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General Information

SOTC offers classes in basic obedience as well as competition obedience, conformation handling, rally, musical freestyle, flyball, and agility. Classes are held at 6392 Deere Road. The format is group classes (6 to 8 students), not private lessons.

Classes generally run for 8 weeks and are offered four times a year (starting in March, June, September, and December/January), with Puppy classes starting more frequently as needed. The fee for an 8-week Puppy, Pre-Basic or Basic class is $124.

Most classes are held on weeknights (Mondays through Thursdays after 6pm), with a few daytime offerings. There are no weekend classes.

When Do the Next Classes Start?

Registration for Winter classes is CLOSED. The Spring session of classes will begin in mid-March. The schedule will be posted on February 25.

Who Can Take Classes at SOTC

You do not need to be a member of SOTC to take classes with us, and all dogs are welcome, mixed breeds as well as purebreds. However:
  • We do not tolerate aggressive dogs in our classes, nor do we offer behavior modification for such dogs.
  • Students new to SOTC and new to competition must begin with Puppy, Pre-Basic, and/or Basic, depending on the age of the dog. Even if your dog has had prior training elsewhere, we strongly recommend a refresher with us first if you wish to take any class that lists Basic as a prerequisite.
  • Students new to SOTC but with competition experience may request permission to enroll in competition obedience, rally, freestyle, or flyball classes. We will ask you and your dog to meet with our Training Director or the class instructor for a run-through.
  • We offer very few agility classes, and they are offered mostly as a service to our members. Non-members who wish to get started in agility are encouraged to seek out other options. (We can give you recommendations.)

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Our Approach to Training

  • We don't train your dog. We train YOU to train your dog.
  • We are a club, not a business, and our instructors are all volunteers. What qualifies us to teach? Most of us compete with our own dogs in various sports, and all canine sports begin with basic obedience training.  We love training, learning about new techniques, and sharing what we have learned.
  • We use reward-based training (food, toys, play, praise) and flat-buckle collars. We may recommend other types of physical collars to address problems like pulling, but we do not recommend electronic (shock) collars or permit their use in our building.

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Basic Obedience

We offer three levels of basic (intro-level) obedience: Puppy, Pre-Basic, and Basic. Each class has a maximum enrollment of eight dogs. Classes meet for 45 minutes once a week for eight weeks. Basic also includes a ninth meeting for Graduation. The fee is $124 for the general public ($72 for members).

Which one should you take? It depends on the age of the dog:

  • Puppy is for dogs that will be between 12 and 20 weeks of age on the first day of class.
  • Pre-Basic is for those either continuing from Puppy, or new to our program with a young dog too old for Puppy class (5 to 14 months of age).
  • Basic is for those either continuing from Pre-Basic, or new to our program with an older dog (14 months of age and up).

Start at whichever level is appropriate for the age of your dog, then go on to the next level.

Basic is the prerequisite for everything else we offer.

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Other Classes We Offer

For prices, descriptions, and current offerings, go to the Class Schedule page.

The Basics

For everybody -- members & non-members, no prerequisite

  • Puppy

  • Pre-Basic

  • Basic

 Several of each per session

Beyond Basic  

For members & non-member Basic grads

  • CGC

  • Obedience & Rally Foundations

  • Intermediate A,  Intermediate B

  • Introduction to Flyball

  • Agility Foundations (limited availability)

 One of each per session


For everybody -- members & nonmembers, no prerequisite

  • Conformation drop-ins

6-8 meetings per session

Competition Obedience, Rally, & Freestyle

For members, non-member Intermediate grads, & others by permission

  • Competition obedience, Novice through Utility, various levels & formats

  • Rally, Novice through Master, various levels & formats

  • Musical Freestyle, Rally FreE

 Offerings vary session to session

Pre-Competition Agility 

For members, non-member Agility Foundations grads, & others by permission

  • Beginner

  • Advanced Beginner

  • Intermediate

  • Novice

 Offerings vary session to session

Competition Agility

For members

  • Open through Masters

 Offerings vary session to session


For members & non-members preparing for tournament play


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Class Policies

How to Register & Pay

Students must register on-line via the Class Schedule page of this website. No walk-ins or verbal reservations.

