Group training classes for your four-legged friend are now available at Canine Cabana.

Pet owners Jeremy and Carly Brook knew they needed dog training classes to help them learn to communicate with their 8-month-old, 85-pound cane corso puppy, Samson, and so the couple turned to Canine Cabana’s new group training program. Using positive reinforcement training, the team at Canine Cabana has helped their pooch learn foundational skills at his own pace.

“We like the positive reinforcement training that they use here,” said Carly. “It has helped us build a stronger connection to our dog.”

In addition to the commands sit, stay and down, Samson is learning to look to his owners for direction, especially when he wants to react to other dogs nearby.

“We don’t want to change his nature because we wanted a guard dog,” said Jeremy. “We just want the reassurance that he knows how to listen to us.”

Canine Cabana owners Angela Pickren and Kendall Duncan said that positive reinforcement, or rewarding positive behaviors, helps create a bond of respect and understanding between a dog and its owner.

“Building that strong relationship is important in a family pet,” said Duncan.

Canine Cabana’s team of five full-time trainers offer group training classes in a new two-acre facility next door to its original location at 9708 Carr Rd. in Riverview. Its unique ‘levels program’ gives pet owners the option to attend drop-in classes as often as they like during a six, four or two-month enrollment period. Dogs graduate from each of four levels after mastering the required skills.

“Our group training classes are unique in that we offer flexibility in training and the ability for owners to work with their dogs at their own pace,” said Pickren.

Training the dogs is the easy part, said Canine Cabana Animal Care and Behavior Manager Kristin Lemonde.

Samson participates in a few classes a week. He doesn’t speak English so can’t be quoted here, but how do the Brooks know he’s happy coming to class?

“He starts whining in the car when we make the turn onto Carr Rd. from Boyette,” said Carly. “He knows where we’re going and can’t wait to get here.”

In addition to group training classes, private obedience training is also available with daycare or lodging.

Canine Cabana is open 365 days a year, Monday-Friday, 6: 30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

For more information or to schedule a group class, visit www.caninecabana.biz or call 672-9663.