Cloud Nine’s Dog Training Classes in Minnesota

Puppy Social Hour

So, you have a puppy. Congratulations! Now, let us help you get that new bundle of potential off to the best start possible at our Puppy Social Hour. We will help you work through those puppy ups and downs and channel that endless puppy energy and have fun while doing so. Come once or come each week while your pup is between the ages of eight and 16 weeks. It’s a great start for the newest member of your family.

  • Puppies need to meet new people, try new things, learn impulse/self control and how to solve problems, socialize with other puppies, and develop a desire to pay attention to their owners; owners need answers to their questions and help with issues and concerns that are inherent to raising a new canine companion.

    In Cloud Nine’s Puppy Social Hour, we address all of the above and more, offering guidance and suggestions about what to do and what not to do with a new puppy while making sure your pup’s first experience in a group socializing setting is a positive and successful one. Start when you like and attend as many lessons as you like or need until your puppy is 16 weeks old. We look forward to meeting you and your puppy soon!

    No prerequisite.

S.T.A.R. Puppy Class

The S.T.A.R. Puppy class is for puppies up to one year of age; they do not need to be pure bred or registered with the AKC.

In the S.T.A.R. Puppy class, you will get information on topics such as house training, chewing, nipping, jumping, impulse control. You also will learn the most effective ways to teach the practical skills of sit, down, stay, walking on a loose leash, coming when called and more. 


  • At the completion of the seven-session class, your instructor, who is an approved AKC CGC evaluator, will administer the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test. Upon passing the test, you will receive the AKC  S.T.A.R. Puppy medal and a certificate designating that you and your puppy are listed in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records.

    You also will be eligible to enroll in the Obedience Level 2 class at Cloud Nine and on your way to doing more fun things with your dog such as therapy dog work, agility, scent work, more advanced obedience training or becoming a Canine Good Citizen team. 

    No prerequisite.

Obedience Level 1 Class for Kids

In this class, the puppies and dogs will be introduced to the same behaviors, exercises and good manners that we teach in our signature Obedience Level 1 class but with one exception: the younger member(s) of the family will be in charge.

Kids – especially age 8 and up – can be really good trainers, and in this class they will take the lead.

A grown up must be present at all times to learn along with the child/children to ensure there is someone who can support the training at home and see to it that everyone in the family is doing things the same way. Also, in cases where the dog is bigger and/or stronger than the child, a grown up will be expected to help hold the dog’s leash as needed.

Class is limited to eight dogs.

  • Puppies need to meet new people, try new things, learn impulse/self control and how to solve problems, socialize with other puppies, and develop a desire to pay attention to their owners; owners need answers to their questions and help with issues and concerns that are inherent to raising a new canine companion.

    In Cloud Nine’s Puppy Social Hour, we address all of the above and more, offering guidance and suggestions about what to do and what not to do with a new puppy while making sure your pup’s first experience in a group socializing setting is a positive and successful one. Start when you like and attend as many lessons as you like or need until your puppy is 16 weeks old. We look forward to meeting you and your puppy soon!

    No prerequisite.

Dog Obedience (Levels 1-5)

From a young age, and long before they ever join your family, puppies and dogs already know how to sit, walk, run, lie down, eat, drink, sleep, pee, poop, pick up stuff. They also know how to jump, scratch, dig, bite, chew, bark, whine, and steal things off the kitchen table. What puppies and dogs don’t know is how they are supposed to behave in your daily family life and how to respond to the your commands; what owners need help with is getting their puppies and dogs to pay attention to them in a variety of circumstances and getting their dogs to behave with good manners in every situation.

2009 Cloud 9 dog training website photos in Hopkins, MN, March 2009.
  • In our Level 1 class, we teach you about consequences and how to use them to train your dog. Positive consequences help your dog learn good-manners behaviors such as pay attention, sit, come, lie down, stay, walk nicely on leash, leave it, be quiet, keep your feet on the floor, wait patiently at the door; unpleasant consequences help deter your dog from exhibiting and practicing some of the more common unwanted, annoying behaviors such as jumping, barking, nipping, lunging.

