Pack Therapy/Healthy Play programme Information

Our Spirit Ridge K9 Crew

Spirit Ridge's  'Paws for Literacy' Programme

Training videos and slideshows of our dogs

Spirit Ridge 'Brags'!

Client Testimonials and Newsprint Articles about Spirit Ridge 

Important Reading:

Articles of Interest to Dog 'Owners'!

Our Rescued Friends' Hall of Fame

In Memorium
Jesse girl

"Zorro" (1999-2014)

"KOUKLA" (1998-2011)

A Tribute to Koukla's life

"TEQUILA" (2005-2011)

( 1995- 2008)


    Spirit Ridge K9 Training  & Rescue

PO Box 70,
Hillsburgh, Ontario, N0B 1Z0   


"........ because sit happens"


At Spirit Ridge K9 Training & Rescue we offer a wide array of K9 Training Services, Behaviour Modification advice and activities tailored to your dog's temperament and working abilities.  We offer both an outdoor fenced-in training area set on a 22 acre rural property just north of Hillsburgh as well as a comfortable indoor 1,300 square training facility constructed and finished in August 2007.  This facility is insulated, heated and has rubber floor matting to help cushion our furry friends' jumps when they practice agility and other like dog sports!  

There are many reasons to choose Spirit Ridge for your dog training needs.  Here are the top ten reasons.

The following classes are offered in the Winter/Spring 2017-18 training season - please e-mail us or call Jim at 519-855-6962 for further information and start dates. 

Dog Training and Dog Sport Classes

Below, is a description of some of the courses we offer on a regular basis.  From time to time, we offer specialized or customized courses - usually a minimum of four dog/handler teams is required in such cases.  If you have any questions or would like a customized course for your group, please contact us via email or tel: (519) 855 6962 and ask for Jim. 

BEGINNER GROUP OBEDIENCE CLASSES:    In this Beginner Group Obedience class expect to be taught motivational techniques and the proper use of praise, toys and/or food motivation to get the most out of your dogs.   The fact that we are one of the few training schools that not only allows 'bad' boys and girls in our obedience classes but also does not segregate them away from the other better behaved dogs, is an incredibly powerful learning experience for all handlers.  Our philosophy is that unless handlers learn to confidently face their worst fears, then there is no point in doing any group obedience classes.  The real world is full of challenges and the behavioural portion of our classes incorporates help for those handlers wanting to learn to negotiate the real world with their dog and not hide them away behind tall fences and in their homes.   Please call (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us to register for our next Beginner group obedience class.  Fee: $190.00 - includes HST.  This class is assisted by our K9 staff member "Sonic" as well as our "Ochi"as needed.

PUP-TASTICS COURSE:  This 6 week course is targeted for puppies up to 6 months of age who have had little or no exposure to proper or enough socialization during the first critical months of their life at home.  During this course, the puppies will not only socialize with each other and learn proper K9 social skills (under supervision) but will also be exposed to our own trained older mature and stable dogs.  This will be invaluable as the puppies will also learn social K9 skills from one of their own species who has the skill and patience to teach them.  All existing behavioural problems in the home will be addressed and solutions will be provided.  Furthermore, handlers will be taught how to 'play train' their puppies at home (only through use of purely positive techniques), administer proper and calming massage, and get them on their way to more formal obedience training. All puppies will be properly exposed to environmental obstacles (ladders, agility tunnel, different terrain) under supervision in order to create a solid foundation and improve the stability of their temperament. Expect to start laying the foundation from proper (no pull) walking, working on your sits-downs, laying the foundation for rock-solid "stays", learning the proper way to begin training your "come" (recall) command, teaching the "stand" command as well as offering alternate taught behaviours (such as the "place" command) instead of the craziness at the door or with the household cat(s).  Please call (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us to get information on our next pup-tastics class (6 weeks, Cost: $190.00, includes HST).  This class is assisted by our K9 staff member "Ka-Pow".

Puppy/Family Behavioural sessionIt is frequently not possible to hold a pup-tastics class simply because there is no minimum critical mass of available puppies to have one.  Waiting lists for puppy classes don't work well either since the window of opportunity to hold such a class in a puppy's life is limited - most likely between 3 and 6 months of age.   As a result, Spirit Ridge offers the next best option - a puppy/family behavioural session.  These sessions are geared to solving all traditional puppy issues (biting, chewing, housebreaking, proper feeding, initial proper walking instruction, jumping up, crating, proper introductions with other young or older dogs etc.).  They are also geared to answering any and all questions families have both about their current issues as well as assessing the future potential of their puppy.

