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Beginner classes


Fun and supportive training, behaviour socialisation

beginner class

 An hour a week for 6 weeks in Abington Community Centre (NN3 2HH). £120.

Next classes start Tuesday 21st or Thursday 23rd of May 2024 at 7pm    

index (click or scroll down) * In a nutshell  * Dates and times *Content *Support  * Hints and tips * FAQ  * How to book  *  What to bring *  Assessment

Beginner class in a nutshell

beginner-classes for happy family dogs

New classes start every 6 weeks. Beginner class is from 7 to 8pm on either a Tuesday or a Thursday. We sometimes hold another class on Tuesdays at 8pm.

All classes are the same price-  £120 per dog (for an hour a week for 6 weeks). Prices from October 22.

Classes are quite small- 6 dogs usually- with 2 trainers, so everyone gets plenty of individual attention. As a result, the teaching standard is very high. We easily cover the bronze level (tier 2) of the KC’s good citizen scheme. A certificate is awarded if you opt to take the assessment at the end.

Any dog of any age is welcome, including puppies and older dogs.

Puppies can start after their first jab takes effect, generally a week to 10 days after the injection.

We’re usually in Abington Community Centre, Wheatfield Road South, Northampton NN3 2HH (click here for a map)

To reserve a space: contact Sue and put your name on The List. (0751 976 2411).

Calendar Upcoming classes (with spaces available)

Courses run every six weeks and are either Tuesdays 7-8pm and 8-9pm or Thursdays, 7 to 8pm
Next new start:
9th and 11th April
21st and 23rd of May
2nd and 4th of July
13th and 15th August
10th and 12th Sept
22nd and 24th October

Please ring us on 0751 976 2411 for more info or to reserve a place

Beginner class tasks include:

we do fun things in beginner-classes

Sit, down, stand

Wait and stay


Listening while distracted

Leave it & find it

Walk with me nicely

What to do about undesirable behaviour

How (and why) we use hand signals

Some fun things like paw, turn, back and find.

Socialisation (and  advice on what to expect from puppies, teenagers and mature dogs)

And any requests or questions that people may have.

we do cool stuff in beginner-classesWe also have “activity week” in beginner classes! We bring in some play equipment/ floor agility and teach games to occupy your dog both with you and on their own. Whilst we always encourage people to invite their friends and family along. However, if they only have time for one class, bring them to activity week (4) as it’s always our favourite. 

We practise several tasks which are called “impulse control” in the trade.

* What is impulse control?

Basically it’s patience and self control. So that they have good manners and know how to listen to you when there’s exciting and distracting things going on around them.

When you walk to the park, impulse control helps them to wait nicely by the road next to the park and not want to rush over. Similarly, with impulse control you to can get them to leave the squirrel, the mouldy burger or chicken with cooked bones and ignore the grumpy looking dog or person.

Impulse control makes life easier and safer. Including tasks like Oi/ watch me, listen while excited, leave it, wait and stay.

we do sensible and practical things in beginner-classesWe roughly follow the Kennel Club curriculum, but we’ve occasionally thrown the rule book out of the window.

 The biggest thing is that we teach “leave” on Day One- two whole courses and an astonishing thirteen weeks before the KC recommend. 

Leave is a safety thing- so useful in the early stages because pups put everything in their mouths. My goal, in the 6 weeks beginner class, is for families to be able to ask their dogs to (for example):

  • Leave something like cooked chicken bones or chocolate on the pavement/ or floor. Both cooked bones and chocolate can be lethal to a dog. 
  • ignore food in a child’s hand.
  • Falling things: I hope that people would be able to stop their dog pouncing and eating medication, or a chilli/ chocolate etc as it’s dropped on the floor. I’ve heard food dropped while cooking is called “sky food”  lols!
  • And leave a grumpy looking dog in the park,
  • stop teething or gnawing on something dangerous (or expensive)….. 

the list of how useful this is goes on and on- I obviously could be here all day.

We simply don’t understand why on earth the good citizen scheme recommends that we don’t teach this until the 13th week of training. Bananas! For their own safety, every dog needs to learn leave as soon as possible.

Other things we don’t do by the book:

We also walk our dogs on both sides (and learn to swap sides) in case there’s ever an obstruction.

We don’t get hung up on what words anyone uses- the best words (and signals) are what comes most naturally to each person.

If you want to show and do ring-craft, please tell us- we’ll explain how to get the best from both worlds without compromise.


We have never thrown a dog out for being too badly behaved! (Although we have suggested doing a 121 instead, if there is a particular issue that needs focussed work). A “badly behaved” dog is a sign that beginner class is the right place! We trainers just need to roll our sleeves up.

an example page from the beginner-class course notesIncluding a free course guide

Access codes are given out on the first day of class. You’ll need the password, click here to go straight there.