    Dogs from ages 10 weeks to 10 years and beyond are eligible for this class, and it’s a great place to start or to continue building the best relationship with your dog, whether you want him to be a well-mannered pet, a therapy dog, a competition canine, or something in the middle. Sign up for a Level 1 Good Manners class and we will show you what we mean.

    Sign up for a Level 1 Good Manners class and we will show you what we mean.

  • Can your dog walk past another dog without sniffing or lunging and instead keep his attention on you? Will your dog come to you even when he sees a blowing leaf or a kid on a bike? Is it possible for your dog to sit still while someone approaches and pets him? Now that your dog has completed our Level 1 class (or the equivalent) and understands what to do when you say sit, come, lie down, etc., it’s time for him to learn more and do better.

    In our Level 2 class, you will strengthen and expand on the behaviors, the bond, and the teamwork you started in Level 1 while insisting on faster and more precise responses from your dog in the presence of increasingly more difficult and challenging distractions. You will also teach your dog a stand stay behavior and how to walk with you off leash. The Level 2 class is a “must do” to further your dog’s good manners, so what are you waiting for?

    Prerequisite: completion of Obedience Level 1 at Cloud Nine or equivalent.


  • Use it or lose it. It’s as simple as that. Whether the IT is speaking a foreign language, performing an athletic skill, or playing a musical instrument, if you don’t practice what you’ve learned you won’t retain what you’ve learned – or at least you won’t retain it well – and your performance will suffer. Dogs are no different, which is why we offer a Level 3 “maintenance” obedience class.

    In the Level 3 class at Cloud Nine, you will keep working on your dog’s responses, skills, and behaviors so they stay crisp and accurate in the presence of other dogs, and people, and changing distractions. You will also continue improving your teamwork so that some, if not all, of the exercises in class, including limited jumping and retrieving, can be done with your dog off leash.

    If you want your dog to be a Canine Good Citizen, a competition obedience dog, a therapy dog, an agility dog, a flyball dog, a musical freestyle dog, a tracking dog, a herding dog, a search and rescue dog, an earth dog, etc., or the most important of all – great pet who can do you proud when you’re out and about – then participation in our Level 3 class will ensure your success!

    This is an ongoing class; you may start at any time.

    Prerequisite: Completion of Obedience Level 2 at Cloud Nine or equivalent.

  • So you’ve discovered that you enjoy training your dog and your dog enjoys being trained. Perhaps you’ve made some new human friends while attending classes and your dog has made some new canine buddies, and now you want to stay involved and even do more. If so, the Advanced class at Cloud Nine is for you.

    In the Advanced class, you will work mostly off leash and practice things that will prepare your dog for obedience competition. During any given lesson, you will run through the fundamentals of a solid ring performance (heeling off leash and the figure 8, recalls, stand for exams or the moving stand exercise, hand signals, fronts and finishes, in-sight and out-of-sight stays) before working on jumping (broad jump, directed jumping) and retrieving (on the flat, over the high jump, gloves). Though most students in this class have their sights set on entering obedience trials and earning titles with their dog at all levels, you can attend this class with your dog simply for the fun and challenge of learning new skill.

    This is an ongoing class; you may start at any time.

    Prerequisite: Completion of Obedience Level 3 at Cloud Nine or equivalent.

  • If you’re serious about preparing your dog to compete at the Open and Utility levels in obedience, this class is for you. Instructor Ann Savage knows what it takes to get a solid performance in the ring, and she will attend to every detail as she helps you teach your dog to work scent articles, retrieve gloves, respond to hand signals, and do successful go backs, moving stands and directed jumping

    This is an ongoing class; you may start at any time with permission of instructor.

    Prerequisite: Completion of Obedience Level 3 at Cloud Nine or equivalent.

    Please note: In keeping with Cloud Nine policy, prong/pinch collars and choke chains not allowed in this class and only motivational retrieve methods are used.

  • Whether you’re just starting in a Good Manners class or working at the Open and Utility levels,  Obedience Open Ring time allows you a chance to practice the skills and exercises you are learning in class so that your dog can get better at them and you can perfect your teamwork. This activity takes place at both locations.

