Group Classes

Group Classes: From Puppy to Advanced Levels, Therapy & Service Dog Training Programs

Group classes are effective and easy, even for those new to training. Only current, positive and dog-friendly methods are used in class, so classes are always an enjoyable learning experience for both you and your dog (and the whole family, go ahead and bring them!). Classes are grouped into four week sessions to better accommodate what individual owners are interested in learning with their dogs and also to make classes more affordable.

You can take one four week "Beginning" class to get great basic skills and manners down and end there. Or you can decide to continue training with another four week "Intermediate" class and work with more distractions, practice new skills, get your dog paying attention to you even more and learn fun tricks. Skye's Dog Training also offers Advanced, Field Trip, Therapy Prep (for those interested in making their dogs certified Therapy Dogs) and Psychiatric Service Dog Task classes. Read below for more information.

All classes are held at the Skye's Dog Training facility in West Jordan (with the exception of field trip classes). Please see the Facility Information for address, directions and instructions.

GROUP CLASS OPTIONS: Click to learn more!

Puppy Kindergarten Fun Scent Games
Beginning Pet Manners Canine Good Citizen
Intermediate Therapy Dog Training
Advanced Service Dog Training Program
Service Dog Skills & Tasks Class Emotional Support Dog Training
Field Trip Classes

Why should you attend classes at Skye's Dog Training?

Advantages to taking classes with Skye's Dog Training:

  • You will learn fun, positive and effective ways to shape your dog's behavior.
  • Classes help your dog to develop focus and attention in distracting situations
  • Small class size (limited to only 5 dogs per class except puppy class) means you get lots of one on one attention.
  • Classes are family friendly – everyone is encouraged to participate!
  • Positive training fosters respect and understanding to increase the bond between you and your dog.

Puppy Kindergarten (Pups 8-16 weeks)

Take advantage of this prime developmental period; help your puppy to develop critical social skills and get all your important puppy questions answered!

Puppy Kindergarten will give your puppy a chance to socialize with other puppies. This 30 minute class is not only fun but also educational for your puppy; they can interact with appropriate rules and boundaries while we discuss such topics as: potty training, chewing, socialization, appropriate toys & games, mouthing (play biting), jumping and more!

Fee for course: $35 (1/2 hour classes, 4 week course - up to 10 puppies for playtime!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Beginning Pet Manners (dogs 8 weeks and up to any age)

It is never too soon or too late to start building a lasting positive relationship with your dog through training. Dogs of any age and any skill level will love learning about training in this fun and effective class. Your dog will learn to pay attention to you around distractions (class is very distracting!) and you will build valuable training skills that will be useful at home and in public.

Beginning Pet Manners class will cover: How dogs learn, communication methods that dogs understand, self control, sit (with the distraction of other dogs around!), automatic eye contact (for more focus and self control), down, wait, polite greetings (not jumping!), calming signals, stay, come when called, nutrition, walking nicely on leash, and even a fun trick!

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course - only 5 dogs per class max!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Intermediate Class (prerequisite Beginning Pet Manners)

Continue your dog's education and have even more fun! Help your dog to learn to pay attention to you through difficult distractions.

Intermediate class covers: Leave it, heel (pay attention to you while walking and sit when you stop), watch me, wait at the door, wait with distractions, polite greetings practice, settle (long down/stay) and release, stay with distractions, shake, high five & other new fun tricks!

This class will begin to prepare you to take the Canine Good Citizen test by covering some test items and practicing foundation skills (the more difficult test items will be covered in the Advanced/CGC class, check out CGC test items at http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/training_testing.cfm).

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course - only 5 dogs per class max!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Advanced/Canine Good Citizen Class (prerequisite Intermediate Class)

This follow-up class builds on the skills learned in Intermediate class and puts them to use practicing items on the AKC's Canine Good Citizen test. Of course we throw in some fun tricks as well!

Advanced class will cover: advanced wait at the door, back up (great for body awareness!), come when called with more distractions (outside on long lines!), polite greeting & handling practice, walking calmly by other dogs, stay with distractions & distance, heel practice, new tricks like "take a bow" and more!

This class will prepare you to take the Canine Good Citizen test if desired. Even if you aren't intersted in actually testing, the test items provide great practice for good public manners. Check out CGC test items at http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/training-testing/).

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course - only 5 dogs per class max!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Out on the Town: Field Trip Class (prerequisite Advanced Class)

Practice makes perfect…so get help practicing your dog's public skills in real-life situations! Each week we will go to a new dog-friendly business. Field trips for this class include destinations such as department stores, malls and local businesses!