An initial one to two hour session is enough to start a family out on the right paw and offer guidance on how to manage the puppy's initial steps amongst humans.  These sessions can take place at our training facility - however, if necessary, these can occur in the privacy of your own home.

The cost of these puppy sessions is $80/hr at our training facility ($120/hr in your home).  Please call (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us to get more information on our puppy/family behavioural sessions.

PACK THERAPY/HEALTHY PLAY SESSIONS:   As of December 4, 2013, Spirit Ridge K9 Training & Rescue has been holding pack therapy/healthy play sessions for the day.  Approved dogs can be dropped off between 7:30 and 9AM and be picked up between 4:30 and 6:30 PM. (Note: special arrangements outside these hours will be permitted following mutual agreement) each week on Tuesday.

The specific objective, throughout the day, will be to promote proper socialization, healthy play and tolerance of each other in a carefully monitored and supervised environment.  Our primary K9 assistant will be our Belgian Malinois "Ochi", a master of healthy doggy play as well as our newest addition to the Spirit Ridge K9 pack, "Ka-Pow".

For more information on our pack therapy/healthy play sessions and how you can have your dog's suitability for this programme assessed, please click here.

This series of classes is ideally suited for those dogs that need to learn to "work" but are either shy, aggressive, fearful of other dogs or lack confidence.  This course makes use of the strongest "asset" our dogs bring to the table ... their sense of "smell".  The activity is taught individually in a group class setting so everyone can learn from how differently dogs approach this "job" once they learn what is expected of them. We teach this course based on the trial requirements of the Association we belong to (the
Sporting Dog Detection Association).  This course is limited to a maximum of six dog/handler teams.  For more information on this exciting new course, please click here.  

Started (Beginner) course:
There are only two requirements to enter this course - one, that your dog tolerates being crated until its turn to work and two, that your dog knows how to "sit" on cue.  If not, you will need to start teaching the "sit" cue.  If you are interested in registering for the next Beginner Scent Detection class starting Monday March 19th,  please email us or call (519) 855-6962. 

Advanced Scent Detection course:
There will be two scents used in this 6 week course - wintergreen and pine - in accordance with the SDDA trial rules.  This is a 6 week course with a fee of $210.00.  It requires either an SDDA Started title or the completion of our Beginner Scent Detection course. This course is limited to a maximum of four dog/handler teams.

Please call us at (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us for more information about these scent detection courses.    (6 weeks, Fee: $210.00 includes HST) - Note: 1st class is always 1.5 hour length compared to regular class time of 1 hour).  This class is assisted by our K9 staff members Spirit Ridge's "Ochi" and N'Sonic Boom Van Arek ("Sonic")

This six (6) week class requires completion of the Beginner Group Obedience class here at Spirit Ridge or an equivalent class elsewhere.  The level of obedience taught in the intermediate class builds on the simple commands taught in the beginner class and takes it one step further.  We will not only teach new obedience commands but also start to 'proof' the commands (ie teach the dogs to 'hold' the commands no matter the distraction).  Heeling will continue to be a mainstay of the class and Figure 8s, weave heeling and all sorts of turns will be taught and perfected.  The initial introductory steps for off leash heeling will be taught to the dog/handler teams showing focus on-leash.  The course curriculum borrows its requirements from both the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC's) Companion Dog (CD) level requirements as well as the CARO Rally Obedience Novice level.    Please call (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us to enquire or register for our next Intermediate group obedience class.  (6 weeks, Fee: $190.00, includes HST). This class is assisted by our K9 staff member N'Sonic Boom Van Arek ("Sonic")

AGILITY CLASSES (Intro & Beginner):   The 6 week Intro course introduces you and your dog to the basic agility obstacles, jumps, tunnels and contact equipment. The Beginner class varies from the Intro class because it presumes basic knowledge of all the equipment and emphasizes footwork development and  proper body positioning allowing your K9 teammate to 'read' you and your commands better on the course.  Prerequisites: Dogs registering for the agility classes must be able to behave in a high activity class, in the presence of other dogs learning the sport.  If your dog cannot function in such an environment, you are required to take our Beginner Group Obedience course as a pre-requisite to registering for agility classes.  (Cost: $190.00 includes HST).  Note: These two agility courses are open to dogs over the age of 1 year (for large breed dogs, the age is 1.5 years).  This rule ensures no detrimental health impact on your dog's joints before they are fully developed. This class is assisted by our K9 staff member "Ochi"      

