...where the 'FL' for "Finger Lakes" could just as easily stand for "Fun Loving"

Great dogs attend our classes, even if they don't start that way...

Obedience, CGC, Rally & Show Handling Classes

SUMMER 2017 Classes

FLAOA's 2017 SUMMER Classes will be held outdoors at Sagedust Square, Dusty's fenced agility yard.  Contact Dusty for directions at sagedust@htva.net .  Here is the schedule:

Registration has been changed to Sunday, July 9th; all classes will be pushed forward by two weeks.


6:00pm Puppy/Beginner Obedience (8wks) 

7:00pm Graduate Beginner Obedience (8wks)

8:00pm CGC Class (6wks)


  (Wednesdays are reserved for Monday rain dates.)



6:00pm Puppy/Beginner Agility (6wks) 

7:00pm Advanced Agility Skills (6wks)

8:00pm Full Courses (6wks)


  (Thursdays are reserved for Tuesday rain dates.)


If there is enough interest in either a Games class and/or a Tricks class, simply email Dusty with your interest, and we can add such class(es) to a time slot on Friday evening, or Saturday or Sunday afternoon schedule.

Class Dates:

June 26 (Week 1)
July 3 (Wk 2)**
July 10 (Wk 3)
July 17 (Wk 4)
July 24 (Wk 5)
July 31 (Wk 6)
Aug 7 (Wk 7)
Aug 14 (Wk 8)


June 27 (Week 1)
July 4 (Wk 2)**
July 11 (Wk 3)
July 18 (Wk 4)
July 25 (Wk 5)
Aug 1 (Wk 6)
Aug 8 (Wk 7)
Aug 15 (Wk 8)


  **Due to the holiday, we will discuss at registration if students would prefer to move this week’s classes to later in the week or have no class at all.

****  The prerequisite for enrollment in the Growling Dogs class is either prior completion of a puppy or beginner class with FLAOA, or, current enrollment in one such class with us.  While we respect and applaud that a student may have completed a beginner obedience class with another trainer or training organization, beginner classes vary from one group or trainer to another.  Since this class deals with dogs that have "issues", we must be certain that each handler has physical control of their dog and understands the exercises utilized in the class -- class time cannot be spent on explanations or demonstrations of various exercises.  Hence there are no exceptions to this prerequisite. Sorry -- Growlers class is not being offered in Summer 2017.

Of course, the class schedule and instructors are subject to change, dependent on who enrolls in which class, unanticipated life emergencies, and other factors.  In other words, as we frequently point out in class, when one shares life with a dog, one must learn to be flexible, figuratively and sometimes literally. 


As always, the obedience class itself will cover not only basic obedience, but also other aspects of dog ownership, as well as address some behavioral issues.  Our goal is to help you leave our class with a well-behaved, enjoyable canine family member.  We use positive, motivational methods that make it fun for the dog, so he'll learn faster, but we do so in such a manner as to turn out dogs that understand who's boss in their household (hint:  it's not the dog!).  These are not clicker classes, but the use of clickers in class is allowed by those who are already knowledgeable in clicker training.  Bottom line:  We train positively, but we positively are not permissive! 


If you know the class(es) in which you are interested, you are encouraged to reserve a spot in the class(es) by sending an email to Dusty at sagedust@htva.net prior to registration.


Students should complete and bring with them to Registration two forms -- the Registration/Waiver form and the Pre-Training Survey (links below), along with a copy of their dog's vaccination records...make certain it's a COPY because we're going to keep it on file with your registration paperwork.  Agility students should complete and bring with them to Agility Registration two forms -- the Registration/Waiver form and the Agility Questionnaire (links below), along with a copy of their dog's vaccination records.  (Please note:  AGILITY students can usually find the appropriate agility forms on our Agility Class page as well, and their dogs must have completed or be currently enrolled in a beginner obedience class to enroll in agility -- the only exception to this prerequisite are those dogs who have already earned at least one leg toward an agility title.)