    Please RSVP 24 hours in advance so we know to expect you or so we can contact you in case there is a change of schedule.

    CLICK HERE to see a video clip on Obedience Open Ring Time. 

    Please RSVP 24 hours in advance so we know to expect you or so we can contact you in case there is a change of schedule.

Also See Rally-O Skills Below


Rally-O is a fun way to continue obedience training with your dog and put those good manners and skills to a new use. In Rally obedience, you will follow a course with your dog and have him perform the exercises pictured on the signs along the way. While many of the Rally-O exercises are taught in our Obedience Level 2 class, there are some new ones to learn as well, so we recommend our Intro to Rally class for people who are new to the sport and need to learn about it from the ground up. Work is done both on and off leash.


  • Intro to Rally is a must for people who are new to this sport. You will learn how to read to the Rally-O signs, what they mean, and what your dogs needs to do at each sign/station along a course. You also will learn how much fun Rally-O is and why people like it so much!

    Prerequisite: completion of  Obedience Level 2 at Cloud Nine or the equivalent.

  • In Rally-O Continued, you will work through complete courses made up of signs from all three levels, including jumping and off-leash work. This class will prepare you to participate in obedience trials and earn Rally-O titles, or you can attend the class just for the enjoyment of it. Either way, it’s a great way to time spend with your dog and classmates.

    This is an ongoing class; you may start at any time.

    Prerequisite: completion of Intro to Rally, or Obedience Level 2 at Cloud Nine or the equivalent.

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Prep and Evaluation

Are you and your dog ready for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen evaluation? Well, you will be after you attend our CGC Prep workshop. During the two-hour session you will learn, practice and review the exercises and skills needed so that you and your dog can successfully pass the CGC test.

  • The American Kennel Club instituted the Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program in 1989 as a way to recognize owners and dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The program stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.

    Details of exercises that the dog and handler must pass can be viewed on the AKC’s web site (

    We hold CGC tests* at Cloud Nine on a quarterly basis. The fee for the evaluation is $20, and pre-reregistration is required.

    Prerequisite: completion of Obedience Level 2 at Cloud Nine or equivalent.


Tricks for Kicks for Dogs

Tricks! For your dog, they are a great way to build confidence, to enhance proprioception awareness, to redirect behavior, and to make your dog think for having new things to learn; tricks also give you and your dog something to do together in the dead of winter or on a rainy day.

  • Dog tricks are fun to teach, entertaining to watch, and they help improve the bond and teamwork between you and your dog. And if you do therapy work or competition activities with your dog (agility, obedience, etc.), tricks are a crowd-pleasing, stress-reducing must! Shake and rollover are just the beginning! Sign up for our Tricks for Kicks class and learn more than a dozen new behaviors to teach your dog.

Agility Foundation Level 1

Without a solid foundation, dogs cannot excel at the sport of agility and, in fact, can become frightened or get hurt; without a solid foundation, handlers cannot excel either and, in fact, can feel uncoordinated and do little but confuse their dogs! There are five units in the foundation agility classes where you will work on activities that prepare you and your dog to do agility safely, confidently, and with clarity.

  • Agility Level 1 sets the foundation for success. It is made up of five required units and each unit is five sessions long. Though some exceptions can be made, you and your dog must complete all five units before you are eligible for the Agility Level 2 class.

    Not sure if your dog has the aptitude for the sport? No problem. Come to our Doggy Gym activity, where you can do low-key, fun, agility-like exercises with your dog and get a feel for what’s ahead if you decide to pursue agility training in earnest!

    Prerequisite: Completion of Obedience Level 2 at Cloud Nine or equivalent or permission of instructor.

  • Having a dog who can figure out things, who willingly offers behaviors, who can focus on tasks even in the presence of distractions, and who has a strong bond and solid working relationship with you makes all the difference when pursuing agility training.

    In this foundation agility unit, you will work on shaping behaviors with your dog, developing teamwork with your dog, experiencing difference surfaces, and learning how to execute the turns and handling cues needed in agility to create the solid foundation that is essential as you progress in the sport. This class is a prerequisite for the other foundation agility units.

