top of page

Diamonds in the Ruff

Can I skip a grade?


The simple answer is, no, you probably shouldn't.  

Why not?  Because there are probably important pieces of your dog's foundation training that you have missed by not having attended a Diamonds in the Ruff beginning class.


If he's never been in a group class, he should start in the beginning level. 
Even if he can follow cues in your kitchen, he's never been asked to while surrounded by other dogs and their families in an unfamiliar environment.  Learning to focus on you and settle in a group setting will take time
.  In the beginning class you will learn how to help your dog settle and relax so he can learn.


He took a class with his previous owner, just not with me.
You need to catch up and learn what he knows and how he learned it.


We attended a beginning class at another school.

If it was a positive reinforcement (reward based, not correction based) training school using verbal markers and you attended together, you may skip beginning and go on to Intermediate Prep.  However, you may wish to purchase a copy of our handbook to fill in any information you may have missed.  Add a student handbook for $15.  Or $75 if you would like the handbook and access to the Beginning online curriculum and pre-recorded Zoom lessons.

My dog and I are clicker savvy!  If you and your dog have been in a group class where you learned shaping and building behavior through clicker training, you may attend any of our advanced level classes.

Beginning classes cover: 


  • The philosophy of positive reinforcement training, selection and use of rewards, and the timing of a verbal marker "yes!"  

  • The dog learns how to make "yes!" happen and how to work to earn rewards.  He learns how to feel comfortable working in a busy classroom. 

  • The handler learns how to redirect and keep his dog's focus around distractions.

  • Dog and handler learn hand signals and verbal cues for sit, down, stand, come, wait, settle on your mat, off, leave-it and intro to loose leash walking.


Here is a description of skills covered in the three levels of classes:  What will we learn?

And some options:

1. You should probably start in the Headstart class (level 1) to make sure you didn't miss any foundation exercises in our curriculum and get comfortable with our methods and philosophy.  

2. You could start in the Intermediate Prep (level 2) class if you have mastered the beginning lessons and have used reward-based training using a verbal marker but have never learned clicker training.

3. You could start in the Intermediate Prep class PLUS get a copy of the beginning student handbook and access to the beginning online homework to fill in any gaps.  You would pay an additional $75 for access to the Beginning class online homework and pre-recorded Zoom classes.  Once you have completed the Prep class, you can move on to your choice of any of the Advanced Level classes.


4. You could start at the Advanced level classes (Level 3) if the school you attended matches our training philosophy and you and your dog are familiar with the foundation behaviors in Level 1 and both you and your dog are clicker savvy,

Please email if you have any questions.  

We look forward to training with you!

Article: Building Strong Foundations

bottom of page