2017 Summer Registration and Waiver form.pdf

Pre-Training Survey.pdf

Agility Questionnaire:  FLAOA 2017 Summer Agility Questionnaire.pdf


Registration for all classes (except agility) will be held on Sunday, July 9th, at 2:00pm, followed at 2:30pm by our Intro Session, at Sagedust Square.   Obedience Registration and the Intro Session take about 2 hours, so please plan accordingly --- please bring a lawn chair, and feel free to bring along your travel mug of coffee or hot chocolate or your bottle of water (or whatever cool, non-alcoholic beverage you prefer).  These are held WITHOUT dogs, so please leave Rover home for the evening of the 25th.  (NOTE:  Agility registration will follow the obedience intro session at 4:00pm, with a short [30 minute] agility intro session at 4:30pm.)  We will cover all the paperwork, class rules, what to expect from classes, and more; essentially we'll go over all the details about classes with your dog, without simultaneously having to struggle with an untrained dog.  This puts us in the position of being ready to delve into our training on that first afternoon or evening that you enter the class with your dog!  It is imperative that all new students attend this session, so that we don't have to waste precious class time covering this stuff.  The session is informal, and we encourage your participation, so bring your questions.  Returning students need not attend the Intro Session --- simply stop in and register --- but you're more than welcome to attend, as long as you keep the heckling to a minimum. 


Please remember to leave Rover home when you come for registration!

The cost of a class is $85 -- that is $85 for the 6 or 8 weeks, depending on the class, NOT $85 each week, although to be sure, if you wish to make a weekly donation of $85, we won't refuse it!  


A note about INCLEMENT WEATHER:  Let's face it...we live in Ithaca, which is not always known for the greatest weather.  Summer classes are outdoor classes, and will be held, rain or shine.  However, if and when there is any thunder, class will be cancelled -- Sagedust Square is located on one of the highest points around the area, which puts us far too close to Mother Nature when she's tossing around those lightning bolts.  If inclement weather forces us to cancel class, all classes will be pushed forward a day or two.  Any class cancellation will be announced via email, up to one hour before start of the first class on that day.  We will also attempt to call all students about the cancellation, but be sure to check your email 1 hours before class on any day that Mother Nature seems to be a bit cranky.

See you on July 9th for Registration! 

Additional Info re Registration, forms, etc.

The Intro Sessions start with getting all students and their dogs registered for the various classes.  The obedience Intro Session is a seminar covering such things as canine behavior, how dogs learn, the training methods used in our classes, what to expect, the rules of class, and much more.  The agility Intro Session covers such things as what to expect week in class, where the equipment is kept, how to set up and break down each week, etc.  Essentially, we get the bureaucratic stuff out of the way, without our dogs in tow, so that, the first time you step through the door with your dog, we're ready to start training!  It's far easier to complete the paperwork without simultaneously attempting to hold onto an unruly dog.  Please Note:  New students leave each Intro Session (obedience and agility) with homework to do with their dogs prior to the first class, so it is imperative that new students attend these sessions.

The Pre-Training Survey will give your instructors an overview of your dog's daily life with you, as well as highlight any areas in which you may be having problems with your dog, e.g., jumping, barking, housebreaking, etc.  Having this information will better equip your instructor to help you reach your goals for yourself and your dog in your class.  The Agility Questionnaire also gives your instructors necessary info regarding your dog.


The Registration and Waiver form is purely for bureaucratic & administrative reasons.  From this form we'll know whether to add you to our e-mail discussion group for the duration of the class --- no one is required to participate in this list, but it is a very helpful tool in terms of distributing important class information, such as class cancellations (rare, but occasionally necessary, usually due to Mother Nature and her inclement weather, especially in during the winter months).  The discussion group is also a place to get additional help or questions answered in between our weekly class sessions.  Additionally, the discussion group has a "Files" section on-line, which include some classes' homework sheets and other handouts.  Also, we'll have on file exactly how you wish your name and your dog's name to appear on your graduation certificate. 


Again, please print the appropriate forms and complete them prior to registration; bring them with you to the registration session (along with a COPY of your dog's vaccination records) --- if you do so, we'll be able to start our seminar earlier. 