  • Dogs will learn to race through open and closed tunnels (the chute), find tunnel entrances, send to tunnels and be called off of tunnels. In addition, you will keep working on planks and tippy boards, introduce your dog to the low dog walk, A-frame, and teeter, start training your dog’s “contact” behavior (two on/two off, running, four on the floor, etc.) , and continue to practice and perfect your turns and handling cues.

  • In this unit, dogs will learn to run across a full-height dog walk, race up and down a full-height ramp, tip a full-height teeter, and perform/perfect their “contact” behavior (two on/two off, running, four on the floor, etc.) while handlers will learn how to cue discriminations.

    Your dogs will also start learning how to jump from the ground up (no pun intended), with a focus on that all-important form so they will have a thorough understanding of the behavior.

    (Please note: dogs whose growth plates have not yet closed will use low jumps only.)

  • In this unit, dogs will continue to learn about jumping as handlers put turn cues into play and work on timing so their dogs will know which jumps to take and when. Dogs also will be introduced to weaving, using a combination of channel weaves and the 2X2 method with a goal of going through six off-set poles from a variety of entry points.

  • As your dog becomes proficient at jumping and you understand the impact of your handling cues on how/when/where your dog jumps, you’re ready to learn about specific jump formations (270s, 180s, pinwheels, straight aways) and to work on converging, lead outs, and more challenging jump sequences.

    You also will address speed and distance handling as your dog becomes a faster, more independent jumper. Weave work will continue as well, with a goal of 12 in-line poles and more complex entries and exits.

  • Join us for a fun, fast-paced foundation agility course, based on Sylvia Trkman’s Foundation Agility Class, where you will learn how to train multiple foundation skills in a single exercise.

    As part of the class, students will pair up each week and take turns video taping each other so you can see what is working, what isn’t working and why! We highly recommend that you purchase Sylvia’s “Foundations Fun” DVD to use as a reference. Bring your own video device so you can take it home to practice, to see your progress, and also to have a wonderful memory of your dog!

    As time permits, we also will cover some of Tracy Sklenar’s Max Pup foundation games.

    This class is suitable for dogs and handlers who are new to agility, for experienced handlers with new dogs, or for handler/dog teams that want to rebuild, revamp and expand their agility foundation.

    Whether you want to compete with your dog one day or just have a great time with him playing the sport of agility, this class is a great way to start working toward your goal.

    (Students should plan to arrive 15 minutes before class to help with setup and to help put away some of the equipment after class.)

  • The focus of this competition foundation skills class, offered by Dawn Plekkenpol, is on handling. It will give students the chance to learn – or re-learn – a solid foundation of the movements, cues and techniques needed to navigate successfully and competitively through an agility course while providing a deeper understanding of the hows and whys of those cues. Independent obstacle performance will also be addressed in this class.  The ultimate goal is to build and/or strengthen each team’s agility foundation so that it will hold up in competition.

    The Super Skillz class is suitable for someone just starting out in agility, for someone who has been doing agility but wants to improve their skill base, or for someone who has been doing agility but is starting over with a new puppy/dog.  The class limited to six students who are committed to working on their “homework” multiple times a week between lessons. Prerequisite is instructor permission.

  • Agility Open Ring Time allows you a chance to run your dog through an entire course and/or work on specific obstacles and sequences – on your own, one dog at a time, for three minutes at a time. This activity takes place at our New Hope school. This activity is for dogs and handlers who have completed all five Foundation units at Cloud Nine or the equivalent. 

    CLICK HERE to see a video clip on Agility Open Ring. 


    Please RSVP 24 hours in advance so we know to expect you or so we can contact you in case there is a change of schedule.

Agility Advanced Levels 2,3,4

Once you have learned the basics of agility in our foundation classes – well, that’s just the beginning. For those who wish to continue doing agility with their dog, we offer several progressively advancing levels in which you can continue to learn and move along at your own pace – for fun or for competition. Your choice!  

  • In Sequences class, you will put it all together, applying the skills you learned at the foundation level to start working on short course sequences. The equipment will be full size and your dog will jump his official, measured height. Course analysis and handling strategies are addressed in this level of classes as well.

