FUN Agility! 6 Weeks - $160
Prerequisite: Completed minimum 1 class with Best Paw Forward or prior agility experience.
* class total is $100 for round 2+ students
*Add this class to a Training Package!

Upcoming Classes: TBA
*email to be on wait list/first contact for upcoming dates

Have you ever watched a dog and its handler run an agility course? It looks like a lot of fun for both the dog and the trainer – and we want to show you that! This course is an introduction to the exciting game of Agility. It will prepare you and your dog to play the game for fun and give you foundation skills for further training should you choose. Students will learn the basics of handling while the dogs learn all the basic obstacles like jumps, tunnels, chutes, tire jumps, and the table. The lessons in this program are different each week and are designed around the dogs in the class. This enables the students to take the foundation class several times, allowing the dog to make gradual progression while keeping things fun.


Canine Good Neighbour (CGN) 7 Weeks - $170
Prerequisite: Puppy Kindergarten or Basic Manners

Upcoming Classes: 
January 18th, Fridays 5:30pm

In this course we will build on basic behaviours and strengthen them by working through the 12 steps evaluated by the Canine Good Neighbour Test.  Working towards these steps is a great way to build your relationship with your dog as well as achieving a canine companion that is admired by the community for good behaviour.  All dogs can benefit from this class.

From walking calmly through a crowd, walking towards another dog and remaining under control, to holding a stay despite distractions, we will teach and proof these behaviours to set you up to succeed on your CGN test if you choose to take it, or simply to have a well-behaved dog you can take out into the community with pride.

Please note:  The CGN Test is not part of this class and you do not have to take the test to take this class.  The CGN Test is run by local hosts through the Canadian Kennel Club.  Anyone can sign up for this test – you do not have to be a member of the CKC.  Information on the test will be provided through the course.


Scent Detection 6/7 Weeks - $160-170
Recommended for: any dog 6 months and older.

Scent Detection is when your dog finds a specific target odor and tells you where it is. Once your dog has learned what to look for, you can hide the odor in many different places around your property and play the game.

We offer 2 levels of Scent Detection Training…

Sport Scent Detection: Foundations and Containers (7 weeks)
Prerequisite: None.

Upcoming Classes: TBA
*email to be on wait list/first contact for upcoming dates

This course introduces your dog to a specific target odour that he learns to hunt for because indicating that he has found it will bring reward.  We use a series of foundation games that build on each other to increase the level of challenge gradually and create a dog that searches confidently and accurately.  Using these games, you and your dog can carry on after the class finishes to have endless fun!

Sport Scent Detection: Introduction to Interiors and Exteriors (6 weeks)
Prerequisite: Sport Scent Detection: Foundations and Containers

Upcoming Classes: TBA
*email to be on wait list/first contact for upcoming dates

This course builds on the Foundations and Containers class for people who want to go further with the game.  Now that your dog understands the basics, we can increase the fun by moving on to more challenging searches in interior and exterior environments.  Through creating puzzles of increasing levels of challenge, we continue to create a dog that thinks confidently for himself and has a great time putting his natural abilities to good use.

Why play Scent Detection?

Scent detection is based on natural hunting behavior your dog was born with.  Scent detection is brainwork.
Scent detection builds confidence.
Scent detection creates focus. 
Scent detection builds your relationship with your dog. 

All dogs are born knowing how to find a scent and follow it to its source which means that Scent Detection Games can be played by any breed of dog! No previous training of any kind is needed to get involved in this sport and it is great for young and old dogs as well as dogs with disabilities. This course is taught in a low distraction environment and dogs are worked one at a time – which means that this class is also good for reactive, distracted and fearful dogs too. Anyone can play!

Outdoor Adventure 6 Weeks - $160
Prerequisite: Completion of Leash Skills, Confident Canine or Really Reliable Recall
*Add this class to a Training Package!

Upcoming Classes: Spring 2019
*email to be on wait list/first contact for upcoming dates

Outdoor Adventure is one of our favorite classes, as it gives us a chance to get outside with our students and practice the skills you’ve learned in class in the real world environment. If your dog is one of those who does great at home or in class, but seems to lose focus and become highly distracted when you are out and about, this is the class for you!

The 6 week Outdoor Adventure course is all outside and at different locations around Nanaimo. Previous OA classes have been to Neck Point, Pipers Lagoon, Linley Valley trails, downtown, The Seawall, Cable Bay and many others. This is a great course that will challenge both you and your dog and will give you skills to implement on your daily walks. We work around lots of distractions and practice plenty of Recalls so that you can begin to let your dog explore off leash on a walk if you so choose. We have so much FUN in this course and if you have taken our Leash Skills, Recall or Confident Canine class then you are ready for the challenge!  Sorry, transportation not included.