PUPPY AGILITY COURSE:  This six week basic introductory low impact agility class is specifically tailored to young dogs (under the age of 1 year) paying particular attention to the fact that their musculoskeletal system is still under development.  The puppies will be properly introduced to all the agility equipment and handlers will have an opportunity to determine whether their pups have an aptitude for this wonderful dog sport.  Simultaneously, puppies will have an opportunity to properly socialize with their new buddies in a fun and active environment.  Training will also include help with moderate behavioural issues, where appropriate.  Please call (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us for more information about this class. (6 weeks, Cost: $190.00 includes HST  

RALLY-OBEDIENCE CLASSES (Beginner):  Get involved in this new dog sport that teaches obedience in a fun way for both dogs and handlers!  A course is set up with 10-19 signs each of which instruct the dog/handler team to perform a certain obedience exercise.  Dog/handler teams in the Intro level course will learn all the basic commands as well as how to motivate their dogs to do the obedience exercises.  Remember, Rally-O is a dog sport that allows constant communication with your dog .... it's supposed to be fun!  Teams will also have an opportunity to test themselves in a few short courses.  The Beginner class will offer more advanced techniques to perfect the commands and teams will have several opportunities to run a full Rally-O course.  Pre-requisites: Beginner group obedience class and ability of the dog to properly heel and reliably execute basic obedience commands (sit, down, turns, come, all on leash - minimum size of class is three handlers. 

Please call (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us to register for our next Novice Rally Obedience class. 
(6 weeks, Cost: $190.00)
  Classes are assisted by K9 staff members "Sonic" & "Ochi"

RALLY-OBEDIENCE (Advanced):  Requires completion of our Beginner course and/or successful acquisition of the Novice Rally Obedience title.  Please call (519) 855-6962 or e-mail us to register for our next class.  (6 weeks, Cost: $190.00, includes HST)  Classes are assisted by our K9 staff member "Sonic".

Behaviour Modification Sessions

At Spirit Ridge we believe that no K9 should be left behind; dogs that have issues with dog-on-dog or dog-on-human aggression are welcome. The nature of these issues as well as safety precautions, make it imperative that - initially - such sessions be private.  All behavioural problems are addressed at our training facility or, if you feel more comfortable, we will hold the session in the privacy of your home to help you with your  dog's "issues". Once your dog has overcome the initial problems, we recommend careful integration into our group obedience classes.

Our in-home private sessions consist of:

-- an initial consultation (during which a questionnaire about you, your dog and the dog's environment and temperament is conducted).  Initial advice  and training take place during this first session.  Due to the seriousness of many of these aggression/dominance issues families face with their dogs, we try to provide help during this first session that will address the key issues and give families some relief.  

Most dog "owners" report immediate improvement after using our recommended handling techniques and making the in-home changes that are recommended.  Please note that the comprehensive nature of our recommendations is such that dog owners cannot "cherry pick" and use the ones they like while 'shelving' those they prefer less.  Consistency is a main requirement for success as dogs see things very much in a 'black or white' manner.  As a result, all actions on the families' part need to be consistent and point the dog only in one direction - that the humans in the family are indeed, the pack leaders.  The initial consultation typically lasts between 1.5 and 2 hours.   At the end of the private session you are left with both specific recommendations and instructional handouts.

-- follow up Support:  There is much to absorb from the first session. Occasionally, handlers feel overwhelmed with the magnitude of information and help imparted on the first session.  Have no fear!  We are only an e-mail message or phone call away - if you forget or are unsure of something or there is a family disagreement on how to properly address an issue.   We are available to you (at no extra charge) for any questions or clarifications stemming from the initial consultation.  Applying the lessons you learn, correctly and consistently, are very important for your success and we are with you every step of the way even long after we leave your home!

-- follow up additional sessions:  In most instances, the initial consultation is enough to get you well on your way to controlling your dog(s).  However, in a small percentage of difficult cases or multi-dog/animal homes, it may be necessary to make a return visit and help with specific issues.  These visits usually last no more than 1 hour.  To date, we have never been required to make more than two visits to any household.

Following our in-home visit(s), do not be surprised if you are urged to attend an upcoming group obedience class at Spirit Ridge, in order to make your transition from behaviour modification to obedience training - in the presence of up to five other dogs and handlers.  During these classes, we not only teach the usual sits, downs, come, heeling, turns etc commands but we also attend to any further behavioural needs you or your dog may have  in a supportive environment.  Unlike some other training schools, everyone attending our classes is there not only to learn but to also help each other.  We have all been in the very same situation, at one time or another, and know that training for real life situations is the only way we can be prepared for real life situations.

The cost of private behaviour modification sessions ranges from $100-$160 per hour depending on the location of the session and the complexity of the case. 

Please e-mail us or call Jim at 519-855-6962 to enquire about our private behaviour modification sessions.