Champaign-Urbana's dog training center

Training FAQs

I sent in my registration. Now what?

If you used the online registration form to send in your class registration electronically, you should get an automated reply telling you it’s been received. Confirmations are sent out by the Registrar after registration ends, about 1 week before classes start.

Classes start soon, but I still haven’t heard about my enrollment?

Email the registrar at: registrar@dtccu.net

The class wasn’t marked full when I sent my registration, but I didn’t get in. What happened?

Our classes fill up fast and we apologize that we not able to tell those registered if they have a spot or not until registration has closed.  Members who teach or assist with classes move to the head of the registration process. Since there are a lot of us, it’s possible for a popular class to fill with teachers. It’s their only “payment.” This is a good thing; it means our teachers are also constantly learning.  See our explanation of “teacher priority” below

What is teacher priority?

We reward our instructors and assistants (who are all volunteers) by offering them priority when registering for classes.  If you have instructed or assisted with a class the previous session, you can use your teacher priority to increase your chance to get into some of our more popular classes (like agility) the following session.

I just got a new puppy. What class should I take?

There’s an easy-to-use course sequence page that will help you decide. But the quick answer is: If you have an eligible puppy (one who is 7 months or younger), puppy class (kindergarten for under 12 weeks old or elementary for 7 months and under) is the perfect place to start. If your dog is over seven months, and hasn’t earned his Canine Good Citizen title, you should start with Home Companion. Most other classes have prerequisites, which are listed in each class’s description.

I just rescued a dog. What class should I take?

There’s an easy-to-use course sequence page that will help you decide. But the quick answer is: If you have an eligible puppy (one who is 7 months or younger), puppy class (kindergarten for under 12 weeks old or elementary for 7 months and under) is the perfect place to start. If your dog is over seven months, and hasn’t earned his Canine Good Citizen title, you should start with Home Companion. Most other classes have prerequisites, which are listed in each class’s description.

My dog is driving me nuts. What class should I take?

There’s an easy-to-use course sequence page that will help you decide. But the quick answer is: If you have an eligible puppy (one who is 7 months or younger), puppy class (kindergarten for under 12 weeks old or elementary for 7 months and under) is the perfect place to start. If your dog is over seven months, and hasn’t earned his Canine Good Citizen title, you should start with Home Companion. Most other classes have prerequisites, which are listed in each class’s description.

What method do you use for training?

Any and all of them, at different times for different dogs. Each of our teachers has a method he or she may prefer, but they will also have an arsenal of other methods that you or your dog might respond to better.  As a rule we like to reward good behavior and distract or prevent bad behavior. But we work with the handler/dog team to determine the best specific avenue.

Will you allow a dog who bites/fights in class?

That depends. We know that people with reactive dogs need our help, but we have an obligation to protect our teachers, students, and dogs. If a handler can both anticipate bad behavior and manage the dog, we may allow them to work in a class. We may take measures to reduce the opportunity for bad behavior, and we will excuse the team from the class if there’s an incident. If you are unsure about your dog’s appropriateness for class, we suggest you contact our Director of Training for a private evaluation. For dogs who can’t be managed, we have a list of trainers who can be contacted for one-on-one work. Please tell us if your dog has issues when you enroll in class.

What do you mean, “anticipate and manage”?

Anticipate means you know your dog, know what situations set her off, or can read her well enough to recognize trouble is brewing. Manage means you can restrain or remove your dog from the setting without help from others. Please tell us if your dog has issues when you enroll in class.

Can I come observe a class?

Yes. You are quite welcome to visit the building during class time. Please leave your dog in the car or at home. Note: Unless there are classes in progress, the building is locked.

Can I come watch an event?

Yes, absolutely! They’re tons of fun, and we welcome an audience. Please ask before you approach a dog and try, if possible, to stay out of the way of the participants (easier said than done). No flash pictures allowed inside the building during an event.

How can I get involved in the club?

You can join.  It’s easy, our dues are some of the lowest in the country for a club of our type, and we’re nice people. See our membership information page.  You can also join our discussion list; club membership isn’t required.

Can I volunteer to help in an event?

Oh, please do. When we host an event, there are dozens of jobs that require absolutely no experience or specialized knowledge.

What is your class schedule?

We offer four sessions of classes per year, offering basic classes for puppies and dogs without any formal training as well as regular classes in obedience, rally, and agility. (Home companion and puppy classes are actually nine weeks long when you include orientation night.) The Champaign Illinois Kennel Club rents our building for conformation classes.  For more information on conformation, you need to contact the CIKC. Other classes are offered on an irregular basis.

Each spring we donate the use of our building and instructor time for 4-H Dog Training for children ages 8-18.  Please contact Champaign County 4-H for further information.

Do you teach classes in earthdog, field trialing, retrieving, dock-diving, Frisbee, tracking, animal-assisted therapy, tricks, schutzhund, water rescue, trauma response, search and rescue . . . ?

While we have members who are active in these activities (and more), our regular rotation of classes doesn’t include these particular activities. However, we try to respond to community needs and so will offer desired classes as time and space permit. Check our Class Schedules regularly, and if you don’t see what you want, drop us a note indicating your interest. If enough people show interest, we’ll oblige if possible.

What are the classes like?

That’s up to the individual teachers and their assistants. However, some basics are: There’s a limit to class size, anywhere from 8 to 15. Most classes have a lead teacher and 1 or 2 assistants (who may be as qualified to teach as the teacher). They run anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Most classes have a structure that is regularized across teachers and classes. Often they have a very specific goal associated with some form of competition or test.

The goal is to teach the handler how to train his dog, (we don’t train the dogs; you do!) so typically a behavior (such as “walking on a loose leash”) is introduced and described. The usual training method is explained and demonstrated. Then students try it, and the teacher and assistant will work with individuals to help them get it right. The class is then expected to practice it at home and, in the next class, demonstrate how they’ve done. Students are encouraged to ask questions before, during and after class.

Will you pay me to intern, teach me to be a dog trainer, pay me to teach?

Probably not. We do pay experts to come in and do workshops and seminars, but since we are all-volunteer, we don’t pay our teachers (or an intern). If you have a dog, we’ll help you learn to train that dog, but we do not teach people how to do dog training as a career.

What are your training qualifications?

We’ve amassed an amazing number of extremely talented and knowledgeable people. We have members who have nationally ranked dogs in obedience, rally and agility, who’ve titled multiple dogs to the highest level in obedience and tracking (one member who has put conformation championships on 80 of her dogs), who are judges in tracking, rally, and obedience, who are routinely contacted by organizations in the community who need therapy dogs for service or an event, who are active in rescue, who are on the board at the Champaign County Humane Society, who’ve written books about dog and animal behavior, who have answered listeners’ questions about dogs on WILL radio, and who are involved with the American Kennel Club.  Judges, participants, and spectators routinely rave about the quality of our facility and our volunteers. All that translates into a very solid base of accomplished dog trainers.