With this mostly indoor "Out on the Town" field trip class, your dog will get to work on their public manners by enhancing such skills as: loose leash walking, stay with distractions & long durations, advanced leave it practice, and polite greeting skills. Your dog will also learn some fun new techniques that are useful for public outings such as: move in closer to you to stay out of other people's way, stay in place while being stepped over and more!

Field trip classes can be taken in any order; however, to attend the "Out on the Town" field trip class, your dog must have completed the Advanced class. "A Walk in the Park" field trip class only requires the dog to have completed the Intermediate class.

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course – only 5 dogs per class max!)


A Walk in the Park: Field Trip Class (prerequisite Intermediate Class)

Practice makes perfect…so get help practicing your dog's public skills in real-life situations! Each week we will go to a new distracting outdoor location. Field trips for this class include destinations such as parks, farms and shopping areas.

With this outdoor "A Walk in the Park" field trip class your dog will get to work on their public manners by enhancing such skills as: exiting the car while under control, loose leash walking, polite greeting skills, advanced leave it practice (with some serious farm animal distractions!), come when called (on a long line, at a park!), and stay with distractions.

Field trip classes can be taken in any order; however, to attend the "Out on the Town" field trip class, your dog must have completed the Advanced class. "A Walk in the Park" field trip class only requires the dog to have completed the Intermediate class.

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course - only 5 dogs per class max!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Fun Scent Games (no prerequisite!)

Your dog will love this class! Dogs learn how to systematically search for hidden food in a fun and exciting environment. The level of difficulty increases each week, and it is fascinating to watch the dogs catch scent and make a find. Not only is it fun for owners to watch their dogs learn to use their noses, you will also learn fun scientific facts about your dog's nose and their amazing abilities.

This class is great for a dog's confidence building and mental stimulation! Take the class just for fun (a great rainy day alternative to outdoor activities) or start preparing for "K9 Nose Work" competitions, a very popular dog sport for dogs of any age!

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course - only 4 dogs per class max!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Service Dog Skills & Tasks Class (prerequisite Intermediate)

This class is for owners working towards achieving the skill sets required for service dogs.

Skye's Dog Training offers this group training class for owners to learn how to teach their dogs Psychiatric Service Dog tasks & skills. In this course, dogs and owners will learn specific skils and tasks needed for their individual needs as well as service dog laws and information about the public access testing.

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course - only 5 dogs per class max!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Therapy Dog Training: Therapy Test Prep Class (prerequisite Advanced/CGC Class)

Therapy Dog Training Information: About Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dog/handler teams volunteer their time and are beneficial in many different environments from library reading programs (kids can read to dogs to improve reading skills) to hospitals and nursing homes. Dogs may even help children and adults with physical therapy appointments for faster recoveries and lower university students' stress on testing days! Therapy work is an excellent fit for dogs and handlers that love interacting with new people.

Skye’s Dog Training offers training options such as group classes or private sessions to help clients reach their goals of becoming a Therapy Dog team.

The term “Therapy Dog” is frequently mistaken for “Emotional Support Animal” (sometimes called Companion Therapy) or “Service Dog”. To clarify, Therapy Dogs and their handler partners volunteer their time visiting institutions such as hospitals, libraries, nursing homes, etc.; they are not therapy dogs for their owners but rather for the public in the places they visit. Emotional Support Animals provide emotional support and comfort for their owners and are recognized under federal housing laws; they are not necessarily trained to perform a specific task for their owner and do not accompany the owner in public. Therapy Dogs are also sometimes mistaken for Facility Dogs. Facility Dogs accompany their handler at work (often in health care, legal and education settings) to assist the working handler’s clients. Please request information about Facility Dogs if interested.

Therapy Dog Training Program

Most clients will choose to works towards the goal of becoming a registered therapy team by taking a series of group training classes. Skye’s Dog Training suggests clients take Beginning Pet Manners, Intermediate, Advanced and then Therapy Prep to prepare to take the therapy test. Clients will often choose to take field trip classes as well to work on good public behavior.

The Therapy Prep class will prepare owner/dog teams to take the Pet Partners therapy team test and provide you with all the information you need to take the next steps towards certification (check out http://www.deltasociety.org/ for more information on becoming a therapy team). The Therapy Test Prep class can also help you determine if therapy work is right for you and your dog. Even if you decide not to go on to therapy work, this class is great for developing excellent canine manners and social skills around a variety of distractions.