  • As your dog’s confidence and accuracy grow, and as your handling ability improves, you are ready to push for speed and increased distance on longer courses. These elements, along with continued attention to the contact behavior, comprise the focus of the work done at this intermediate agility level. It’s not uncommon for dogs training at this level to have started participating in agility trials. Dogs may not move into Agility Level 3 until they are weaving proficiently.

  • Once the pieces are in place for you and your dog to do agility well, what’s needed is practice, practice, practice, and that’s what you get in the Level 4 class. From weave-pole entries, to 270s, to serpentines, to front, rear, blind crosses, to consistent contact performance, to obstacle discriminations – these skills and more are addressed at this advanced agility level along with course analysis and handling strategies.

  • Distance, speed, layering, tight turns, reverse spins, back-side approaches and other “fancy” maneuvers make up the courses and the work that’s tackled in the Master level agility class. 

Therapy Dog Classes

It’s so true that we often turn to our own canine pals to lift our spirits, keep us calm, comfort us, and provide companionship. Now imagine your highly trained pet doing this for someone else! If your dog is friendly and outgoing and enjoys the attention of all kinds of people, perhaps he is destined for a career as a therapy dog – to help calm a child waiting for surgery; to motivated a young person to read; to bring smiles to the faces of the elderly in a nursing home; to give bedside comfort to a hospice patient.

  • In Cloud Nine’s Therapy Dog class, you will learn the skills and exercises you need to know so that you and your dog can become a registered therapy team no matter which registry you wish to apply to and be evaluated for. You also will learn how and where to get started volunteering with your new therapy partner. At Cloud Nine, we recommend Pet Partners due to their requirement of having both dog and handler learn what’s needed so that you are a reliable, controlled, predictable team that inspires confidence when you are out visiting.

    Prerequisite: Completion of Obedience Level 2 at Cloud Nine or equivalent or permission of instructor.

  • In an effort to assist teams who are getting ready for their therapy dog registration evaluation or re-evaluation, Cloud Nine offers a Team Review class where handler and dog can deepen their skills in different visiting scenarios and practice the requirements for certification or renewal. The first three weeks will emphasize skills exercises, aptitude exercises, and a variety of typical visiting scenarios. Students in the Team Review & Practice class will have the option of signing up for a Pet Partners team evaluation.

  • Good therapy dog teams are such in large part because of the close connection between handler and dog. Trick training helps strengthen that connection and grow not only the teamwork but also the handler/dog relationship.

    In this class, we will introduce you to new ideas for SHARING your therapy dog (as compared to SHOWING OFF your therapy dog), and you will learn, practice, and demonstrate a variety of tricks designed to enhance therapy dog/client interactions.  We will target the parts of the animal-assisted interaction (approach, interaction, and closure), and we will review strategies for creating behaviors tailored to you and your dog. 

    If you are looking for some new options to increase the enjoyment and interaction between your therapy dog and the people you visit then this class is for you!  


    * Must either be a registered therapy dog team or have attended a therapy dog training class.  

Micro Classes - Help For Problem Behaviors

So you’ve been working diligently with your dog, training him to have great manners. By most measures, you’ve raised a great companion. He sits and comes and stays. Yea! . . . But . . . It’s for the “buts” that we offer Micro Classes at Cloud Nine. And no prerequisites to participate!

  • Micro Classes are one-hour lessons that focus on those annoying dog behaviors that you just can’t seem to get them to stop doing. If you need help deterring your dog from jumping, barking, pulling while walking, to name a few, sign up for a Micro Class and let us show you how you can reduce or eliminate the problem.

  • Would you like to start teaching your dog to retrieve? Then this two-session course is for you. This Micro Class will help you get the ball rolling so your dog will be able to retrieve a dumbbell for obedience or other items that are used for play, for therapy dog tricks, or so that your dog can be a helper around the house by picking up your shoes, your keys, and more.

    You will need to bring your own dumbbell or wooden dowel to class plus lots of small, soft, tasty, non-crumbly treats. Then get ready to have fun teaching your dog to pick up stuff!

