Competition Classes

Your relationship goes into the ring with you!
Registration Open for the June Term!

Happy Dogs Training Philosophy


We believe in a rewards-based, balanced training approach.


Our classes are designed to build a dog’s desire to work, make “Drive” a habit and strengthen the bond between dogs and their handlers.


We build the “want to” attitude into our foundation and balance it with the “have to” necessary to achieve the commitment dogs need for success in the ring.


We focus on foundation skills because we believe a strong foundation will help dogs and their handlers become confident, dependable partners. 


Our training methods are designed to improve understanding, create clarity, build confidence, make the exercises strong and help handlers develop good problem-solving skills.


Teaching dogs how to perform is only part of what we do. We meet students “where they are” and help them achieve their goals – whatever they may be.


Although we never stop rewarding our dog, we help students learn how to use their relationship as a bridge to reward because a good relationship with your dog is portable – it goes into the ring when you do!

Our Classes

Foundation Classes

Foundation skills are the building blocks that support a performance dog’s career. The Basic Foundation Skills class is for everyone. It focuses on attention, impulse control and motivational games that can be used throughout a dog’s obedience career to maintain confidence and drive. Our Advanced Foundation Skills class introduces students to the foundation skills needed for the Open and Utility classes. This class is appropriate for anyone that has completed the Foundation or Novice Skills classes.

Novice Foundations

This class is appropriate for Everyone! Foundation skills are the building blocks that support a performance dog’s career. This class focuses on stationary and moving attention, changes of position, impulse control and body awareness. Students will be introduced to fronts, finishes and motivational play. This class is appropriate for anyone interested in Rally or Obedience and will help the experienced handler keep their dog’s skills sharp.

Prerequisites: Basic obedience skills.


Advanced Foundations

This class is perfect for anyone currently working at the Novice level or an advanced dog that needs to fill some holes in its foundation.  Students will be introduced to the foundation skills needed for the Open and Utility classes including marking, go-outs, retrieving, fronts, finishes, pivots and fun heeling games.

Prerequisites: Novice Foundation Skills or Novice Skills Class or with permission of instructor.


Skill Building Obedience Classes

There are three Skill Building classes: Novice, Open and Utility. In these classes, we teach students the skills necessary to earn AKC obedience titles.  We understand how important the details are to a polished performance and find creative ways to make them quick and precise. When appropriate, distractions and concept proofing are introduced to make the exercises strong.  To prepare students to compete, we focus on ring entries, transitions, releases, and how to chain the exercises together and delay reward.  Students also learn problem-solving skills. Students will find that it takes more than one six-week term to master the skills necessary to compete.

Novice Skills

This class introduces students to the AKC Novice Obedience exercises including: heeling, figure-8, stand for exam, heel free and recall and sit, get your leash.

Prerequisites: Foundation Skills, or approval from instructor.

Open Skills

This class introduces students to the AKC Open Obedience exercises including: heel free, figure-8, command discrimination, drop-on-recall, retrieve on the flat, retrieve over the high jump, broad jump exercises and stand, go get your leash.

Prerequisites: Novice title or approval from instructor.

Utility Skills

This class introduces students to the AKC Utility Obedience exercise including: signals, articles, directed retrieve, moving stand and directed jumping.

Prerequisites: Open title or approval from instructor.

Competition Puppy

Building an operant, engaged, and motivated puppy is our goal! This class introduces a marking system, shaping, using food and toys as rewards, attention, impulse control, basic positions (sit, down and stand), a place command and body awareness. Students will also learn how to integrate play into their training plan.

Prerequisites: Puppies should be 6 months old and socialized around other dogs. Please contact us if you are interested in this class. It is not offered every class term.

Rally Classes

The Rally Teamwork Class is designed to give Rally competitors a strong foundation in the various skills included in the signs on a Rally course. The Rally: Beyond the Basics Class prepares students to compete and earn titles in the AKC Rally classes from Novice through Masters.  We focus first on building a strong foundation for the principal parts of the Rally signs at all levels.  To prepare students to compete, we cover important sections of the AKC Rally Regulations. focus on ring entries, transitions, releases, and strategies for navigating a course. When appropriate, we introduce distractions and concept proofing.  Students will find that it takes more than one six-week term to master the skills necessary to compete. *First time Rally students will receive a copy of the AKC Rally Regulations.

