1. Do I have to attend the Introduction?
2. What is a "Level?"
3. How long are the levels?
4. What is a Training Pass?
5. How far will I go through your program during my Training Pass?
6. Under what circumstances will you extend my Training Pass?
7. What is the Canine Good Citizen Test and how do I take it?
8. What other classes do you offer?
9. What training methods do you use in the Training School?
10. Do you use food in training?
11. We never used those methods before! Will my dog still respect me if I train with food?
12. I took classes at Animal Humane Society a long time ago. Are the classes still the same?
13. What kinds of classes does Animal Humane Society have for dogs and puppies?
14. When should I start my puppy in classes?
15. How long should my pet be in my home before I start classes?
16. What are the goals of your training school?
17. When and where are your classes held?
18. How do I get a schedule of classes?
19. What is taught in the Intro session and do I have to attend?
20. How do I register for classes?
21. I really need to get my dog into a class! What's the fastest way to get registered for classes?
22. Can I just show up for classes without registering first?
23. I don't see any start dates on your calendar. When do the classes start and end?
24. Which class should I take?
25. How do I know what class to attend?
26. How long are the classes and how often do they meet?
27. Can I attend more than once a week?
28. How many dogs or puppies are in a class?
29. Do you offer playtime in classes?
30. What are your health requirements for attending classes?
31. What vaccinations are required?
32. What proof of rabies vaccination is required? Can I just bring my dog's tags?
33. My pet has had his kennel cough shot, so I don't need to be concerned if he's sneezing, right?
34. My pet had sterilization surgery - how long do I have to be out of class?
35. Tell me about Playgroups.
36. What dogs shouldn't come to class?
37. What should I bring to class?
38. What training equipment do we need to bring?
39. What treats should I bring to class?
40. What other supplies do I need for my pet?
41. Can my kids come to classes?
42. Who should train the dog? Can my partner and I alternate coming every week?
43. How much time should I spend training my pet?
44. How should I practice with my pet?
45. Cancellations/Refund Policy:
47. What if I want private lessons?
48. Who do I talk to if I have questions?
Yes. The Introduction session is the first class of our program and it is required for all students before you start classes with your dog. As part of our flexible levels program, there is no "first night" of class when everything is explained - you can start at any time. Our Introduction session serves as the first class where we tell you all about us and our classes. This is vital information that you will need to be most successful in our program, and we want you to be successful!
Our Levels Program is comprised of several short blocks designed to give you the time you and your pet need to master certain skills before moving to the next level. Each Level has a specific set of Move-Up Skills that build on each other. Each Level works on the same set of skills, and each student moving up to the next level will have mastered those skills. The skills are designed as building blocks for the next skill set.
For example, the Move-Up Skills for Level 1 and Puppy Kindergarten are:
Students stay in each level until they can master the skills, and it can be anywhere from 1-4 weeks, with the average being 3 weeks. Students who have mastered these skills can move up when they are ready. Students who need extra time can stay as long as they need, and students who have trained a dog before can move quickly through the program. Each Level adds more skills. The graduation standard for Level 4 is the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.
When you enroll in our program, you are purchasing a block of time in which to train your pet. Our format is structured so students purchase a 2-month or 4- month Training Pass. The Training Pass does not include the free Introduction to Pet Dog Training. Your Training Pass begins the date you first bring your pet to classes, and ends the same day of the month 2 or 4 months out. We credit your pass if your class is scheduled on a holiday, or any other day we may not have a class scheduled due to room use conflicts.
We don’t know—that depends on how quickly you and your pet master each level’s move-up skills. Our skills-based program means that the time frame is not as important as the skills that you learn. It will depend on you, your pet, and how much time you are able to train your pet.
You are paying for a block of time in which to train your pet, so time is what we have to offer. We are able to be flexible in the case of emergency or illness. We are unable to extend passes for students taking vacations or having their pet spayed or neutered. We encourage students to schedule their pet’s sterilizations surgery for the day after their class, so they will have as much time between the surgery and the next class.
All our classes are positive reinforcement-based classes, using a combination of Lure/Reward and Clicker Training methods. We find that this is suitable for all pets, and puts all family members more in control of the dog. We are dog-friendly, but not permissive, and we never use pain during training. Students will be taught to use a clicker as a “construction tool” which will be faded during Level 3. Students using Gentle Leader ™ head collars will also be taught to transition to a buckle collar in preparation for the Canine Good Citizen Test offered as the graduation standard for Level 4. When behaviors are reliably learned, they can be maintained with praise, petting and an occasional treat.
