Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Q.  How do I register for a class?

A. Decide what class you want to enroll in and the dates of the session by visiting our Public Classes page.  Then use the Contact Form on the Contact page, call our Registrar’s Voicemail at (217) 483-2512 or by emailing (Puppy Class registration), (Beginner and Advanced Beginner Obedience registration), (Beginner Agility and Advanced Beginner Agility registration).  Give us your name, contact information, course and date you are interested in.  A club member should be in contact with you in a couple of days.  You are not considered registered until you receive an acknowledgement.  CCTC is an all-volunteer organization, relying on the generosity of its members for all aspects of running the club, including answering email and voicemail, and handling class registrations.  If we’re slow, or something slips through the cracks, we hope you’ll be understanding and contact us again.

Q. I have registered for a class.  What happens next?

A. You will receive a reminder about a week before the start of the class confirming your enrollment.  You are not considered registered until you receive an acknowledgement.  For Puppy and Beginner Obedience courses, orientation is the first class.  Remember to bring payment and dog vaccination records but leave your dog at home.  For Advanced Beginner Obedience, Beginner Agility, and Advanced Beginner Agility courses, bring both of these and your dog.  If you haven’t been contacted by the Registrar, please give a call (217) 483-2512 or email, , , or again to find out what happened.  CCTC is an all-volunteer organization, relying on the generosity of its members for all aspects of running the club, including answering email and voicemail, and handling class registrations.  If we’re slow, or something slips through the cracks, we hope you’ll be understanding and contact us again.

Q. I just got a new puppy.  What course should I take?

A. If you have an eligible puppy (one who is six months or younger), Puppy Pre-School is the perfect place to start.  If your dog is over six months, you should start with Beginner Obedience.  Most other classes have prerequisites.  Check the website Public Classes page for more information.

Q. I just rescued a dog.  What class should I take?

A. If you have an eligible puppy (one who is six months or younger), Puppy Pre-School is the perfect place to start.  If your dog is over six months, you should start with Beginner Obedience.  Most other classes have prerequisites.  Check the website Public Classes page for more information.

Q. My dog is driving me nuts.  What class should I take?

A. There’s an easy-to-use flow chart in the Course Offerings page that will help you decide.  But the quick answer is: If you have an eligible puppy (one who is six months or younger), Puppy Pre-School is the perfect place to start.  If your dog is over six months, you should start with Beginner Obedience.   Most other classes have prerequisites.  Check the website Public Classes page for more information.

Q. What method do you use for training?

A. Our motto is “Control With Kindness.”  As a rule we like to reward good behavior and distract or prevent bad behavior.

We work with the handler/dog team to determine the best specific avenue.  Each of our teachers has a method he or she may prefer, but he or she will also have an arsenal of other methods that you or your dog might better respond to.

Q. Will you allow a dog who bites/fights in class?

A. That depends.  We know that people with reactive dogs need our help, but we have an obligation to protect our teachers, students, and dogs.  If a handler can both anticipate bad behavior and manage the dog, we may allow them to work in a class.  Anticipate means you know your dog, know what situations set them off, or can read them well enough to recognize trouble is brewing.  Manage means you can restrain or remove your dog from the setting without help from others.  We may take measures to reduce the opportunity for bad behavior, and we will excuse the team from the class if there’s an incident.  If you are unsure about your dog’s appropriateness for class, we suggest you contact our Director of Training for a private evaluation.  For dogs who can’t be managed, we have a list of trainers who can be contacted for one-on-one work.  Please tell us if your dog has issues when you enroll in class.

Q. May I come observe a class?

A. Yes.  You are quite welcome to visit the building during class time.  Please leave your dog in the car (weather permitting) or at home.  Children are also welcome when accompanied by an adult.  Please don’t interfere with or disturb the class.  Unless there are classes in progress, the building is locked.

Q. May I come watch an event?

A. Yes, absolutely!  They’re tons of fun, and we welcome an audience.  Please ask before you approach a dog and try, if possible, to stay out of the way of the participants (easier said than done).  No flash pictures allowed inside the building during an event.

Q. How can I get involved in the club?

A. You can join; see the Membership tab on our home page.  Or volunteer to help out at an event.  Call our voicemail, (217) 483-2512, and leave a message; or send an email inquiry to .

Q. What is your class schedule?

A. Visit our Public Classes or Calendar page to find out what courses we offer, when courses are offered and the requirements for each.  Our building is rented by other groups from time-to-time and they may offer courses, too.  For example, Illinois Capitol Kennel Club (ICKC) offers conformation handling courses.  Contact ICKC directly for information on those courses at their website, illinoiscapitolkennelclub.org.

