Life Skills (Stage 1) Classes

The Life Skills (Stage 1) course has been developed to help your puppy, dogolescent or adult dog to learn key life skills, and to give you a solid foundation in core training and management techniques.


The focus of the course is helping you:


  • Learn how to train your puppy / dog to understand what behaviour you would like them to choose in a range of different situations (whether you cue the behaviour or not)

  • Enhance your understanding of what your puppy / dog is communicating through their behaviour and how to respond to them appropriately

  • Develop your training technique to give both you and your puppy / dog the best chances of success in reaching your training goals.

Through a variety of reward-based training exercises, you will learn how to work with your puppy / dog to encourage, and request from them, a wide range of desirable behaviours, including:


  • Focus / attention towards you

  • ‘Settle’ in place – default calmness

  • Positions - 'sit', 'down' and 'stand'

  • Recall - games to make coming back to you reliable and fun!

  • Walking on a loose lead – no pulling!

  • ‘Stay’ / 'wait'

  • Release cues - inviting your dog to do something else

  • Safety behaviours including 'leave-it' and 'drop'

  • How to play politely with people

  • Calm greetings – with people and other dogs


If your puppy or dog currently has, or has previously had, any difficulties socialising with other dogs, or unfamiliar people, please contact Sara to discuss whether this course will be appropriate for them (if you are interested in the in-person classes), or whether there are other training options which may be better-suited to your canine chum.

The Life Skills (Stage 1) course is offered in two formats - in-person and online via Zoom video conferencing.


In-person classes


In-person classes take place outdoors in the securely-fenced grass paddocks at K9 Woodland Services, located just off the A4074 at Summer Cottage, Cane End, RG4 9HG, approximately equidistant between the main local towns of Henley-on-Thames, Reading and Wallingford, which are all around a 15 minute drive away.


A maximum of five dogs, each accompanied by one owner, are permitted to take part in any in-person group class at the present time, in order to comply with UK Government guidance for England regarding coronavirus, which limits participation in group activities to six people from different households (your trainer makes up the sixth person!). If more than one household member would like to take part in the training sessions, you can opt for our online ‘living room’ version of the classes, or alternatively you may wish to consider one-to-one in-person training which allows for all members of an individual household to take part.


‘Living room’ classes


Owners who haven’t tried online dog training before may feel unsure about choosing this option, however clients who have already trained with us in this way have enjoyed the experience, and ‘living room’ classes offer a number of benefits to owners and puppies alike:


  • Starting your puppy’s training as soon as they arrive at home with you – no delays in learning caused by waiting for vaccinations to be completed

  • Puppies are usually at their most relaxed and confident and least distracted in their home environment, which makes learning and practising new skills much quicker and easier for puppy and owner alike

  • All of the family can take part (since in-person classes are currently restricted to one owner per dog, because of the limits placed by UK Government guidance relating to the novel coronavirus, on the number of people from different households who may come together in a group)

  • You don’t have to travel to classes, saving you time and money

  • Our overheads are lower which means we can deliver online classes to you at a lower price than our in-person classes


Both the in-person and online versions of the Life Skills (Stage 1) course include 6 x 45 minute classes, as well as after-class support via telephone, video call or email.


You and your puppy / dog will receive a graduation gift for completing the course.


You can also join our Life Skills (Foundation) course (online) if you would like some additional support with settling your new puppy / dog in at home. The Foundation course is particularly relevant for young puppies up to around the age of 16 weeks old, to help ensure that their early developmental needs are being met during the critical early socialisation period of their life, which starts at birth and goes on until your puppy is around 3 to 4 months of age. You can participate in both the Stage 1 and Foundation Life Skills courses concurrently, thereby taking part in two different classes each week, however the classes should be taken on separate days so as not to overwhelm your puppy.


6 week course (in-person):     £90.00

6 week course (online):          £60.00

For upcoming start dates and times for the Life Skills (Stage 1) course, please visit the Class Dates & Prices page. To register your interest in booking onto the course please complete and submit the Registration Form on the Booking Information page.

What clients say

“Sara was very patient with us humans as well as dogs, and her knowledge and expertise really shone through during instructions and demonstrations. The small class size was great as all the dogs were able to get some more targeted instruction, and Sara was always very relaxed and calm during the sessions. I can highly recommend Sara’s classes for any new puppy owners.”

Vicky and Bran the Border Collie

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07833 662417

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire