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Dog Classes with Deb Helfrich Register View Cart

Meet Your Instructor!
Deb Helfrich, Gold Star Dog Training LLC

Covid 19-related Instructions
In order to support the health of all class participants, we will need to employ a few safety guidelines and rules during class.
Participants must:
• Keep at least 6 feet distance from others at all times.
• Follow all instructions for how to safely engage in class exercises.
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into elbow.
• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom.
• Bring own hand sanitizer (participants are encouraged to use hand sanitizer regularly).
• Wear a mask at all times.
• Stay home if having any COVID-19 symptoms/feeling sick, or have recently been exposed to someone who
has COVID-19 (and inform the instructor).
• After class, you may be asked to wipe (wipes will be provided) down your chair.
• Do not bring family members or guests to class (i.e., only one person may attend class with the dog).
Please note that Covid-related policies may change at any time given new
recommendations/information. You will be provided with current policies after you register for
a course; should you wish to review these policies before registering for a class, please
contact the Recreation Dept sponsoring the class, or contact Gold Star Dog Training.

Deb is owner of Gold Star Dog Training LLC, based in Fairfax, Vermont. She enjoys working with dogs and their handlers to solve their challenges, build a healthy dog-handler relationship, and achieve their training goals. She is highly student-focused—adept at explaining concepts, helping every student feel successful, and creating training experiences that are meaningful and effective. Deb’s sense of humor, enthusiastic teaching style, and ability to work with a wide range of students are what clients seem to like about her. 

Deb has been a therapy dog handler since 1996 and the volunteer Director of Training and Certification for Therapy Dogs of Vermont (TDV) since 2005. Deb also volunteers with rescues and other organizations as an advisor, training resource, and author.  Read more:

We've had inquiries about bringing children to the classes.  Due most importantly to liability and safety issues and secondly to space constraints, we CANNOT have children present at class. These training sessions are for adult participants and their dog only.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact Deb directly at 802-849-2363 or the Recreation Office at 524-1500 x *268.

We’re busy people.  We’ve got other priorities.*  Dog training can feel like One. More. Thing. But, you want a dog you can live with, be proud of, and about which others glowingly remark “What a great dog!” This class shows you how to have a happy, confident, well-behaved dog.  It consists of 3 important skills: practical straight-up obedience (don’t drag me down the street, come when I call, etc.), life skills (don’t jump on my friends, chill out, etc.), and understanding your dog’s body language.
 What you get: My simple 4-step approach for teaching your dog almost anything; course booklet and weekly training guides; force-free training; ongoing free email/phone support after the class ends; and a student-focused instructor with 20+ years’ experience teaching people and dogs.  And, we’re gonna get results while having  fun!
 So, to all those wiggly puppies and wonderful dogs out there: are you ready to earn your gold star (get it, Gold Star Dog Training)?
 *Course is also suitable for those who aren’t all that busy.
BEYOND BASICS (Pre-requisite: Deb's BASIC dog class, or instructor approval)
Time to take off the training wheels! This course takes your training to the next level. What's the next level? Well, that's the beauty of this class—you decide!! Like many exercise classes that show you various intensity levels of a given exercise, this course shows you various levels of each command or behavior. This permits "perfect fit" training for you and your dog! We teach and use an easy-to-apply, standardized approach to dog training and management that is designed to be useful no matter what level your dog is at with a given command or behavior. The course also continues to build a foundation of manners, training, and social skills. It’s perfect for adolescent and young adult dogs who need help weathering this “teenage” stage in a way that’s constructive and positive.
NEW OFFERING - Therapy Dog Academy! (This course does not result in therapy dog certification, nor does it guarantee certification.)

Requirements: There are particular requirements for this course; please review the policies for more details (link below). Pre-requisite: Participants and their dogs must have taken Gold Star Dog Training’s Essentials/Basic class.

So, your dog wants to be a therapy dog?  Well, we’ve got a course for that!  This 6-week course gives dogs and handlers the necessary skills for taking a therapy dog test, working safely and effectively as a therapy dog team on duty, and developing a close working relationship with your dog. The course is suitable for those: working toward therapy dog certification; already working as a therapy dog team but wanting to develop new skills or hone existing ones; and looking for skills useful for working with his/her dog in public (e.g., in the workplace, for service dog training). Your instructor, Deb, has been a therapy dog handler since the mid-1990s, has had 6 therapy dog partners over the years, and has directed a large therapy dog certification and training program since 2005.



  1. Dogs do not attend the first class.

  2. Every dog owner must provide vaccination documentation (described in our policies).

  3. Please review all class policies/restrictions (regarding vaccinations, aggressive dogs in class, youth participants, guests, refunds) before registration.

All participants must review policies HERE!


Gold Star Dog Training
  • Payment must be made at time of registration.
  • Once registered, no refunds are issued unless class is cancelled.
  • We cannot accept wild-dog canine crosses (i.e. wolf hybrids)

Register Activity Ages Grades Days Date/Time Fees
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Therapy Dog Academy 
16 and up  N/A  Tu  11/10/2020 - 12/22/2020
7:15 PM - 8:15 PM

St. Albans City Hall Auditorium
$145.00 R, $176.00 NR
This class does not result in Therapy Dog Certification. Participants must have taken Dog/ Puppy Essentials prior to joining this class.
   Log In to Register
View Registration Eligibility
Dog/Puppy Essentials (6 weeks) 
16 and up  N/A  Tu  11/10/2020 - 12/22/2020
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

St. Albans City Hall Auditorium
$145.00 R, $176.00 NR
Training and Social Skills
* Adjustments and discounts will be applied during checkout if applicable. *

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