Our training philosophy /

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Employing the latest in best practices

Every dog is different, and many dog training techniques exist. What to do?

At Swansea we gravitate to a motivational approach as studies have shown that when a dog performs a behavior willingly, there is a higher retention rate which leads to reliability even when a dog faces tempting distractions. Having a dog who behaves well because he wants to is better than behaving because he has to.

We encourage a happy, positive approach so your dog will equate trying new things with good times and amazing rewards. Likewise, we want you to have fun too because isn't that why you got your dog in the first place?

One size does not always fit all so we are flexible when it comes to employing different methods to reach the same goals. As far as we are concerned training is really about communication, and by reading your dog properly you can make great strides quickly. This is a two way street and your dog can teach you a lot too, so long as you leave your ego at the door and show your dog respect and consideration. Mutual respect and trust allows you to build a closer bond with your dog. And, by the way, an "educated dog" make a much more interesting companion, with a deeper cognitive powers and consciousness. It is remarkable how profound a connection you can forge after working with your dog even for a short time. What you get back will far exceed the effort you put in.

We DO NOT not employ coercive training, based on punishment, which was popular in the past. Yes, it can be effective, for the same reasons criminals and rogue states get what they want by threatening or using violence. But we do not believe punishing your dog into submission is anymore ethical than doing so with a person. While it may be true that some special ciumstances may require a stern and memorable correction, this should be a tool used only under the strict supervision of a qualified animal behaviourist.

Training with a gentle hand can take more skill and finesse, compared to crude methods, but long term, that's the way to go if you are looking to build a lasting relationship both you and your dog feel good about. You will never regret treating your dog compassionately.

Frequently asked questions

It's easy, simply click on the question, and the answer will appear below.

No. We welcome both members and non-members to our classes. Click here to view our range of classes.

By finding our website, you’ve already made the first step. Congratulations! We recommend clicking here to check out our range of beginner-level classes and see which is right for you and your dog. Puppy Kindergarten is highly recommended for dogs between 10-20 weeks, or Obedience Level 1 for all ages. Still not sure? Click here for our contact form and send us your questions!

There are many perks of becoming a club member, including; special membership class fees, access to member-only classes, fun social events and many more! Click here to learn more about membership perks, eligibility criteria and to find our application form.

Obedience trials are a fun place to showcase the skills of both dog and handler in a social, competitive environment. Trials are overseen by official organizations, like the Canadian Kennel Club, where licensed judges evaluate your dog's skill in order to bestow titles. An obedience title is like a university degree for your dog and obedience trials are like final exams. You need to pass (or 'qualify' in obedience parlance) three times under at least two separate judges to earn a title. Different dog sports, including Rally-Obedience, Agility, all operate under the same rules, but more esoteric sports like tracking, and barn hunt, have different requirements. Ask your Swansea Dog Obedience Club Instructor for details. Titles are a great way to honour your dog and challenge your skill.

No. At SDOC we welcome all dogs and owners who are interested in learning new skills, working together and furthering their bond. Obedience trials do provide a fun and competitive arena for both you and your dog, however, so we highly recommend giving them a try!

Wrong! Although it’s great to start training your dog as a puppy, dogs of all ages benefit from a structured learning environment, while having tons of fun along the way...

Don't be alarmed. You have already proven you are smarter than most humans by recognizing your (comaparative) intellectual limitations. The true (secret) purpose of our school has nothing to do with dog training; it's about brainwashing humans into thinking they are in control of their dogs. Since you obviously have a genius level IQ let's be frank. About all you can do is manage the problem by becoming a nicer and more interesting human and hope your dog recognizes the effort. If so, he may actually throw you a bone from time to time, and listen to what you have to say. That's the true curriculum: Teaching you to be nice to your dog. The idea of controlling your dog is an illusion, but we are pretty good at fooling people into believing it.

If that happens, you're in big trouble Missy. You go to the back of the class with a dunce cap. Your dog gets a mild rebuke for having such a stupid owner. So, if you get the urge to eat your dog's homework, please be sensible and eat a shoe or chew up a roll of toilet paper instead.

Maybe, but he may need to be streamed into our dog ESL course, unless he is really smart. Better still, why don't you improve your own intellect by learning dog Spanish? You would no longer have to use ridiculous gestures to communicate with your own dog and you could strike up interesting conversations with Mexican street dogs while on vacation there.

This is a private dog school, so the EQAO does not apply. Suffice to say our students consistently rank well above public schools. As a matter of fact, we rank in the top 1%.

If barking, pulling your arm off while walking, and peeing on your rug constitute 'spirit' then most definitely. Otherwise no.

In most cases yes. Transgender dogs are welcome, but must be accompanied by a transgender person only. This is to prevent the dog from having gender identity issues during teacher-parent night. On the other hand, a gay or lesbian dog can be accompanied by a transgendered straight person but not a transgendered gay person. Then you have the case of a transgender straight, but neutered dog, which (obviously) must be accompanied only by a lesbian person. Get it? It all makes sense if you think about it. Suffice to say, we try to embrace diversity as much as possible, while still keeping the dog's emotional well being in mind.

Technically no. However, there have been instances where some cats dressed up as dogs and nobody was the wiser. So, as long as your cat looks like a dog, walks like a dog, and barks like a dog there is nothing much we can do to stop you. Just bear in mind, graduates are only given dog diplomas, which are not recognized at cat colleges.

Your dog will love you

Puppy Classes

Our foundation classes will help you start your puppy on the right track.

Dog Sports

Exciting sports for dogs and owners! We offer Introductory classes, Agility, Rally-O & more.

Obedience and Rally

Classes at all levels! From basic obedience to the highest levels of competition, we offer it all.

Club Membership

Learn more about the benefits of becoming a Swansea Obedience Club member...


"My dog and I greatly enjoyed Brian's Open CDX class. Brian's enthusiasm, knowledge and instruction was superb and we feel more prepared as we continue on our competitive obedience journey. In the past 12 years with multiple dogs of different breeds, I have taken puppy, level 1 and 2 obedience, rally, competitive obedience and dog sport classes with Swansea Dog Obedience Club and enjoyed all of these classes. Thank you Swansea for offering quality instruction and a wide variety of training options."
Monica and Brio (Doberman Pinscher)

"I would like to thank Brian from Swansea Dog Obedience Club for helping me make a breakthrough with my Border Terrier, Pym. We have been struggling for months with retrieving the dumbell in Open. I have tried so many things to motivate her. This is actually a bigger issue than just between me and Pym. I have struggled with the dumbell with other dogs. It really affected my confidence in the ring and, I feel, hurt my relationship with my dogs. (All my fault!!)

After a couple of weeks of Brian's calm instruction and unfailing positivity, we made a breakthrough! Pym retrieved the dumbell with a happy attitude!! I really feel I may have given up on Competition Obedience if this had not happened. Thank you so much for keeping us going, checking in and your detailed homework."
Lisa and Pym (Border Terrier)

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