Boston Classes

All of our classes are based on evidence-based methods of training to ensure an effective and enjoyable learning experience for you and your dog. Our training techniques are based on rewards rather than reproof.

Please read the class descriptions below, as well as our refund policy,before registering for a class. Make a note of the name of your class, as well as the date and time, as you will need to input this info during your registration! When you are ready, click the purple button to start the registration process.
Register for Classes

MSPCA-Boston training classes are held at the MSPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center, 350 So. Huntington Ave., Jamaica Plain.

 Meet our Director of Behavior Services, Dr. Terri Bright

Which class should I take with my dog?

Puppies under 5 months

Puppy Play 'n Learn!  According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists (AVSAB), it is critical for young puppies to be socialized with lots of other dogs and people before they are five months old. 

Puppies and dogs over 5 months old

Beginner Pet Obedience!  If your puppy is well-socialized with other dogs and people, you may sign up for Beginner Pet Obedience before they are 5 months old.  Dogs of every age are welcome…all dogs can learn!

Advanced classes

If your dog is experienced with rewards-based training, and has some rudimentary training such as sit/down/stay/walk on a loose leash, you are ready to take nearly any level 2 class, such as Next Level,  Rally Obedience, CGC (for future Therapy dogs!), Obility or Agility.

If you are interested in the newest rage in dogdom, try "Nosework!"  Your dog will learn the same scent discrimination skills as police dogs!

Please note that we are unable to accommodate overly reactive or aggressive dogs in our classes at this time. If you have a reactive or aggressive dog and need training help, please contact the Director at tbright@mspca.org.

Discount Packages

We believe in preschool and grad school for dogs!  If you register for a class package, you get a discount.  Classes are sequential. Your choices are:

Puppy Package 1 (Pre-school through middle school), savings= $45.00
Includes: Puppy Play ‘n Learn followed by Beginner Pet Obedience (Once you complete PPNL, email Michalla Bishop to pick your next class)

*or*
Puppy Package 2 (pre-school through college), savings = $70.00
Puppy Play ‘n Learn followed by Beginner Pet Obedience, then Level 2 Obedience (or Agility, Obility, or Nosework)

Adult Dog Package, savings = $45.00
Beginner Pet Obedience, then Level 2 Obedience (or Agility, Obility or Nosework)

Therapy Dog Package, savings = $70.00
Beginner Pet Obedience, then Level 2 Obedience, then Canine Good Citizen

Scheduling
Puppy Play n Learn is always on Saturdays. 

Beginner Pet Obedience classes are offered frequently. 

Level 2, Obility, Agility and Nosework classes are offered at varying days and times. 

Please look at the class grid below and pick the day and time you would like to attend Beginner Pet Obedience class prior to payment. You will choose your advanced classes as you progress through Beginner Pet Obedience.  When you know which class you want to go to next, email Michalla Bishop

To pick a single class, click the class name below:

 

Agility I   Canine Good Citizen Prep
Agility II   Canine Good Citizen Test
Agility III   Puppy Play n' Learn
Pet Obedience I   Obility I
Pet Obedience II   Obility II
Rally Obedience   Tricks 101
Nosework   Dog Aggression Management

 Beginner Pet Obedience Class

This class is taught in a manner that is fun for you and for your dog. Class size is limited, so you and your dog will get lots of personal attention. You do not bring your dog to the first class!

Classes are held Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday and Sunday evenings, as well as Saturdays/Sundays during the day. If you do not see a class listed, email Training Coordinator, Michalla Bishop to find out when the next class on that day begins; an early registration can reserve your spot before the class is listed on the website!

Class Schedule:

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Saturday class filled August 2nd Sept 20th (no class 8/30) Noon - 1:00 PM
Sunday class filled August 3rd Sept 21st (no class 8/31) 10 - 11 AM
Saturday class filled August 9th Sept 27th (no class 8/30) 10:30 - 11:30 AM
Tuesday class filled August 12th Sept 23rd 7:30 - 8:30 PM
Sunday class filled August 17th October 5th (no class 8/31) 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Wednesday class filled August 20th October 1st  7 - 8 PM
Wednesday class filled August 27th October 8th 7:30 - 8:30 PM
Sunday class filled September 7th October 19th 4 - 5 PM
Saturday class filled September 13th October 25th 11:30 - 12:30 PM
Sunday class filled September 14th October 26th 5:15 - 6:15 PM
Sunday class filled September 14th October 26th 11 AM - 12 PM
Wednesday class filled September 17th October 29th 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Sunday September 21st November 2nd 7:30 - 8:30 PM
Tuesday September 23rd November 4th 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Wednesday September 24th November 5th 8 - 9 PM
Saturday September 27th November 8th Noon - 1 PM
Sunday September 28th November 9th 10 - 11 AM



 Dog Aggression Management- Next Class Starts October 18th!