Rally Teamwork

In this class, students learn foundations skills for moving in the Rally ring. They also learn how to break the Rally maneuvers down into pieces and master them before chaining them together into segments or a course. Important sections of the AKC Rally Regulations will be reviewed.

Prerequisites: Dogs should demonstrate basic obedience skills, completed the Basic Foundation Skills class, have a CGC title or approval from instructor.

Rally: Beyond the Basics

In this class, students will focus on the principal part of the Rally signs from Novice to Masters. To prepare students to compete, we will work on ring entries, transitions, releases, and strategies for navigating a course. When appropriate, we will introduce distractions and concept proofing.

Prerequisites:  Have obedience titles, attended our Basic Foundations Skills or Rally Teamwork class, or obtained approval from instructor

Donna Brocht's Workshop Series

Donna will be returning this Fall for her third Workshop at Happy Dogs. She started with “Look: A Marking Workshop” and followed that up with her “Handler’s Cues” workshop. She is now planning to come talk to us about “Planning a Training Session.” 
Cost:  $50  

2023 - Class Terms

Term #3: June 7th – July 20th
No Class on July 5th and July 6th 

Term #4: Aug. 9th – Sept. 28th
No Classes Aug. 16th & 17th
(and) and Sept. 13th & 14th

*Start dates subject to change.

Class Fees

  • $160 per class
  • $280 (two classes, same dog)
  • $300 (multi-dog discount, the fee for the same owner, second dog is $140)

Drop-ins accepted for the Wednesday Open & Utility Skills class with approval of instructor and 24-hour notice: $30

*Submit a separate entry for each dog. 

Class Schedule

Wednesday Daytime Classes

11:00 am – 11:50 am – Novice Skills

12:00 am – 12:50 pm – Advanced Foundation

1:00 pm – 1:50 pm – Open & Utility Skills


Thursday Evening Classes

Obedience Classes

6:00 pm – 6:50 pm – Novice Foundations

7:00 pm – 7:50 pm – Novice Skills

8:00 pm – 8:50 pm – Open & Utility Skills

Rally Classes

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Rally Teamwork

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Rally: Beyond the Basics

Our Instructors

Lou Ann McGahey

Lou Ann has been training dogs since 2008. In 2018, her Novice A dog, Nellie Rose became the eleventh Brittany to earn an OTCH. Her Brittanys, Nellie and LuLu proudly represented their breed by competing together in the National Obedience Championship and by earning placements at the AKC Obedience Classic. Lou Ann also trains her dogs for conformation and fieldwork and is passionate about canine fitness. Her current Brittany, Henry, has challenged her ways the girls never did and will be the dog that makes her a better trainer and emphathetic instructor. She has an open and inquisitive mind and is constantly incorporating innovative ideas into her training. There is nothing that brings her more joy than sharing her passion for training dogs.

Beth Patterson

Beth has been teaching advanced competition obedience at the Companion Dog Training Club in Weaverville (formerly Asheville) for over 25 years. She currently teaches the advanced classes with Jane Johnson on Saturday mornings. In addition to teaching at CDTS, she will be bringing her experience to Happy Dogs on Wednesdays and Thursdays as an instructor in all competition obedience classes. Beth’s dogs have earned titles in conformation, tracking, obedience, scent work and rally. Her heart dog is the Doberman but her “comic relief” dog – the one she adores – is the Italian Greyhound. Beth and her IG, Deux are on a journey to earn Beth’s tenth Utility title.

Kathy Worrell

Kathy brings a diversified background to Happy Dogs. Her experience includes Search & Rescue, AKC Agility and Obedience, Therapy Dog instruction and certification, and in-home basic obedience and manners training. Kathy loves competing in Rally and is pursuing an AKC Rally Championship with her Labrador Retriever, Tori. Kathy is the person that greets everyone that comes through the door for Rally Drop-in Training at Happy Dogs. 

Donna Brocht

Donna has been training dogs for 30 years. She served as Executive Director for Fidos for Freedom where she trained therapy, assistance, and hearing alert dogs. Her Labrador Retrievers, Kick and Macy earned OTCHs and several perfect obedience scores of 200. She has competed in the Masters Class at the AKC Classic and the National Obedience Championship with her Labrador Retrievers, Kick and Macy, each time earning their way into the Top 20 Competition. Donna supports our team of instructors by leading workshops on topics of interest to our students, Happy Dogs members. Her workshops are open to nonmembers, when space is available.