Payment may be made either with a credit card via the website or by check/money order sent U.S. mail.  For students paying by check: If registering for more than one class, write separate checks. Make checks payable to SOTC, Inc.

There is a $20 bank fee for returned checks or credit-card chargebacks.

All students registering for a class must agree to the Club's Liability Release.

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Cancellations & Refunds

You may cancel your registration up until the first day of class for a full refund or credit (refunds will be made by check).  Requests for refunds after the first class meeting will be considered on a case-by-case basis. No refunds or credits will be given after the second class meeting. 

We reserve the right to cancel a class that does not generate enough interest and will issue a full refund or credit for that class upon its cancellation.

Classes are not held after 7pm on the Club's monthly General Membership meeting nights. Meetings are usually held on the 2nd Monday of odd-numbered months (January, March, etc.) and the 2nd Tuesday of even-numbered months (February, April, etc.) The schedule is posted on the Meetings page. If your class ends before 7pm on a meeting night, it will likely be held. Students are welcome to attend meetings.

Individual classes may be canceled/postponed in the event of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Class cancellation/postponement policies will be provided at Orientation or your first class.

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Priority Registration & General Registration

SOTC members receive priority for admission to classes, with priority registration opening several days before general registration. Registrations received after the priority period are treated on a first-come/first-served basis, regardless of member/non-member status.

Registration remains open until classes fill or start, although new students are strongly encouraged to register before Orientation.

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Students must be able to prove that their dogs have received age-appropriate vaccinations for rabies and DAP (distemper, adenovirus, parvo). 

Acceptable forms of proof:

  • A veterinarian's certificate or invoice that includes the date of vaccination and duration of the vaccine (1 year, 3 years), or the date(s) on which re-vaccination is due.
  • For puppies whose initial vaccines were administered by the breeder, a photocopy of the vaccine vial or the breeder-supplied puppy health card.
  • For adult dogs with a known history of initial vaccination,  titers (quantitative antibody testing reports) may substitute for proof of boosters.
  • For dogs with a medically necessary exemption from certain vaccines, provide a letter from your veterinarian.

To enroll in Puppy classes, puppies on initial vaccination schedules must have received at least the second DAP shot by the start of class. (This shot is normally given around 12 weeks of age.) Dogs enrolled in other classes should have been vaccinated in accord with the guidelines outlined on the American Animal Hospital Association website. New York State law requires that dogs over 4 months of age be vaccinated for rabies.

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Eligibility Run-Throughs

The following students must attend a run-through (with their dog) to determine eligibility:

  • Students new to our classes registering for anything above the level of Basic (run-throughs are not required for Puppy, Pre-Basic, or Basic)
  • Children under the age of 18 registering for any class for the first time as the primary trainer of the dog
  • Students who do not meet the prerequisite listed for a class

If you need a run-through, please so indicate on the registration form, and contact the General Registrar to schedule it.

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Students new to SOTC must attend Orientation. Orientation is held only once per session (usually on the Wednesday preceding the start of classes). This is an informational program designed for owners only. Do not bring your dog to Orientation.

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Special Situations

Junior Handlers (under age 18)

  • Children attending classes with their families must be at least 4 years of age.
  • Children registering for any class as the primary trainer of the dog must be at least 10 years of age (and must attend a run-through the first time he or she registers).

Dogs with Multiple Owners

  • For Puppy classes, the entire family is welcome (and encouraged!) to attend and participate in the training.
  • For classes other than Puppy, we ask that just ONE person handle the dog in class, and that the same person handle the dog from week to week. Other family members may watch from outside the ring.

Owners with Multiple Dogs

  • For entry-level obedience classes (Puppy, Pre-Basic, Basic), students with multiple dogs must enroll them in separate classes.
  • For other obedience classes, a student may enroll two dogs in the same class only by permission, and only if another person is available to handle the second dog.
  • For agility classes, a student may run two dogs in one class only if the class has not filled by the end of the priority registration period.
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Copyright 2020

The Syracuse Obedience Training Club, Inc. 

PO Box 3457 Syracuse NY 13220-3457

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