This is a specialized class for dogs who lunge and bark at other dogs, at people or at other things in their environment.

Though there is no "cure" for behavior, per se, we can teach dogs alternatives to the lunging/barking, and, depending upon the severity of the problem and the extent to which you do the assigned interventions, the behavior can be changed.

Your participation will involve the following, so please read carefully before registering:

  1. You will pay online for the class, in the amount of $395.00, and will fill out a complete history on your dog (if your dog has not been an Angell patient before, there will also be an $11 registration fee);
  2. Before classes begin, you will meet with a class instructor for a 30-minute appointment, where they will assess whether this class is a good fit for your dog, and also teach you how to keep a written and video record of your dog’s behavior to share with our behaviorist, Dr. Terri Bright.  If your dog is deemed to be potentially dangerous towards dogs or people, you will not attend the classes.  Instead, you will meet privately with Dr. Bright for a total of 90 minutes.  This will be done in one or two appointments, whichever is needed for your dog, and allows us to give you and your dog a more individualized approach that is needed for safety.
  3. If your dog is deemed to be reactive and not aggressive, you will join the class setting.
  4. The group class will be for humans only. This is because it is very difficult for dogs to learn new behaviors when they are aroused, and putting a number of reactive dogs into one room, even if they are behind a barrier, can cause the exact behavior we want to decrease.
  5. In class, you will work hands-on with dogs once you have the skills.  These could be Shelter dogs or instructors’ dogs.
  6. Your personalized instruction with your dog will be in two 30-minute sessions that occur in the weeks/months after the three group sessions.
  7. You will agree to keep a written and video record of your dog’s behaviors during the period you are enrolled in the class, and to share these with our behaviorist.

Recap:

-          Meet with instructor for your dog’s evaluation;

-          If accepted into class, go to three group classes, then two 30-minute private sessions;

-          Agree to keep written and video records of your dog’s behavior;

-          If not accepted into group class, 90 minutes with our behaviorist, Dr. Bright

Class dates:  10/18, 10/25, 11/15 @ 3:15 PM.  (Note there is no class on 11/1 & 11/9) Private sessions to be scheduled separately.


Canine Good Citizen

Canine Good Citizen Prep Class

The “Canine Good Citizen” Award is a certificate bestowed by the American Kennel Club to any dog that passes a formal test that involves basic Obedience and social behaviors. If you want your dog to become a Therapy Dog, this is the class for you! In this class, the dogs and their handlers will learn what the tasks are in the CGC test, and will be able to practice them in a classroom setting. Your dog must have taken Beginner and Level 2 class at the MSPCA or have special permission to enroll in this class. Inquire via Training Coordinator Michalla Bishop.

DAY START DATE END DATE TIME
Thursday September 18th October 23rd 7:30 - 8:30 PM

Canine Good Citizen Test/Practice

~CGC TEST~TBD: email Michalla Bishop

     

The Next Level: Pet Obedience, Not for Beginners

This class is for folks who have taken Beginner Pet Obedience at the MSPCA , and who want to continue their excellent training with our skilled instructors. Lonnnnnger sits and downs. More predictable stays.  Cuter loose-leash walking (the kind where the dog looks at you adoringly). Harder challenges (walk by the HOT DOG on a loose leash!) All four paws on the ground at all times.  It CAN be done! If your dog did not take Beginner's Obedience at the MSPCA, please email Training Coordinator Michalla Bishop for permission before you register.

Class Schedule


DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Thursdayclass filled September 4th October 9th 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Saturday September 20th October 25th 10:45 - 11:45 AM
Sunday September 21st October 26th 5:30 - 6:30 PM

Level 2.5!

You have taken Level 2, but you want to practice your skills in preparation for L3. (Choose "The Next Level" when you pay.)

DAY START DATE  END DATE  TIME

Saturday Level 2.5 

September 27th  November 1st 9:30 AM- 10:30 AM

Level Three!

Your dog has taken Beginner Pet Obedience and The Next Level, and hankers for more!