All classes include access codes to our on line library (link here will take you to the library) Each course has a guide which explains how to do each task and how to level them up (as well as when to use them).

There’s handy hints and tips to make it easy, fun and enjoyable for dogs and people. I’ve tried hard to write it so that things are as clear and straightforward- basically as easy to follow as possible.

If you’re a current student or graduate, please contact me (Sue) for the passwords.

Extra info sheets, available to anyone:

Free info sheets are available- to anyone who needs help with teething, toilet training, food and establishing good routines... I (Sue) will post handy hints when I think of them and share new infographics as I make them. I can always email the files if it’s easier!

If there’s a topic you’d like me to write about- please let me know!

If we mention a website in class, we’ll put a link to it here Once you’ve signed up for classes you are under our wing forever. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a question- whenever your need. 

Beginner class hints and tips:

Remember the golden rule– when your dog gets good at something, you either make it harder or reduce their rewards.

in week 4 of beginner-classes and activity week! how to encourage focus and control whilst having fun For rewards, use some of their dinner if it’s biscuits, else don’t forget to compensate. Using their dinner will help you monitor calories and additives. Although….

The nicer the rewards, they’re generally more keen to do the task. You can use this to your advantage and give them their favourite when they’re getting tired or distracted. Also use them when doing the task they find most difficult. Say coming back in the park is hard (distractions, distractions….) then, when they get it right, that is the ONLY time they get their favourite thing- it will help motivate them. 

Try playing the games and doing the exercises in short sharp bursts- they’ll remember better that way. Maybe when the adverts are on….

We leave some dog biscuits by the kettle so that we can train as we wait for the kettle to boil. 

It’s also a good idea to have some treats by the front door. This helps the dog wait nicely (and not jump up or run off) when a visitor or the postman knocks.

Do not worry if your dog is distracted in class and finds it hard to concentrate

learning hand signals in beginner-classes… we’re in beginner class and you’re here to learn- we’d worry if a dog is perfectly behaved! Our classrooms are full of fun distractions (doggie mates and their yummy treats). Hopefully you’ll have some yummy treats too.

The first class is always harder, being full of new friends and people. We spend much of the first lesson teaching the beginnings of impulse control, patience and concentration. Obviously classrooms aren’t like the real world, but we do our best to teach things that are useful and practical. We try to make it fun too, so we teach tricks; like roll over.

Coming to class is also great way of realising that you’re not alone and that every dog and family face similar challenges.

How do I go about booking and what should I expect?

When’s easiest for you? Hour long classes are on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Courses re-start every 6 weeks.

Contact Sue on 0751 976 2411. She will answer any questions you have and reserve a space on your chosen start date, if you wish. It’s also a good time to pick a brain and show off about your dog! Sue will tell you what you need to bring but it’s always good to have it written down…

What do I need to bring?

beginner-classes graduates with their certificatesYou turn up on the first day with:

your dog, in their usual collar or harness and lead.

Some treats you know they like,

Something super yum for when they’re distracted or getting tired.

A toy (for leave with objects and listening whilst excited)

The money.

If a partner, friend, relative or neighbour is interested in coming along, please invite them. If they can make one session, we recommend activity week (week 4)- that’s the most fun.

Once we’re all together, we take a couple of minutes to fill in the registration forms and then we’re ready to start!


We don’t bring our dogs so the class always has our full attention, but anyone wishing to meet Kai, Willow and Cookie can give us a ring- we’d happily go for a walk with you.

We have no idea how to train wives/ husbands, children or mothers-in-law.

Jabs- What age can they start class? Recent studies have shown that it is safe for puppies to attend beginner class after their first jab- the only difference between class and a puppy party is the training. Parvovirus danger is from other dogs’ toileting and in the odd time that there is an accident, we ask all people to clean up after their dogs with our antimicrobial solution.  

Can I bring my friend or family along? Of course! Anyone and everyone is welcome. Sensible children too- we charge per dog, not per person.

What if something happened and we had to miss a class or two? It’s OK, you won’t be thrown in the deep end- with a small class and 2 trainers, we will soon have you up to speed.

What if my dog falls ill/ My girl has a season? Don’t worry- if you let us know, then we’ll arrange for you to start again on the next course. We wouldn’t charge you if your reasons are genuine.


Bronze certificate

People are invited to take the Bronze test/ showing off session at the end- ours is slightly different to the KC’s Good citizen scheme. As they are important tasks for safety, we’ve also added stop and leave. Please remember we practise all of this in class (as well as much more difficult stuff) so that when the test comes around, eye tests are harder.  

When someone passes this course, phone and text support will continue for as long as they need… and there is no such thing as a silly question. It’s possible to another 2 sets of classes after this. Please check out our advanced courses!

Back to classes

Beginner class map- find us here!

acc map

Sue’s got a book out: available here,

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