On group class instruction


When Dick and I launched this website one of the key objectives was to inform prospective users of the method with a better idea of what to expect from the class experience.  We felt the need to do this because there were too many ‘modified’ versions being taught which didn’t represent what we do at all.


There is no such thing as ‘modified’ Koehler.  It is what it is, and the book represents it accurately.  Yes, sometimes adaptations are made to accommodate certain handler challenges, or when working dogs with handicaps (blindness, deafness, deformities, amputations), but the basic structure, form and flow of the material is the same.


The Koehler method of dog training is a true method, not some random collection of techniques presented in any hodge-podge manner; instead, there is order, structure, uniformity, and consistency.  And while instructors leading the classes may have different experiences and teaching styles, you can count on the foundation and base structure to be uniformly the same from trainer to trainer. 


Here are a few examples of what one can expect to see at a class when it is being led by a trained and well-schooled class instructor:


Week one is held without dogs, except for a student demo dog.  We want you to see what you can expect from the class experience, and there is no better way to do this than to let you see, meet, and speak with a recent class graduate.  The instructor will then spend the next forty-five minutes carefully explaining how to get the training started.  When you come to class the following week you and your dog will be properly prepared to move forward.


To be sure your dog is properly prepared, each new week, the instructor will open the class with a readiness test designed to check each dog’s preparedness.  He will then move you forward, or he will explain what you need to do before you move forward.  No dog moves forward until the instructor is satisfied that the previous week’s homework has been correctly done.  


Readiness testing: these tests are as uniform as the method itself, and all instructors properly leading you through the course are going to test the dogs and handlers the same way.  Here are a few examples:


Week two: a simple right-about turn away from some competing distraction; generally it will be another dog, but it could be any other safely contained distractor as well.


Week three: the ‘Tunnel of Love.’  Your instructor will form a six-foot wide tunnel from two lines of students and dogs (usually 10+ dogs a side), into which each dog and handler team will need to heel, on a loose leash, and sit on a single command at the direction of the instructor (who may stop you at any place along the length of the tunnel).


Week four: scrambled heeling.  This week, the instructor is looking to see that you can manage your dog through the commands of heeling and automatic sit, stand, and stay … and can do so with dogs to the left, to the right, coming up from either side, the back, or head on.


And as the weeks progress, these tests become more challenging.  For instance, to test week-five’s polishing assignment, we will (at the beginning of the wk6 class) do a ‘string test’ (you can read about that in the book for yourself).


Did I mention that there is a book involved? No? Well shame on me.  At the first class you will be introduced to the book, the “Koehler Method of Dog Training”, which is available ‘used’ from the usual sources, but the best deals seem to be on Ebay, or Amazon.


Why have your own copy of the book?  It’s like having a tutorial of your very own to help you with what you may not remember from the weekly class instruction.  And to help you with that, each week your instructor is going to give you a class handout sheet that can be easily folded and placed in your pocket for you to take with you when you work your dog.


The importance of the support you get from an honest to goodness Koehler class instructor:  Simply put, your success in using the method is our business.  You will have the benefit of class instruction and the class handouts, plus you can buy the book, or borrow a copy from the library; and if that fails you … you will have your instructor’s phone number and email address.  With all that, you should have all the support you need to train your own dog.


What if you come to some spot in the course and something just isn’t gelling for you? You can’t remember some detail, but you know something isn’t right?  Then you get on your computer, and you email me.  I will personally help you along. 


Again your success in using the method is our business, and we take it very seriously.


You and your dog deserve no less.  


Note: visit our “Trainers List” to see who may be close to you.  If you can’t find anyone near you, then please feel free to write me.  I maintain a referral list of those whom have taken and passed an instructor’s course on using and teaching the method. NEW: you can now find many from [the previously held private] referral list under the "Dog Obedience Instructors" tab in the left column menu.

To learn of other training options, especially suited for those living in remote areas or simply can’t make the drive to get to a class location, please feel free to contact me.


To reach Tony, please write or call:




(209) 293-4747

(please remember that I am on Pacific Standard Time)