Class Schedule

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

TBD      

 Tricks 101

Prerequisite: completion of Beginner Pet Obedience ( preferably with a hand or finger targeting behavior)

Enhance your relationship with your dog, challenge his or her doggy mind, work off his extra energy, and entertain your friends by teaching your food-motivated dog some fun tricks.  In this class you’ll learn the fundamentals needed to teach tricks like roll over, jump through a hoop, and retrieve.  You will also design a trick uniquely suited to your dog and learn how to combine various simple tricks to make more complex and astounding tricks. You and your dog will move at your own pace, from stately to superstar, and have an opportunity to show off your accomplishments in class.

Email mbishop@mspca.org to register

Thursday October 30th  December 11th (no class 11/27)  7:30 - 8:30 PM

 Fun Fridays (aka "Agility Prep")

 Fridays  on hiatus TBD TBD

If you have taken Beginner Pet Obedience and want an informal, fun and less-structured continuation of training your dog at the MSPCA, this is the class for you!  If you have taken classes elsewhere and want to take Advanced classes here, but have no clicker experience, this is where to start! Also, if your dog has not learned "clicker" training, but you want to take other classes at the MSPCA, this is where to start!

Pay $100 and go to at least 4 classes every 6 weeks.  If you skip 2, no worries!  (If you skip 3, you must pay again for another round). The curriculum is not cumulative, so you will miss training fun, but no homework, if you don’t go every week. For maximum fun (and learning), go every week!

The skills you will work on will build on what you learned in Beginner Obedience:

  • Go to Your mat (when the doorbell rings!)
  • Go to Your mat (when you have food on your plate!)
  • Hand-targeting= tricks!  Sit up, Weave through my legs, Paw, Gimme 5 (and 10!)
  • Loose-leash-walking= try Rally Obedience; fun signs tell you and your dog where to go!
  • Agility lite: Teach your dog to run through a tunnel or jump through a hoop!
  • Nosework Try-It's- this new sport is all the rage!  Try it!

"Nosework"

"Nosework" is the next big thing in dog training! It is a fun sport that involves teaching your dog to follow his nose to find different scents.  Based upon the work that police and bomb- and airport-sniffing dogs do, you dog learns first to find the box that has food in it. Over repeated lessons, the food is then paired with a scent, and the dog continues the hunt! The result is a dog who can search a space for that particular smell. Dogs LOVE this sport, as sniffing is something they were born to do! You will smile with pride as you watch your dog learn how to, well…be such a DOG!

Our homeless dogs are learning too!  Here they are at their first lesson:  One box has a bowl of food in it, and the dogs are following their noses! Dogs from Adoption Center learning to find food in a box

Your dog will be crated or waiting in your car when it is not their turn; this is the only prerequisite for the class.

Intro to Nosework

(Choose "Nosework" from the menu when you pay for all NW classes.)

Class Schedule

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Sunday September 21st October 26th 1- 2PM

Novice Scent work (been on odor at least 6 weeks)

Class Schedule

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Sunday TBA    

Advanced Odor (been on odor at least 3 months)

You have taken two Nosework classes, and your dog can hunt for odor. Email Training Coordinator Michalla Bishop permission to join the class.

Class Schedule

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Saturday ongoing   10:30-11:30 AM
Sunday September 21st October 26th 11 AM - 12 PM
Sunday September 21st October 26th 12 - 1 PM



Puppy Play n’ Learn

Research has shown that the early weeks of a puppy's life are crucial to social development, with other dogs and with people. For that reason, this class is especially for puppies who are 8-20 weeks old, and is a drop-in format. You will pay $150 for four classes and come at your convenience until your pup is five months old. Additional classes can be purchased in blocks of four classes. Puppies will get to socialize and spend time learning to learn; you will get puppy tips and will learn how to teach your puppy to grow up to be a good dog. Every day that goes by without socializing and training your young pup is a day lost to his or her social future- register today!

What to bring to Puppy PNL:

  • A hungry puppy
  • A flat buckle collar
  • A normal leash (no flexi's please!)
  • Enough soft, tasty treats to feed your pup every minute or so!

Class will be in the Education Room: drive past the MSPCA entrance, around to the left, and park across from the white fence.  Walk up the stairs to the Ed Room.

Please note: Unless you have a note from your vet showing a medical reason your puppy could not attend, we do not give refunds for PPNL classes if you do not bring your puppy to class.

Class Schedule

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Saturday
(teenie-weenie puppies)
Rolling-starts every Saturday rolling  2-3 PM
Saturday
(older/bigger puppies) 
Rolling- starts every Saturday rolling  1-2 PM

If you are not sure which class your pup belongs in, email Training Coordinator Michalla Bishop.