Trick Dog Class (Novice, Intermediate & Advanced) 4 Weeks - $115
Prerequisite: Confident Canine or previous clicker training experience

Upcoming Classes: TBA
*email to be on wait list/first contact for upcoming dates

Are you looking for the next level of FUN and rewarding training for you and your dog? Trick training not only provides physical and mental challenges for your dog but also encourages a relationship based upon clear communication and positive reinforcement training methods. Not to mention your dog will learn some great new tricks that you can show off to your friends and family!

Some of the tricks covered in the Novice and Intermediate levels include:

  • Level 1: Crawl, sit pretty, rollover, peek-a-boo, spin, leg weave, etc.
  • Level 2: Close a door,  ride a skateboard, say your prayers, get a drink from the fridge, etc.

Just like people, every dog is unique and learns differently.  These classes will challenge you as a trainer to be creative in finding which positive reinforcement training method (shaping, capturing, targeting and luring) works best for your dog to learn each new trick.

During the course your instructor will follow your progress and you may be eligible for a Trick Dog Title upon completion.


Reactive Rover – Groundwork 7 Weeks - $185 audit spot $75
Prerequisite: Contacting us with more information about your dog prior to registering. Audit spot: you attend all classes to observe the lessons and you are included in the class homework.

Upcoming Classes:
January 2019.
Info Session Dec 14th @ 6:40pm, please email to register for this.

If you dread going for walks for fear that your dog will bark and lunge when he sees another dog, or if you cannot work with your dog in a normal group class because your dog displays aggression towards the other dogs, then this is a class for you.

Please note that this class is specifically for dogs that display reactivity to other dogs.  If your dog is directing aggression towards humans, please contact us to discuss other options such as auditing the class.  Auditors are very welcome.

What do you mean by “groundwork”?
This class will not directly address your dog’s reactivity in close proximity to other dogs.  Before you can do that, you need some tools as a trainer. These tools are the “groundwork”. You need a system to communicate with your dog. You need engagement from your dog. You need to be able to teach behaviours that will help with impulse control and the basic behaviours that anyone expects from their dog to be able to live with each other happily. This is the “groundwork” that we will work on over the course of 7 weeks.

While the class does not deal directly with reactivity, there is a good chance that you will see some improvement in your dog’s behaviour as your relationship changes and your dog becomes clearer about what is expected of him.

Are there any prerequisites?
The only prerequisite for this class is that you must be able to leave your dog calmly in a crate, or preferably in your vehicle, without your dog barking. If you are not able to meet this requirement at this time, please contact us for help with crate training your dog and teaching him to be comfortable left alone in a crate and vehicle.

How are the dogs worked safely in a group class?
In this class, the dogs are worked one at a time. When not working, dogs are crated or in their vehicles or safely in separate rooms in the building.  This is why we require the dogs to be crate trained and comfortable being left alone in a crate or vehicle. The dogs will never see or meet each other during this class. This is a foundation training class that will be held in an already distracting environment.

When your dog is not working, you will be observing the dog/handler team that is working. We can learn so much from watching one another and our dogs.  The environment is relaxed, friendly and supportive – and fun!

What will we cover?

  • Causes of reactivity and how this affects prognosis and how to deal with the reactivity.
  • Equipment that will benefit the reactive dog and help to keep him safe.
  • Management to prevent undesirable behaviour.
  • The foundations needed for any training, focusing on engagement, impulse-control and relationship-building through working towards rock-solid basic behaviours (sit/down/stand/stay; recall; heel; watch; leave it, out).  

How will this class benefit me and my dog?
All dogs benefit from training. It’s fun, it’s brainwork and it builds your relationship with your dog. Obedience is beneficial to fearful dogs, whose confidence can be increased when they are given a job they know how to do. Rock-solid obedience is also an important tool in your management toolbox. With our more challenging dogs, the reality is that the human end of the leash has to be a better trainer than someone with a more easy-going dog. This class will give you the skills to be that better trainer.  

What are Best Paw Forward’s expectations?
Changing behaviour takes much longer than teaching from scratch. You must be realistic about this and the commitment it will take. We need you to be committed to attending every class.  You must also be committed to implementing management strategies, doing your homework and working with your dog every day.

Changing your dog’s behaviour may also involve changing your behaviour.  How you live with your dog will heavily influence how your dog behaves when he’s out and about.  Some of the suggested changes may be more realistic for you than others, depending on your personality and lifestyle, but we ask that you be open to considering all of the suggestions and implementing the ones that are most appropriate for you and your dog.  

What can you expect from us?

We will look at the dogs and humans in front of us and work with you to come up with the best training and management plan for each team. That’s how we see you and your dog. Training is teamwork.

Important Note: We cannot guarantee that your dog’s reactivity can be cured. Your success at changing your dog’s behaviour will depend on a number of factors, some of which you can control (e.g. how you live with your dog) and some of which you cannot (e.g. your dog’s inherited behavioural traits). While some dogs are able to overcome their reactivity with the help of their human companions, other dogs remain more or less reactive for their lives. In either case, management and rock-solid obedience are important tools.