Getting Started with Therapy Training

Skye’s Dog Training usually recommends clients start out in a Beginning Pet Manners group class (or private training) even if they have done training elsewhere since the methods used may not be the same or the topics may not have been covered in as much detail (or maybe not covered at all in previous training). The Beginning class is the most important class since we cover all the basics of how we will teach future skills. Something to keep in mind is that we will not cover anything from Beginning class in any other class. We may build on some skills, but the discussions of how to teach those skills will not be covered (since most clients will have taken the Beginning class first).

Beginning Pet Manners will cover: How dogs learn, training basics (positive reinforcement, shaping, luring, capturing behaviors), communication methods that dogs understand, reward markers for better timing, sit (importance of hand signals, what to do with distractions), automatic eye contact (create a polite dog that "asks" for wanted items and controls impulses), self-control (help your dog learn to choose to be calm in distracting environments without being asked), down, wait (dogs learn the rewards of being patient for wanted items), polite greetings (including not jumping up), calming signals (learn how dogs help themselves to relieve stress and calm down), stay (with distractions!), reliable recall (teach your dog to reliably come when called around distractions), nutrition (we will discuss how what your dog eats can affect their health and behavior), walking nicely on leash, and a fun trick/game called targeting.

If a client’s dog has not done a group class before, it may be a challenge to start in any other class besides Beginning Pet Manners due to interest in other dogs. In Beginning class, more time is allotted for working on calm behaviors around the other dogs than it is in other classes.

Registration of Therapy Teams

The testing and registration of Therapy Dogs with a therapy organization is not required; however, most Therapy Dog/handler teams choose to be tested and registered with a nationally recognized therapy organization as many places where a therapy team may want to visit will require the team to be registered with a group. (Some nursing homes and other facilities do not require registration with an organization but it is a good idea for handlers to, at minimum, acquire insurance for their visiting Therapy Dog; most therapy organizations provide insurance for their registered teams.)

Because there are no national standards for Therapy Dog testing, and organizations can vary in their team requirements, Therapy Dogs are technically not “certified” (the term “certified” generally implies a national standard of testing), but rather “registered” with their therapy organization.

Skye’s Dog Training recommends that clients look into Therapy Animals of Utah as a therapy organization testing/registration option (http://therapyanimalsutah.org/). There are other therapy organizations as well; however, the Therapy Prep class is based after this group’s test, although the class would be helpful for clients to prepare for any therapy test. If clients choose to test through Therapy Animals of Utah, they will need to meet the organization’s testing requirements. Please see their website for more details.

Fee for course: $105 (1 hour classes, 4 week course - only 4 dogs per class max!)

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Service Dog Training Program – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of a Service Dog? The American's with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as: dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, reminding a person to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack or performing other duties.

What types of service dogs does Skye's Dog Training train? Skye's Dog Training specializes in working with owners to train Psychiatric Service Dogs (to help with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and more) and Autism Assistance Dogs for children and adults. Skye's Dog Training can also help owners get started in training mobility, medical alert and hearing dogs by helping those dogs achieve public behavior skills and other basic training; however, Skye's Dog Training does NOT train the specific tasks that mobility, medical alert and hearing dogs will need to complete their training and will refer you to another trainer to complete that portion of training. If you feel that having a service dog would be beneficial for you, please contact Skye's Dog Training for more information.

What if I have depression, anxiety or other mental illness and am just looking for a dog to provide emotional support or comfort at home (not take to all public places)? You may benefit more from an Emotional Support Dog which will require much less time and training dedication. Dogs can be wonderful companions to help lessen anxiety and/or depression symptoms, provide a watchful eye and offer comfort for their owners. Please see the "Emotional Support Dog Training Program" section for more information.

What does the Service Dog Training Program entail and what will it cost? In addition to performing specific tasks service dogs must also have perfect public behavior in a variety of distracting environments. Skye's Dog Training has a comprehensive program to teach your dog the appropriate public behavior skills it needs to succeed, as well as the specific tasks or work your dog needs to perform for you. Owners may choose to do the entire program through small group training classes, making training very cost-affordable, or owners may wish to add some private training sessions to focus on specific skills or problem areas. Skye's Dog Training will customize a program for you based on your needs.

In general, if owners choose to do the all group class option, training will take between 8-12 months for an adult dog (longer for puppies) and cost around $700; this amount could be more or less based on the dog's skill level and age, need for repeating classes and owner training commitment. The cost for classes is only due as you take each class session (approximately $95/month). The full amount does NOT need to be paid upfront before starting the program. Puppies will take longer to train but should get started in classes as early as possible (even as young as 8 weeks old) to learn basic skills and receive proper socialization.

