Dog Training Classes

C.L.A.S.S.

C.L.A.S.S. – Canine Life and Social Skills is about teaching, learning, and appreciating real-life, practical skills, such as walking nicely on a leash, settling down when asked, meeting strangers politely, table manners, attention to handler despite distractions, and coming when called, just to name a few.

C.L.A.S.S. is a three level national assessment program launched by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in 2011. It provides dog student teams the opportunity to have their skills evaluated by a professional dog trainer. Passing a C.L.A.S.S. evaluation is a testimony to the life skills that a student and their dog have developed together. These skills can be transferred to everyday situations so as the dog may become a well balanced member of any household and a welcome part of society. Testing for each level is optional and not required for attendance in any classes at Dakin Humane Society.

GETTING STARTED:

  1. Sign up for one of our Family Dog training classes below.
  2. If interested in pursuing a C.L.A.S.S. evaluation after completing the Better, Best, or Elite Family Dog Training classes (not available for Basic Family Dog), you will need to register at the national C.L.A.S.S. website at www.mydoghasclass.com.
  3. Click on Students tab
  4. Download the C.L.A.S.S. Overview Handbook and the Student Handbook before or after you register.
  5. There is a $5.00 administration fee when registering for each evaluation test.

CANINE LIFE AND SOCIAL SKILLS CLASSES
* Taking the C.L.A.S.S. evaluation test is optional and not required for attendance in any classes at Dakin Humane Society.

* If your dog has shown aggressive behaviors towards people or other dogs, please contact us before registering at: training@dpvhs.org.


CLASS LOCATIONS

Springfield Dog Training Classes are held at the Dakin Humane Society Adoption Center at 171 Union St. in Springfield, MA.

Hadley Dog Training Classes are held at the Dave’s Soda and Pet City at 335 Russell St. (Rt. 9) in Hadley, MA.

Leverett Dog Training Classes are held at the Dakin Humane Society Adoption Center at 163 Montague Rd. in Leverett, MA.

CLASS FEES

Family Dog Training Classes – $130.00
Dakin adopter discount – Registration must be within six months of adoption date to receive discount. $100.00
Thomas J. O’Connor (TJO) adopter discount – Registration must be within six months of adoption date to receive discount. $110.00
Sliding Scale – If you would like to train your dog but cannot afford Dakin’s regular class fees, please contact us! A donor’s generosity makes it possible for us to offer training on a sliding scale for people in need.


BASIC FAMILY DOG
45 minute, six week course. No C.L.A.S.S. evaluation available after completing this course.

This is a beginner, foundational class, perfect for newly acquired dogs. It is also a good place to start if you struggle getting your dog to pay attention to you when near distractions such as other dogs or people.

Students will learn the fundamentals of reward marker training and acquire the skills to teach sit, lie down, beginner level loose leash walking, stay, come, and more. The class emphasis is on creating a training relationship between handler and dog through the use of clickers and/or verbal markers and rewards.

Please note that the first class is orientation and is for humans only. Do not bring your dog to the first class. There must be a five dog minimum in order to hold the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

SEE DATES AND REGISTER HERE FOR BASIC FAMILY DOG CLASSES


BETTER FAMILY DOG
45 minute, six week course. Students may sign up on week six for the optional C.L.A.S.S. B.A. Certificate test. The evaluator fee is $10.00 and evaluations are held the following week.

This class expands further on the foundational skills taught in Basic Family Dog: longer and more challenging recalls, loose leash walking, stays and attention to handler. In addition, new skills will be learned including:

  • Polite meeting and greetings
  • Leave it
  • Wait at doors and other situations
  • Settle training
  • Polite give and take
  • Trick training and more!

There must be a five dog minimum in order to hold the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

SEE DATES AND REGISTER HERE FOR BETTER FAMILY DOG CLASSES


BEST FAMILY DOG
45 minute, six week class. Students may sign up on week six for the optional C.L.A.S.S. M.A. Certificate test. The evaluator fee is $10.00 and evaluations are held the following week.

This is an exciting class that teaches students how to merge the skills they have learned from Better Family Dog into more real world applications.

New and more challenging exercises include:

  • Wait before getting out of car
  • Loose leash walking closely past other dogs
  • Loose leash walking – controlled turns & speed changes
  • Refined recalls – auto sits and downs
  • Recall past varied distractions
  • Leave it varied distractions
  • Adding a stand position
  • Relaxed body handling – ears, paws, and mouth
  • Hand targeting – distance and movement
  • Duration stays with sound and visual distractions
  • Trick training

There must be a five dog minimum in order to hold the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

SEE DATES AND REGISTER HERE FOR BEST FAMILY DOG CLASSES


ELITE FAMILY DOG
45 minute, six week course. Students may sign up on week six for the optional C.L.A.S.S. PhD. Certificate test. The evaluator fee is $15.00 and evaluations are held the following week.

This is an advanced class with high level training challenges. This class concentrates on building a complex set of trained behaviors with a very minimal usage of food rewards.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Handler will balance carrying a variety of unwieldy objects while maintaining a loose leash walk around a variety of obstacles and in and out of doors.
  • Handler will practice putting dog in a stay while setting unwieldy objects down on a chair.
  • Teach dog to back up a minimum of three feet.
  • Stranger meet and greets, which include being handled by stranger.
  • Maintaining eye contact for long durations with handler while strangers move about and create distractions.
  • Settle in a down, near a table where handler and stranger share a snack.
  • Sit variations – dog sits quickly when asked despite where handler is located or what position their body is in.
  • Hand targeting with a stranger and more.