High value food rewards are used in class, but at home we encourage students to use their pet’s daily ration of dry dog food for training rewards to prevent obesity and stomach upset. We encourage students to use all the things that the dog wants as Life Rewards, rather than using only food. We will teach the correct way to use food in training so your dog does not fall into the “my dog only works for food” trap.
Dog training, like everything else, changes and improves as we learn more about training animals in general. The methods used in the Training School are very current and well-established methods used by professional dog trainers all over the world. Training with rewards rather than with fear and force will build a very positive relationship with your dog. It isn’t just about food, but about you using all the things your dog loves as rewards for correct behavior. Respect based on fear isn’t the best way to build a relationship with your dog. We encourage you to use all the things you were going to give the dog anyway for "free" and use them as rewards for correct behaviors. These Life Rewards are built into your daily life and should be given for appropriate behavior, rather than being given just because the dog is breathing or because it is five o’clock.
No. At the Animal Humane Society we now offer our own training program and curriculum, and our classes are in compliance with the American Humane Associations Guidelines for Humane Dog Training. If you have a question about how training classes are different, you are welcome to come and observe training classes without your dog. Trainers will be happy to answer your questions when they are not teaching.
We have classes for puppies and dogs of all ages. All our classes are designed to help your pet become a well-behaved member of your household and to promote the human-animal bond. There are discounts available if your dog was adopted from the Animal Humane Society, if the dog was part of our Oh Behave! Program, and if the dog was part of Project Pit Bull.
We know that puppies are at their optimal learning during the first four months, so we encourage you to bring your pet to classes as soon as possible. However, adult dogs of all ages can and do learn, so it is never too late!
Your pet can and does begin learning right from the start. We require adult dogs to be in their new homes for two weeks prior to starting classes to ensure that they are not going to “break” with a communicable disease, such as “kennel cough.” Puppies may start right away, as soon as they have had at least one distemper/parvo vaccination.
We strive to provide pet dog training that will provide practical basic obedience for home and away, using gentle, dog-friendly methods and fun for the whole family. We encourage families to attend and train together so everyone in the household can communicate and set limits effectively with their pet. We hope to help keep pets in their home by teaching basic skills and household manners, pet management techniques, and by providing socialization and support to pet owners. Fees from our training classes help support our shelter animals.
Classes are held at our Golden Valley location Monday through Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. We have classes in Coon Rapids on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, in Woodbury on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and at our new Now Boarding location (near the airport) Monday through Thursday evenings. For more information about our class schedules, click here or contact the Training School at (763) 489-2217.
Class descriptions and schedules are available here.
You can also call the Training School at (763) 489-2217 or contact Dog Training online for more information.
The Introduction to Pet Dog Training session is a 90-minute session that will give you an overview to our Training School. It is required of all incoming students. You will be provided with class information and materials to get you started training your pet.
Apply online, download an application or via any of the above routes and mail, fax or bring it to any of class locations (Coon Rapids, Golden Valley, Now Boarding, or Woodbury). You can also register when you attend our Introduction session. Please allow 3-4 business days for us tp process your application and to call you to confirm.
Please don’t! All students must be pre-registered for classes. During the registration process, students receive important information about classes and we screen to be sure that the dog or puppy is appropriate for our classes.
Our Levels classes have rolling enrollment, so you pick your start date based on your schedule, not ours. All incoming students must attend our required first class, the Introduction to Pet Dog Training.
If your puppy is less than five months old, you will take Puppy Kindergarten. If your pet is 5 months or older, you will start in Level 1. Shy/fearful dogs are welcome to attend our Wallflower Class. Dogs with their Canine Good Citizen Certificate are welcome to attend our Therapy Dog Class.
When we receive each paid application, we slot you into the class that you have requested, subject to availability. With very few exceptions, students do receive their first choice in time slot. Occasionally, a popular time slot may be full for a few weeks until other students move up, and you may attend in a different time slot until there is room in your preferred time.
Yes, if there is room in another class at your level or below, you may “float” into that class. Please call the Training School office to check for class availability. We have a finite amount of space in each classroom, and we need to know when you will be attending.
We do offer playtime in all our puppy classes and will try to offer it when time allows and when appropriate in the rest of our classes as well. However, if the instructor is not comfortable with the combination of dogs in the class, play may not be offered for safety reasons.
