for trialing.

  • Barn Hunt - Aoibheann finds the rat.

    Novice courses - building confidence in running actual novice courses

  • Understanding scent movement and scent puzzles
  • Course analysis and confident course navigation
  • Introduction to crazy 8s
  • Understanding barn hunt rules


Each class is limited to 5-6 dogs so you will have lots of time on course for practical experience.


  • foundations class completed, or
  • already competing in Barn Hunt trials

Download the Barn Hunt Classes Information Sheet here: BH Foundations class instructions(1)


NOTE: Barn Hunt Classes are held at Barrett Dog Sports and Off Leash facility.  All class registrations for Barn Hunt classes and drop in events are handled through: bookings@barrettoffleash.com

Barn Hunt Workshops

Barn hunt workshops are 2-3 hour sessions held on an intermittent basis. Workshops are limited to 5-6 dogs.

Introduction to Barnhunt - for dogs and handlers new to Barn Hunt. Come learn about the sport. This workshop will introduce your dog to the gerbils and give you a chance to run an instinct course as well as a more advanced course. This is a great way to assess your dog’s natural interest in the sport.

Special Skills workshops - for dogs competing at Open and above.  Each session will focus on a specific skill necessary to help you and your dog to greater success in the sport.  Even if your dog is doing well, this is an opportunity to improve and fine tune your skills as a team. Focused topics include

  • Building better tunnel performance
  • Strengthening alerts and rebuilding fading alerts
  • Improving searching skills
  • Understanding scent movement
  • Course analysis
  • – and more.

Watch the Barrett Dog Sports and Wags to Wishes K9 Training facebook pages for information about upcoming workshops.

I am available to present workshops on request - Please contact me for further information.

Tricks Class

Teaching tricks brings many benefits to you and your dog.

  • Trick training helps you become a better trainer
  • Trick training is a great way to keep your dog's mind busy (and minimize annoying behaviours arising from boredom)
  • Tricks can help keep your dog physically active and build physical fitness and core strength
  • Trick training is a great way to have fun with your dog while he learns a whole set of new skills.
  • Framing behaviours as tricks, takes the pressure off and lets you enjoy the learning process more.  As a result, you benefit from a strengthened relationship with your dog.

Tricks classes are appropriate for both adult and older child handlers.

What do we mean by tricks?  We use a broad definition of 'tricks': in fact, any behaviour can be approached as a trick whether manners and obedience behaviours or games or more conventional 'tricks’.  Some are tricks that help your dog develop better core muscle strength, or better balance and others are simply fun things you can do to show off how great your dog is!

The class is intended to help you achieve the Novice Trick Dog Title (NTD) through "Do More with Your Dog".  Students with more advanced dogs may actually be able to achieve several titles throughout the class.  If you want to work towards the title, you will learn how to teach your dog the tricks needed for the title and I will sign off as witness as you and your dog develop proficiency.  There is a wide range of possible tricks you can choose from to earn the title and you can choose what tricks you want to work on.

Download the Tricks Class information sheet here: Tricks class instructions


Scent Work Classes

Canine scentwork is a rapidly growing sport arising from working scent detection dogs - dogs that detect bombs, drugs, cancers, bedbugs etc.  In sporting scentwork we use safe and pleasant scents like wintergreen, pine, anise etc - no need to deal with nasty things like bedbugs!

Doyle - sustained nose touch indicates the 'hot box'.

The sport of scentwork uses your dog’s incredible sense of smell to locate scent hidden in various containers and the environment.  Scentwork is a great sport for dogs that lack confidence as one dog works at a time and they are doing what comes naturally, making use of their most potent physical sense.

This is a great sport for people who do not have a lot of space to work in at home as you can practice in a small yard, or in your living room, or in dog friendly public spaces.

Offered based on demand. Minimum of 4 participants required.

Download the Scent Work Class Information sheet here: Scent Detection Class Information

Transforming your reactive dog

Does your dog lunge and bark whenever another dog approaches his 'bubble'?  Does your dog have a meltdown when a stranger approaches? This class is for dogs that have difficulty coping in a relaxed and friendly way with other dogs or people.  Please note that it is not for seriously aggressive dogs.  If your dog has serious aggression issues, I would be pleased to chat with you about options.

The class will help you:

  • identify the sources for your dogs reactivity
  • reduce your dog's stress level so you can start constructively addressing his fears
  • understand the role of diet and other factors that may contribute to reactive behaviour
  • learn how to change your dog's attitude to things he fears
  • learn how to use your reactions to support your dog's success
  • replace reactivity with relaxed and calm behaviours

This class is a structured class - attendance is required at ALL sessions but session scheduling is done collaboratively and on a flexible basis. The duration and number of sessions is based on the needs of the dogs attending.  Offered only on demand and when 3-5 dogs are available for the class.

As part of this class, where appropriate, I may recommend that you consult with a local veterinarian with expertise in veterinary behavioural medicine. We can then collaborate in implementing recommendations from the behavioural specialist.

Other Classes

Other classes are held periodically based on interest. Please contact me if you would like more information.

  • Junior handlers - basic obedience and manners, performance sports foundations, tricks
  • Pre-agility foundations
  • Beginner obedience
  • Beginner rally obedience
  • Conformation / Show handling practices
  • and others....

Download the Introduction to Rally Obedience Class information sheet here: Rally class instructions

Class notes and support

Class notes are e mailed to students after each session where new material is covered. This will give you a written outline of the content and provide a way to check what you have learned and are practicing at home.  These materials are copyrighted and may not be posted or shared without my permission.
If you are struggling with any of the exercises, I welcome questions via e mail or facebook, so you can move forward with training without waiting for the next class.