Puppy Kindergarten

This class is for puppies 12 weeks to 6 months of age (since puppies cannot have their rabies shot prior to 12 weeks of age and all dogs must have their rabies vaccination prior to attending any FLAOA class). It specializes in puppy behavior and socialization, helping students to raise an obedient, well-mannered and well-adjusted pet before it has a chance to become a problem dog.

Special attention is given to many of the normal puppy problems, including mouthing, crate training, housebreaking, jumping, who's the boss, and more. Additionally, puppies learn obedience basics -- to walk on a loose lead, sit, down, stand, stay and come -- with all exercises taught on the puppy's level, keeping in mind his/her short puppy attention span. In short, the focus is manners. And, most importantly, it's taught in a light-hearted, fun atmosphere for both puppy and owner.

Beginner Obedience

This class is for dogs 6 months to any adult age...YES! Old dogs can learn new tricks! It focuses on the basic obedience commands (sit, down, stay, heel, stand, and come when called), helping students have a dog that is a joy to have as part of their family.

Attention is also given to whatever problems students might be having with their dogs, be it jumping on guests or howling at the moon. We realize that a lot of owners enroll their dogs in beginner obedience because their dogs already exhibit some problem behaviors and will work with students to solve these problems. Simple basic manners are the name of the game, and we strive to make the process FUN!

Note: Both Puppy Kindergarten and Beginner Obedience classes receive a training booklet as part of their class. Both classes begin the first week, without dogs, with a behavior seminar which explains how dogs learn, how we'll maximize that in our training, and what training methods we'll utilize in our classes. We'll also discuss what each owner's goals are for the class. Without dogs during this first week, students are free to fill out the necessary paperwork for FLAOA and the trainer, and participate in the behavior seminar. Plan on approximately 2 hours for the first week; subsequent classes with the dogs will last about 45 minutes to an hour.

Graduate Beginner Obedience

Open to any dog that has successfully completed a beginner class, this class is geared towards improving the dog's reliability and performance of the basic commands and adds the challenge of hand signals and some off-lead work.


Open to any dog that has successfully completed a graduate beginner class, this class continues with further off-lead work and fine tunes it, focusing on the dog's exercises required to earn an AKC title of Companion Dog (CD). Distraction training is a big aspect of this class.


Open to any dog that has successfully completed an advanced graduate beginner class, focusing on fine-tuning the handler's exercises required to earn an AKC title of Companion Dog (CD), as well as knowing all the in's and out's of the regulations, and, of course, more distraction training.


CGC Class

...more info coming soon...in the meantime, click here for info regarding CGC test items.

Rally Obedience


Rally obedience is the newest dog sport to hit the competition rings and has proven to be great fun!  It is a combination of basic obedience exercises and agility.  Each dog and handler team must complete a course (as teams do in agility), except, in rally, the teams negotiate the course by heeling from one "station" to the next.  At each "station", there is a sign on which is listed an obedience exercise that they must perform before heeling to the next one.  Unlike regular obedience competition, the handler may talk to and encourage the dog; rally is far less military-like in terms of executing each exercise, making it more fun for both the handler and the dog!  Like agility, there is a standard course time in which to complete the course, and each team is timed; like obedience, the team's performance of the various exercises and negotiation of the course is scored by a judge.

Linus, finishing his Level 1 title with a 5th Place!

Rally is a great way for students to have fun with their dogs while keeping their dogs "in practice" in terms of their training.  It is also a superb place for students to be introduced to dog sport competition, because it's far less formal than regular obedience, AND, the novice level courses are done entirely on lead, unlike agility.  It's also a wonderful way for students to conquer their cases of "ring jitters", especially if they're interested in eventually competing in regular obedience trials --- they can have fun and earn titles on the way to taking that first step into a formal obedience ring (or, they can simply concentrate on rally alone!).

Students who have completed a beginner obedience class and a graduate beginner class are eligible to participate in a rally obedience class. 

Gunther, finishing his Level 2 title with a 1st Place, and looking very bored with the whole thing!

Show Handling Classes

info coming soon...

Tricks and Games

     info coming soon...