  • Dogs bark. That’s how they communicate. While we can’t take the bark out of the dog completely, we can reduce how much barking he is allowed to do.

    Sign up for the Quiet Please! micro class to learn how to get your dog’s barking under control and possibly eliminate it altogether in select situations.

    No prerequisite to participate.

  • Tired of your dog jumping on you? On the counter? On other people? Then sign up for our Stop Jumping! micro class to learn some techniques that will help you deter and/or eliminate your dog’s undesirable jumping habits.

    No prerequisite to participate.

  • If you would like to put the “pleasure” back into your walks with your dog, then attend our Pleasant Pleasure Walking micro class, where you will learn what you need to do to put an end to pulling once and for all. Weather permitting, these sessions may take place outside.

    No prerequisite to participate.

Reactive Dog Workshop

Some of us have reactive dogs. They bark. They lunge. They jump. They snarl. They carry on and behave aggressively when they see other canines, garbage trucks, kids on bikes, strangers wearing sunglasses or baseball caps or any number of other things. So frustrating. So embarrassing. So not fun.

Can anything be done to reduce or eliminate the outbursts? The answer is yes, and that’s why we offer the Reactive Dog Workshop.

  • In the Reactive Dog workshop at Cloud Nine, we help you understand your dog’s behavior and give you the tools needed to reduce the outbursts – or eliminate them entirely – through the effective use of the four “Cs”:

    – Control the environment.

    – Connect with your dog more strongly through training and strengthening of your leadership position.

    – Change your dog’s responses by redirecting him and/or giving him something else to do. 

    – Establish gentle but consistent Consequences.

    You must bring your dog’s crate/kennel with you to the workshop.

    Class limited to 6 dogs.

    Please note: If you do not feel comfortable working with your reactive dog in a group setting or if the workshop schedule doesn’t fit yours, reactive dog issues can also be addressed in private lessons/consultations.

Barn Hunt

Rats. We have rats. And with rats comes the fun, fast growing, dog-loving sport of Barn Hunt.

Cathy Hoese, owner of Bales and Tales and our resident barn hunt expert and judge in the sport, is offering monthly intro lessons, indications lessons, tunneling lessons and practice opportunities as well as hosting Barn Hunt trials at Cloud Nine in Minnetonka. 

Check our Class Schedule & Register page for details about upcoming lessons, practice times, and trials. See you soon for some happy hunting!

  • To learn more about the sport of barn hunt, the rules and regulations, and how to register with your dog with the Barn Hunt Association (required if you want to compete someday), go to

Conformation Handling

If you are headed to the show ring with your future canine breed champion, you most definitely will want to attend conformation handling classes at Cloud Nine. Our experienced instructor, Pat Champaign, will help you learn to handle and present your dog like a professional. Conformation classes are offered on a drop-in basis. Start at any time; preregistration is not required.

  • Our experienced and knowledgable instructor will show you how to gait your dog, how to stack your dog, how to hold your leash, how to bring out the best in your dog and so you are ready to strut your stuff when you get to the shows. Whether you are a new handling just making your start, or you have a new dog to take into the breed ring, or you are an experienced handler with many championships and even group wins under your belt, our conformation handling classes are most beneficial.  

Intro To Scent Work

The Intro to Scent Work is a class where your dog will get to use his nose to find stuff – treats, a target odor, a tracking article. First your dog will learn the game of searching with enthusiasm and confidence by finding a delicious, smelly treat that’s hidden in an article (for tracking) and a box (for nose work). As the dog gets better about searching, the game will become more challenging and your dog will learn to solve a variety of search puzzles. In short order, the game will expand to bigger areas, indoors and outdoors, and you will teach your dog how to find a specific odor (birch to start). Students are guaranteed to have fun teaching their dogs the game of search and learning how to know when their dogs are saying “I found it!” 

K9 Nose Work

K9 Nose Work starts with getting your dog excited about using his nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat that’s hidden in one of several boxes; the game quickly expands to entire rooms, exterior areas, and vehicles. As your dog grows more confident with his nose, target odors are introduced and competition skills are taught. Students may remain at each level for multiple sessions as they work with their dog to build and strengthen skills.

