Classes Starting Soon:
- June 201pm
- June 233pm
- June 256:30pm
- June 13 11:45am
- June 202pm
- June 232pm
- June 257:30pm
- June 2 1:00pm
- May 29 6:30pm
- June 30 1:00pm
- May 298pm
History & Philosophy
After more than 20 years of working with my own dogs, teaching obedience classes for another school, training assistance dogs for three local non-profit organizations, and learning all I could about canine training and behavior, I decided it was time to start my own school. My goal was to have a dog training school where positive techniques and methods were the norm; where slip release, pinch/prong, and chain link/choke collars were unheard of; where force, pain, and punishment were not options; where people would enjoy bringing their dogs and where dogs would enjoy going. The result was that Cloud Nine, Inc. opened its one door in spring of 2000 in a small, single room, studio-like warehouse in downtown Hopkins. Owner and head trainer: Dawn Falk; silent partner and marketing expert: Gerry Schmitt.
We started with a few evening obedience classes and doggy daycare - the only one in the western suburbs at that time, in fact. Gerry's efforts at getting the word out to surrounding veterinary clinics along with her other marketing strategies allowed us to grow steadily until we had a full selection of evening obedience classes, some weekend offerings, and enough students to fill them!
As our excellent reputation spread and our client base grew, doggy day care gave way to daytime classes, and our schedule gradually expanded to include puppy classes, agility classes, Rally O classes, therapy dog classes, private lessons/problem behavior consultations and our signature small dog play group. We even added a tricks/freestyle class and took a stab at having a canine drill team! More classes meant adding training staff, and in the last few years Sarah Palm and Ali Kuschel, both having started out as Cloud Nine students, have become Cloud Nine instructors, along with Ann Savage, Khamsin Geidd, Luann Tillman, Kelly Dittmar and Darci Wagner.
Though we were happy in our cozy little air-conditioned, one-bathroom training studio for many years, our growing agility program, with students who now compete at the national level, really dictated that we find a bigger place. Three commercial realtors and as many years later, we finally found a suitable building - still in Hopkins - with three doors, four bathrooms, and a dedicated training ring that is as big as the entire old studio.
We have been in our new facility in Hopkins since March of 2011, and we definitely have grown! In addition to our "Doggy Gym" activity and the obedience and agility open training times that we added to our schedule, we also have started hosting seminars by internationally known experts such Daisy Peel and Suzanne Clothier so we can learn more about agility, obedience, the human-animal bond; we have added "micro classes" - one-session classes that focus on specific topics to help people with problem behaviors such as with jumping or barking; we have added a competition-level agility jumping class based on Nancy Gyes' Alphabet Drills exercises; we have added daytime Rally and advanced obedience classes; and we offer an annual Canine Emergency First Aid seminar presented by Dr. Jeanne Sutich.
We have started offering Teacup Agility classes and open training times; we launched Haylee's Heart, an end-of-life/pet loss support group to help people get through the difficult decisions and the difficult times that losing a treasured pet brings; we will be hosting a nose work seminar, adding a Stay and Train service, and we still have designs on getting that doggy drill team/musical freestyle activity up and running. And, finally, in September of 2012, we opened a "north" location in New Hope so our agility students can really let their dogs put the pedal to the metal. So stay tuned and check back often because you never know when one of our new classes or services might be of interest to you!
People often ask how/why Gerry and I chose the name Cloud Nine Training School for Dogs, and there are three reasons. First, at the time we conceived Cloud Nine, I had nine dogs. Second, Gerry's art director back then created an adorable logo that lent itself to the name. Third, I wanted to run a dog training school where dogs would be happy to come, where they would be on cloud nine.