Your pet needs to be free of signs of communicable diseases to attend classes. Even if your vaccinations are current, it is possible to pass minor illnesses among other dogs, so please do not bring your pet to class if they are ill. Please watch for signs of coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. Even if your pet does not “seem sick”, if they are displaying these symptoms, please do not bring them to class, but take them to your veterinarian instead. If your pet misses class due to illness, please call us and we will add time to your pass. Please do not bring ill pets to class.
Distemper/Parvo Combination: Required for all dogs and puppies. Puppies should have at least one booster before attending classes.
Rabies: Required for all dogs and puppies over 4 months
Bordetella: Required for all puppies and adult dogs over 3 months
Rabies is a fatal disease, and we must have proof of vaccination in the form of a statement from your veterinarian indicating that your pet was vaccinated. We cannot accept a rabies tag alone as proof of vaccination. Your pet will not be allowed in class without proper vaccination records.
It’s not that simple! Dogs and puppies can still get kennel cough even though they have had all their vaccinations, because there are many things that can cause an upper respiratory infection in pets. The best practice is to fully vaccinate your pet, observe for signs of illness, and keep them home if they are showing possible signs of illness.
For a normal spay or neuter surgery, you pet does not need to miss classes if you schedule the surgery for the day after a class. Pets should not play while they still have stitches, so please talk with your instructor if your pet has recently had surgery.
Our Playgroups started as an extension of our puppy classes, and have grown from there. We offer playgroups for Puppies younger than six months, Small Dogs of any age under 20 pounds, Featherweights of any age under 10 pounds, and our Micro Dogs of any age under 7 pounds. Yappy Hour, which is a mixed age group for dogs of all sizes, is held some Friday evenings. There is an additional charge of $7.00 for current Training School students and $10 for the public to attend the playgroups. Proof of vaccination is required for all Playgroups. Please visit the website or call the Training School for schedule information.
Dogs that are aggressive to other dogs or people are not appropriate for our group training classes. Students should call (763) 489-2217 for an appropriate referral to help address this problem before bringing the dog to group classes. Currently enrolled pets should not come if they are showing signs of illness or infection.
Our standard of excellence for food rewards in class is that “The treats need to smell better than the next dog’s rear end—because that’s your competition!” Something that smells really wonderful and enticing will work best in class to keep your dog’s attention. We recommend small tasty bits of meat, cheese, small and soft prepared dog treats, or anything else that your pet wants. Please keep in mind that treats really need to be exciting for your dog to want them around other dogs.
Our instructors have selections of appropriate supplies that you should have for your pet, including grooming tools, toys, and excellent books. Please consider purchasing your pet supplies from our Training School to help support homeless shelter animals.
Yes! Our classes are family friendly, and we welcome all family members, including children. Small children may become bored, tired, or disruptive, and we recommend that you bring an extra adult who can tend to their needs. Older children are welcome to handle the dogs as long as they are able to physically control the dog and work with the dog during the week. We encourage children to be involved in all parts of training classes, but for their safety and the safety of the animals, an adult must be present and ensure physical control of the animal. Please encourage all family members not to chat while the instructor is speaking.
We recommend that everyone in the household gets involved in training classes. It is not necessary to have the same person train the dog, but each person should be able to pass the Level skills with the dog.
Dogs are always learning, so we should understand that every moment is a teachable moment. Ideally, every interaction with your pet should be that type of moment in which you do not allow them to practice it wrong. Use small opportunities throughout the day, such as TV commercials, to practice training skills. Formal training should take 30-45 minutes per day, broken into 3-4 minute sessions.
In class, we will show you how to start teaching the behaviors. The rest of the week is the time when you will teach these to your pet. Start at home, and then take the dog someplace new every day to practice. Pets that only practice at home will be very easily distracted and will only know the behavior at home. Practice is what makes the dog a trained dog, so we really emphasize practicing training correctly, frequently, and in a variety of different places.
After the first class session, refunds will be given only in case of medical or other emergency, and we must be notified before the end of the last scheduled class to ensure a refund. We encourage students to observe a class without their dog if they have any questions about our training methods.
We do offer private lessons, both in-home and at our Golden Valley location. The fee is $90.00/hour for in-home lessons, or $75.00/hour for lessons at the Humane Society. For more information, contact the Training School.
Call the Training School at (763) 489-2217 or contact Dog Training online for more information. The Training Coordinator is available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Because we teach in the evenings, the Training School Instructors start their work day at 1:00 p.m. and return calls and e-mails in the afternoons. The Training phone is not staffed on weekends. You may leave a voicemail at any time and your call will be returned as quickly as possible.