  • Inspired by working detection dogs, K9 Nose Work is the fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. Nose work classes build confidence and focus in many dogs and provide a safe, fun, natural way to give dogs both mental and physical exercise.

    Class size is limited to 4 dogs. During each class every dog works individually on the scent lesson and rests safely in his crate between turns. This helps the dog focus more acutely when he is working to find the source of a scent. There should be no interaction or socialization between dogs at any time during the class. This ensures that every dog has the opportunity to work and gain confidence in a stress-free environment with minimal distractions.

    We are pleased to have Jeff McMahon at Cloud Nine to lead our Nose Work program. Jeff is a certified K9 Nose Work instructor (CNWI), a competitor with his NW3 (x2) titled dog, Muriel, the editor of the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) member newsletter, a faculty member of the NACSW and a certifying official for competition events. He also writes the K9 Nose Work blog. Jeff’s goals are to make the Nose Work activity fun and successful for each dog and to help each handler learn to read and understand their dog better, resulting in a bonded and skilled search team.

    Private Nose Work lessons available on request. Email Us for more info or to make arrangements.

  • Intro to Nose Work: Dogs are introduced to the game through the use of boxes and a favorite toy or treat reward (bring a back-up toy, and plenty of high value treats). The goal of this class is to build the dogs’ confidence to search and solve problems independently and to expose the dogs to various environmental challenges as they learn to focus on the search.

    Handlers get to learn the most effective methods for motivating their dogs to search independently, including the power of self-reward. For dogs and handlers just looking to enjoy the game at their own pace, this class may be repeated many times with adjustments to the difficulty level to keep the dog challenged and engaged. Students should plan to remain in Level 1 Nose Work for multiple sessions as they work to build skills, confidence and good habits with their dog.

    Prerequisite: Dogs must be at least 6 months of age and be content in a crate (that you provide) during class.

  • Intro to Odor: Building on the foundation skills from Intro to Nose Work, this class focuses on teaching the dogs to search for a special target odor (one of three official essential oils used in K9 Nose Work). Dogs will learn to search expanded areas more effectively and handlers will learn valuable techniques for supporting their dogs in the search.

    Prerequisite: Intro to Nose Work or instructor approval.

  • Intermediate Nose Work: This class is for dogs who have completed the Intro to Odor class and have shown proficiency in finding the initial target odor. Dog and handler teams will continue to develop the skills required to successfully search larger areas with more difficult hide placements and with focus on the four elements of competition: container searches, interior, exterior, and vehicle searches. The remaining two target odors will also be introduced at this level.

    Prerequisite: Intro to Odor or instructor approval.

  • Experienced dog and handler teams will find the challenges offered in this course highly rewarding. Dogs will be introduced to new and difficult search scenarios under the guidance of the instructor to ensure a positive learning experience. Handlers will focus on increasing their ability to support their dogs through a greater understanding of the various factors affecting how scent moves.

    Prerequisite: Instructor approval.

Intro to Canine Tracking

Tracking is a canine sport that demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognize and follow a scent. Not only is it fun and satisfying for the dog to do something that comes so naturally to him, but the ability to discriminate, detect and follow a scent is the foundation for the work dogs do in canine search and rescue, drug and disease detection, finding the correct scent article for Utility level obedience, alerting to seizures or changes in blood sugar levels, and much more.

  • Cloud Nine’s Intro to Tracking class will help you learn how to track for fun with your dog and will also help you get started on the skills and criteria needed to earn an AKC Tracking Dog title.

    Class will meet initially at our New Hope school, but most of the work will be done outdoors, so you must be willing to drive to the various locations. After you register for class, you will receive a list of things that you will need to bring with you, including hiking boots, rain gear, a tracking harness, a long line, and bug spray, to name a few.

    No prerequisite to participate. Puppies and dogs of ANY age can start this activity, and since all dogs have a natural ability to follow a scent, any breed is capable of learning to track. If you and your dog love the outdoors (and exercise), and if you want to do something fun with your dog, then tracking is for you!

dog questions

Got Questions?