What type of paperwork will my dog receive after training? After a series of classes and training field trips, handler/dog teams will be evaluated with a Public Access Test. Once the team passes the test, they will receive a copy of the test along with important ADA laws to be kept safely along with the dog's shot records in case the information is needed. Teams will also receive a picture ID badge with their name, the dog's information, and proof that they have gone through training with Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), Skye Poitras. It is important to note that it is actually against federal law for businesses to require certification, paperwork, ID badges or vests for service dogs; however, many business owners are uniformed and may ask for any of these items when you enter their business. There is no federal certification required for service dogs; however, businesses can ask you if the dog is a service dog and what tasks the dog performs for you.

What breeds and sizes of dogs are good for service work? All breeds and sizes of dogs can be excellent for service work, depending on their individual temperament and age. Skye's Dog Training works with a variety of breeds; Labs, Pomeranians, Boxers, Australian Shepherds, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Poodles, Golden Retrievers and Chihuahuas are just a few of the breeds currently in the program. Most of the dogs are mixes of multiple breeds, and the vast majority of the dogs were adopted from local shelters.

Do I need to purchase a dog from a breeder? Absolutely not! There are hundreds of dogs at shelters all throughout Utah that would make excellent service dogs once properly trained! Skye's Dog Training routinely evaluates and selects potential service dogs from local Salt Lake City animal shelters for clients and organizations.

If you would like help selecting your dog, please contact Skye's Dog Training for more information. Often times, funding is available to help in the dog selection process.

What if I already have my dog? Many times the dog you already have will make a wonderful service dog for you after it has gone through the training program. Of course dogs will need to be evaluated for temperament before starting the specific service dog classes, but your dog does not need to have any special skills or obedience to start. If you think your dog already has the skills to pass the Public Access Test given by Skye's Dog Training, we can set up a time for you test. The cost for testing is $95 and includes a customized badge and paperwork if you and your dog pass!

How do I start the training program? Contact Skye's Dog Training at info@skyesdogtraining.com or (801) 885-3922 to discuss your needs and figure out where your dog should start in the training process (or discuss the dog selection process if you do not already have one). Skye's Dog Training also recommends speaking with your doctor or therapist to determine if a service dog would be beneficial for you.

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


Emotional Support Dog Training Program

Some owners may benefit more from an Emotional Support (sometimes called Companion Therapy) Dog rather than a Service Dog. Emotional Support Dogs provide emotional support in such ways as lessening anxiety and/or depression symptoms, providing a watchful eye and offering comfort for their owners.

Emotional Support Dogs are recognized under federal housing laws but not covered under ADA federal laws applying to service dogs since they are not necessarily trained to perform a specific task for their owner. What this means is that Emotional Support Dogs can be allowed to live in housing or apartments that do not normally allow dogs (a doctor's note is usually required), but they do not have public access rights to other places. Emotional Support Dogs can be extremely helpful in assisting a variety of individuals with emotional disorders while not requiring the extensive amount of training as a service animal. In fact, for a dog to be considered an Emotional Support Dog, you just need a letter from your therapist or doctor stating that you need a dog (it technically doesn't even have to be a dog), then you get a dog and it is automatically an Emotional Support Dog.

Skye's Dog Training offers help with the selection of Emotional Support Dogs if a person does not already have a dog. For training, most people find it is helpful to take at least a Beginning Pet Manners class to get started on the right track to having a well-behaved dog (although no training is technically required for Emotional Support Dogs). Please contact Skye's Dog Training for more information or for help selecting an appropriate Emotional Support Dog if you do not already have one.

Note: Sometimes Service Dogs are confused with Emotional Support (sometimes called Companion Therapy) Dogs or Therapy Dogs. To clarify, Therapy Dogs are certified through organizations to visit institutions such as hospitals, libraries, detention centers and nursing homes (they are not therapy dogs for their owners but rather for the public in the places they visit). Emotional Support (or Companion Therapy) Dogs provide emotional support and lesson anxiety and/or depression symptoms for their owners and are recognized under federal housing laws; they are not necessarily trained to perform a specific task for their owner and do not accompany the owner in public. Service Dogs are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities and can accompany their owner in public places. Skye's Dog Training has programs to train all three types of working dogs! More information can be found here: Therapy Dog Test Prep Class.

Want to start classes soon? Check out the current class schedule!


You can learn more about Skye's training philosophies and techniques by visiting the "Meet the Trainer" page.