Q. Do you teach classes in earthdog, field trialing, retrieving, dock-diving, Frisbee, tracking, animal-assisted therapy, tricks, schutzhund, water rescue, trauma response, search and rescue . . . ?

A. While we have members who are active in these activities (and more), our regular rotation of classes doesn’t include these particular activities.  However, we try to respond to community needs and so will offer desired classes as time and space permit.  Check our Special Dog Training Classes page or the Calendar regularly, and if you don’t see what you want, drop us a note indicating your interest.  If enough people show interest, we’ll oblige if possible.

Q. What are the classes like?

A.  There is some variety in classes based upon who is teaching and what they are teaching.  However, some basics include:

  • There’s a limit to class size, anywhere from 8 to 15.
  • Most classes have a lead teacher and 1 or 2 assistants (who may be as qualified to teach as the teacher).
  • Classes run anywhere from 60 to 75 minutes.
  • Most classes have a structure that is regularized across teachers and lessons.
  • The instructor will teach the handler how to train his dog, i.e., we don’t train the dogs, you do! So typically a behavior (such as “walking on a loose leash”) is introduced and described.  The usual training method is explained and demonstrated.  Then students try it, and the teacher and assistants will work with individuals to help them get it right.  The class is then expected to practice at home and, in the next class, demonstrate how they’ve done.  Students are encouraged to ask FAQ before, during and after class.

Q. What are your training qualifications?

A. CCTC, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1965 and sanctioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1975.  Since its inception, thousands of Springfield area dogs have received instruction through its programs.  Club members hold hundreds of titles in obedience, rally, agility, tracking, and other titles, in AKC, United Kennel Club, Canine Performance Events, and other venues.  Some members are judges, others competitors and exhibitors, writers, and therapy dog owners.  All have an interest in dogs and are active in the sport of dogs.  All this translates into a very solid base of accomplished dog trainers.

Q. Will you pay me to intern, teach me to be a dog trainer, pay me to teach?

A. Probably not.  We do pay experts to come in and do workshops and seminars, but since we are all-volunteer, we don’t pay our teachers (or an intern).  If you have a dog, we’ll help you learn to train that dog, but we do not teach people how to do dog training as a career.

Q.  Does the same person have to be the handler during class?

A.  Yes, we recommend while the dog is learning the same handler in a household do the training.  This helps to minimize confusion for the dog and speed up the learning process because of consistency.   Once the dog has mastered the exercise other family members may participate in training.

Q.  What happens if I miss a class?

A.  Talk to your instructor if you will be missing a class.  He or she may provide you with a handout or make special arrangements to assist you in making up a class.

Q.  Is there anything I should be doing at home regarding training while I wait for my session to begin?

A.  Yes.  There are many books, articles, and videos online, in the library and for purchase to assist you while you wait for a session to begin.  If you have completed one of our courses, continue to practice everything you have learned because “if you don’t use it you’ll lose it!”

Q.  In the event of bad weather how do I know if my class has been cancelled?

A.  Check our website to find out if class has been cancelled.  You may also try your instructor if contact information has been provided to you.  Check your email or voicemail for messages if the instructor has indicated that this is how you will be alerted.

Q. My dog has a problem with … jumping, biting, chewing, soiling the house, afraid of other dogs, etc.  Will a class help?

A. Yes, most owners find a class setting helpful in tackling common dog problems.  Your instructor is a good resource.  Talk to him or her about your particular dog problem.  They should be able to provide you with helpful suggestions, articles and other resources to correct your dog’s unwanted behavior.

If a handler can both anticipate bad behavior and manage the dog, we may allow them to work in a class.  Anticipate means you know your dog, know what situations set them off, or can read them well enough to recognize trouble is brewing.  Manage means you can restrain or remove your dog from the setting without help from others.  We may take measures to reduce the opportunity for bad behavior, and we will excuse the team from the class if there’s an incident.

Occasionally, dog problems are more serious and require one-on-one training assistance.  For dogs who can’t be managed, we have a list of trainers who can be contacted for one-on-one work.  Please tell us if your dog has issues when you enroll in class.

Q. May I bring children to watch?

A. Yes, visitors are welcome but must not interfere with or disturb the class.  Small children should be supervised at all times and not allowed to run about the building and grounds.  For your safety and that of your visitors, including children, do not approach or touch strange dogs.  Always ask the handler first.  Back to the FAQ.

Find Out More

You can find out more about dog training and competitive dog events on our Resources page...

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