There must be a five dog minimum in order to hold the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

REGISTER NOW


SPECIALTY CLASSES

Ready for something different? How about trying to earn a Novice Trick Dog title or exploring the fascinating world of scent work training? Dakin offers a wide variety of fun and exciting specialty classes in which anyone can participate.


TRICKS TRAINING LEVEL 1 CLASS
50 minute, six week course

Tricks aren’t just for kids! Tricks are trained behaviors that can actually tire out an active dog both mentally and physically. Teaching tricks is a great way to provide mental and physical stimulation indoors during cold weather months and during rainy days in warm weather. If you have a breed of dog that makes some people uncomfortable just because of the way he looks, having your dog run through a repertoire of cool tricks can quickly make everyone relaxed. People will be more receptive once they see your dog is smart, fun and friendly. For those interested, you can even work towards your Novice Trick Dog title by completing 15 tricks.

There must be a five dog minimum in order to run the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

TRICKS TRAINING LEVEL 2 CLASS
50 minute, six week course.

In Tricks Training Level 2, we will learn how to chain the tricks together and create a more complex set of trained behaviors. Some tricks may require the use of small props. Other tricks will use the dog’s scenting ability. We will also work on more physical types of tricks that will teach the dog how to balance his body. If you or your dog has any physical limitations, we will set up customized training exercises that you both are comfortably able to accomplish. There will be something for every dog regardless of their level.

There must be a five dog minimum in order to run the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

REGISTER HERE for Tricks Classes


SCENT WORK FOR DOGS LEVEL 1
50 minute, six week course.

Scent work is an activity that uses your dog’s natural abilities. In this activity, your dog already knows what to do; we are just here to help him learn our rules to play the game. Not only do we get to enjoy working with our dogs, the mental exercise of searching and problem-solving is great for calming and relaxing the energetic or hyperactive dog.

In this beginner class, we will focus on teaching you how to encourage and develop your dog’s natural scenting abilities by using his desire to hunt and his love of toys, food and exercise. It’s a great class for your dog to have fun, build confidence, and burn lots of mental and physical energy. Find out how good your dog’s nose really is!

Bringing a crate for your dog to rest in between his sessions in class is recommended but not required. There must be a five dog minimum in order to run the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

SCENT WORK FOR DOGS LEVEL 2
50 minute, six week course.

In Canine Scent Work Level 2 we will teach our dogs to find a specific scent that is not a food item. Using birch oil, we will teach our dogs to find everyday items such as a hidden set of keys, a remote control and more. We will provide the scenting oil for classroom time. If you’d like oil for practicing at home, we can provide a small vial and dropper for $5.00 or a larger vial and dropper for $10.00. Please let us know when you register if you would like these items for home practice by sending an email to dogpals1@gmail.com.

Dogs must have completed the first level of Scent Work for Dogs in order to enroll in the Scent Work for Dogs Level 2 class. Bringing a crate for your dog to rest in between sessions is recommended but not required. There must be a five dog minimum in order to run the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

REGISTER HERE for Scent Work Classes


RALLY OBEDIENCE
50 minute, six week course.

Rally Obedience is a fun and exciting team sport for dog and handler. Each dog and handler team negotiate a course with directional obedience signs, completing each station and moving on to the next station at a brisk pace. This class is perfect for those who’d like a taste of the sport without being in a formal competition as well as those who want to go on to complete in formal Rally Obedience trials.

We recommend that you have completed our Basic and Better Family Dog classes or equivalent classes elsewhere before enrolling in this course. There must be a five dog minimum in order to run the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

Rally Obedience class in Springfield: $130.00

REGISTER HERE


LOVING LEASH WALKING
This is a fun one day, two hour workshop for you and your dog. Does your dog pull on leash? Is it frustrating to take your dog for a walk? Do you sometimes leave your dog at home rather than bring him along because his leash pulling makes it too hard, too much work, and not enough fun for anyone?

Learn how you and your dog can discover the joys of walking together! Walking sedately side by side isn’t a natural canine behavior but we’ve lots of techniques that will help you and your canine buddy get in sync on your walks. As with all Dakin training, we will use positive approaches to achieve your goals. You will learn a variety of techniques to start to strengthen your dog’s good leash walking and fortify your teaching skills.

This workshop is open to dogs of all ages who have some basic training skills and who are dog and human friendly. Please bring a slightly hungry dog who has had some exercise prior to class. Bring lots of tiny, soft, and smelly treats for your dog and your regular six foot leash. This workshop will be held outdoors, weather permitting. If the weather isn’t cooperating, we’ll move indoors.

This workshop is $45.00. Date TBA.

CANINE GOOD CITIZEN

50 minute, seven week course. Optional eigth week CGC certificate test.

This class does concentrated work in the area of controlled and polite greetings with strangers at home and in public, controlled manners in the close presence of another dog, relaxed and controlled behavior during body handling and grooming from a stranger, relaxed behavior during brief separations from the caregiver, loose leash walking in a crowd, rock solid recalls and stays. Food rewards are gradually weaned off near the end of the program.

Students have the opportunity to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test for a small fee at the end of the course. A CGC certificate can qualify your dog for lower homeowner’s insurance on some policies as well as make it easier to find dog- friendly housing. It is also a useful and necessary first step on the road to Therapy Dog certification. We especially recommend Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification for those breeds who suffer unfair discrimination because of how they look or how they are portrayed in the media.

We recommend that you complete our Basic and Better Family Dog classes or equivalent classes elsewhere before enrolling in this course. There must be a five dog minimum in order to run the class. Classes may be canceled within 24 hours if this minimum is not met.

REGISTER NOW


CONTACT US

If you need more information please contact Training & Behavior Services at 413-781-4000 ext. 129 or by email.