The Family Companion

WNY's Premier Professionals in Pet Training & Behavior Health

New Class Offered During this time of Social Isolation


A Walk in the Park

coming events

 “A Walk in the Park”. This class is offered on Saturdays at 1P at the Elma Village Green, 3007 Bowen Road, Elma starting May 2nd. This is a 4 week program that will include training discussions, climbing natural obstacles and hands on training with the pups. All dogs must be wearing a secure collar (martingale style preferred) or harness with a 6’ leash NO RETRACTABLE. Bring plenty of high value food treats that your dog will eat when in a distracting environment. Pet parents will be required to wear masks and both dogs and humans are to abide to the 6’ recommendation of social distance. Cost of the program is $100.00 and by reservation. In the event of rain we will postpone the class for that week. This program is appropriate for all ages of dogs. Vaccinations are always recommended.

Should you have any questions  or would like to  reserve a spot, please reply to this email or call (716) 592-0802.

Warm Wags,

Marcia Rafter Ritchie, LVT, CPDT, VTS-Behavior

Buffalo, New York

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Group Dog Training Classes


Proof of vaccinations (including canine cough) are required before the first working class with dogs

Family Companion Class

This program is designed for the adolescent dog (5 months to 2-3 years of age). Although a portion of our classes are set aside for traditional obedience training, what makes our program unique is the way we apply these exercises to practical household use. With fun, innovative lessons, we teach you to make the most of our classes while your dog is at home with your family. Problem behaviors commonly encountered with dogs of this age are also addressed. We cover such exercises as how to get your dogç—´ attention, the sit stay & the down stay, each week adding time & distance. We work a lot with coming when called. Polite leash walking is also covered, as the dogs learn to focus on their handlers in stead of the distractions in the environment. A greeting routine, to help prevent jumping on in coming guests, is also established. We teach the "wait" for better control around doorways, stairs and while crossing the street. Itç—´ the ideal class for establishing good manners and building a positive relationship with the family pet. The program runs a total of 7 one hour classes. Although the class size is limited to 8 dogs, there is no limit on the amount of household members that attend.

Graduate Family Companion Class (Canine Good Citizen Prep Course)

This program is designed for dogs that have successfully completed our Family Companion Class or a similar approved program. The purpose of this class is to ensure that your dog is a respected member of the community who is trained and conditioned to act mannerly in the home, in public places and also in the presence of other dogs. During this class we will prepare your dog to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, which is periodically offered at different locations in WNY. Class exercises will focus on accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, appearance & grooming, walking on a loose lead, walking through a crowd, sit, down & stay, coming when called, reaction to another dog, reaction to distraction,and supervised isolation. A CGC certification is a prerequisite prior to enrolling in the Pet Therapy Prep class.

Pet Therapy Prep

This 5 week course will help prepare you and your dog to brighten the lives of others who may be ill or physically and/or mentally challenged. Topics covered will be: how to interact and communicate with people you wish to visit; information on the different types of facilities to visit; training tips for successful visits; and hands on visitation at local nursing home. In addition, we will discuss the importance of joining a reputable therapy group and cover many of the skills required to pass the mandatory evaluations required of these groups. All dogs must have Canine Good Citizen certification prior to entering this program.

Obstacle Fun

Whether for fun or exercise, our class is designed to be enjoyed by all. Dogs learn to negotiate different jumps, tunnels, mazes, weave poles, platforms, dog walks and ramps. Your dog will develop confidence, utilize excess energy, and its great exercise for you too! Itç—´ also a wonderful introduction to the sport of agility training. Dogs must attend our Family Companion Class prior to enrollment in this 4 week program. It is one of our rotating programs, meaning upon approval you can join in the fun most any time. This is one of most popular programs we offer; some of our students have been attending consistently for years.

Senior Companion Class

We are proud to announce the first and only class specially designed for the senior dog in Western New York. This 4 week, 1 hour behavioral enrichment course will positively impact your dogç—´ social, cognitive and physical well being. Our class focuses stretching, puzzle toys, mazes, low level obstacles, obedience and massage. These activities are all proven to be of benefit to older pets. Discussion on physical and behavioral changes commonly seen in senior dogs is also covered. Your dogç—´ quality of life is in your hands. Let us help you make his/her last years happier.