Obility!

In this class, you and your dog will learn the pre-requisite skills needed to play the fun and fast-growing sport of Canine Agility. In this class, you and your dog will learn behavioral shaping games involving standing on things that move; they will also learn to jump and go through tunnels. Even more important, they will learn to stay and watch their handler and play games while other dogs jump and go through tunnels.

Class dogs should have taken a Beginner Obedience Class at an MSPCA, have taken an Obedience Class elsewhere, and/or the dogs should be able to pay attention to their owner in a room full of other moving dogs.

BEFORE YOU REGISTER: If your dog has NOT taken an MSPCA class before, please email Training Coordinator Michalla Bishop with the details of your dog's prior training, and get permission to register! If you have any doubts about your dog's ability to give you some attention in a classroom full of other dogs, please register for Beginner Obedience instead, and plan to take Obility in the next go-round!

Class Schedule:

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

See you in the Winter      

 

Rally Obedience

Rally Obedience is a fun sport that combines the precision of competition Obedience with the fun of Agility.

In “Rally O,” it is sometimes called, the dog and handler learn 13-20 behaviors that are standard Obedience behaviors: come, sit, heel, down, stay, along with different turns, and jumps are added for fun! The challenge is that the signs are laid out in a course (see the signs here) , and the dog and handler complete the timed course in a specific manner with as few “faults” as possible. The owners are encouraged to talk to their dogs and make the experience a lot of fun for all.

Rally is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country. Sign up and give it a try!

(Your dog must, at minumum,  be able to sit and walk at your left side to take this class. If you and your dog have not taken a class at the MSPCA before, please email Michalla Bishop for permission to register!)

Rally I

Saturday TBD    

Rally II

Your dog has taken Rally I.

Saturday TBD    

Agility

Note: When you register for Agility, choose "Agility" from the menu for any level of class.

Your dog has not taken Agility or Obility before, but you have trained your dog using rewards. (If you have relied on equipment such as a pinch collar or leash corrections and are interested in taking Agility, please email Training Coordinator Michalla Bishop  You must send your dog's training history to get permission  to take this class if you have not taken classes at the MSPCA.  Classes run for 6 weeks. Start dates are tentative depending on the weather!

Class Schedule

Intro to Agility

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Tuesday August 19th Sept 23rd 6 - 7 PM
Sunday September 21st class filled October 26th 9 - 10 AM

 Beyond Beginner Agility (Level 2) and Run-though's! (Choose "Agility" when you register.)

You have taken one rewards-based class in Agility at the MSPCA or elsewhere, and your dog can perform all of the equipment in class, except, perhaps, the weave poles.

Class Schedule

DAY START DATE END DATE TIME
Sundays (PRACTICE run-thru's) September 21st  ongoing (no class 6/22, 7/6)  10 - 11 AM
Saturday  September 6th October 11th 11:30 - 12:30 PM
Tuesday Level 2 Agility September 23rd October 28th 7 - 8 PM

 

Competition Agility

Is your dog “fluent” on all the Agility equipment except perhaps the weaves? Do you have a start-line stay and leadout? Front and rear cross? Are you ready to take it to the next level and learn some speed, handling and control? Do you hope to compete someday?

Class Schedule

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

TIME

Monday class filled Sept 15th Oct 27th (no class 10/13) 6:30-7:30 PM
Monday class filled Sept 22nd Nov 3rd (no class 10/13)
7:30-8:30 PM

 

A Note from the Director of Behavior Services

If you have scrolled down to here, and did not find the class you hoped for, please drop me an email or telephone me (contact info below) to let me know what you would like to learn with your dog!

To secure a spot in our classes, you must pay for the class in full and complete a registration form. Once we have received your information and payment, we will send a confirmation to you.

We require that dogs attending classes are up-to-date on their rabies vaccine and current on all other vaccines per their vet's recommendation. All family members are welcome in class, however, please email the Director for permission for children under the age of 7 whom you want to bring to class.

Please note: All classes are on a first come / first served basis. If the class you were interested in has filled, you will be contacted about alternate class availability. If you find you are unable to take this class after registering for it, you must notify the office 10 days prior to the start of the class. Notification after 10 days will result in you forfeiting 50% of your registration fee. Sorry, no exceptions! There will be no tuition refund once class has started. If you must miss a class, please notify the instructor beforehand, so you may be given make-up homework.

For more information, call the Behavior Department 617/989-1520.