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Boston Dog and Cat Training
COVID-19 UPDATE: We have launched online classes, webinars and private lessons to support you & your pup during this time. INDOOR classes resumed July 22nd and are planned to continue through the winter. OUTDOOR classes resumed June 15th but are now finished for the 2020 season.
Please read the class descriptions, as well as our refund policy, before registering for a class.
MSPCA-Boston training classes are held at the MSPCA’s Animal Care and Adoption Center, 350 South Huntington Ave., Jamaica Plain. 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 Behavior Office or call 617-989-1520. We can arrange for you to see one of our behaviorists in a private behavioral consult.
COVID-19 Accommodations for Health & Safety:
For classes held outdoors; students will not have any access to the building. There is a port-a-potty on site for emergencies.
Indoor classes will be limited to six students and one instructor in our 1,600 sq.ft. classroom (Puppy Play n’ Learn class limit is seven students per section, with three instructors/volunteers.)
Students must bring all of their own supplies: dog treats, water, water bowl, poop bags, and a mat or towel for their dog.
Chairs are not provided outdoors, only indoors; if you will need access to a chair outdoors, please bring one.
ONE family member per dog/puppy; sorry, no exceptions.
Masks must be worn by instructors and students at all times. Disposable medical-grade masks are preferred to cloth.
Keep at least six feet of social distance and your dog on leash at all times while on the property.
During class, students will remain in their assigned area unless asked to move by their instructor.
Homework will be distributed electronically; no paper copies will be available.
Outdoor classes will be cancelled in case of rain, impending thunderstorm, or extreme heat. Cancelled classes will be held the following week and the session extended.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, in-person training classes were suspended from 3/16/20 to 6/15/20. We have reached out to all students who were in class then, so if you need assistance resuming your training please email us, or call the Behavior Office at (617) 989-1520.
Check out our calendar to view start dates of our upcoming classes!
Puppy Play n' Learn
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 8-16 weeks old.
We believe in preschool and grad school for dogs! If you purchase multiple classes together, you can save between $25-70. Please refer to the individual class descriptions below for more information on each class. Your package choices are:
Puppy Play n’ Learn + Beginner Pet Obedience. Cost: $350 Savings: $45 Please note that space must be available in an upcoming Puppy Play n’ Learn session for you to purchase a Puppy Package. To be notified via email when space is available, please email your request! Puppy Play n’ Learn is held at 1:30pm & 3:00pm on Saturdays and 12:30pm & 1:45pm on Sundays in Jamaica Plain. Most students start with Puppy Play n’ Learn, and then move on to Beginner Pet Obedience so you do not need to select your Beginner Obedience class at this time. If you would like to take these two classes concurrently, please email our Boston Training Coordinator.
Puppy Play n’ Learn + Beginner Pet Obedience + Level 2 Obedience. Cost: $525 Savings: $70 Please note that space must be available in an upcoming Puppy Play n’ Learn session for you to purchase a Puppy Package. To be notified via email when space is available, please email your request! Puppy Play n’ Learn is held at 1:30pm & 3:00pm on Saturdays and 12:30pm & 1:45pm on Sundays in Jamaica Plain. Most students start with Puppy Play n’ Learn, and then move on to Beginner Pet Obedience so you do not need to select your Beginner Obedience class at this time. If you would like to take these two classes concurrently, please email our Boston Training Coordinator.
Puppy Home Start + Puppy Play n’ Learn. Cost: $400 Savings: $25 Please note that space must be available in an upcoming Puppy Play n’ Learn session for you to purchase a Puppy Package. To be notified via email when space is available, please email your request! Puppy Play n’ Learn is held at 1:30pm & 3:00pm on Saturdays and 12:30pm & 1:45pm on Sundays in Jamaica Plain.
Puppy Home Start + Puppy Play n’ Learn + Beginner Pet Obedience. Cost: $600Savings: $70 Please note that space must be available in an upcoming Puppy Play n’ Learn session for you to purchase a Puppy Package. To be notified via email when space is available, please email your request! Puppy Play n’ Learn is held at 1:30pm & 3:00pm on Saturdays and 12:30pm & 1:45pm on Sundays in Jamaica Plain. Most students start with Puppy Play n’ Learn, and then move on to Beginner Pet Obedience so you do not need to select your Beginner Obedience class at this time. If you would like to take these two classes concurrently, please email our Boston Training Coordinator.
Clients who have taken five or more class sessions at MSPCA are eligible for ongoing discounts. Known as “Frequent Flyers,” they enjoy a special rate of $150 for each 6-week class session (a savings of $50.) Contact our Training Coordinator to enroll if you are eligible.
To view a single class description, click the class name below:
Please note that space must be available in an upcoming session for you to purchase this class or a Puppy Package. To be notified via email when space is available, please email your request! 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 8-16 weeks old. You will pay $150 for four classes and attend for four consecutive weeks following your selected start date. Your puppy is eligible to attend classes as soon as it has been seen and declared to be healthy by a vet, until it is 20 weeks old. Therefore, plan ahead to to find the consecutive four weeks when you and your puppy can attend class. Puppies will get to socialize and spend time learning to learn; you will get puppy-training tips and will learn how to teach your puppy to grow up to be a good dog. Read more about what to expect in puppy class. Puppies in class may not have received all of their vaccinations. If you are concerned about this, speak to your vet. 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 Play n’ Learn:
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!
Classes are on Saturdays at 12:45pm and 2:00pm (and Sundays at 12:30pm and 1:45pm.) 12:45pm is for the bigger/older/bolder puppies and 2:00pm is for the smaller/younger/shyer puppies. If you are not sure which class your pup belongs in, email our Training Coordinator.
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.
In this class, you will learn how to teach your dog to work for you for fun rewards, and the behaviors that will be taught in class are: sit, stay, lie down, come when called, leave it, go to your mat, and loose-leash walking. These are the foundation behaviors that make your dog a good and well-behaved family member. $245 for seven classes.
Longer stays, better recalls, better attention to you, and adding distractions so your dogs (and you) can continue to be challenged. Prerequisite: Beginner Pet Obedience or; if your dog has been trained using rewards and can sit or lie down on a verbal cue only, hold the position while you walk around them, and take ten consecutive steps in heel position at your left side in the presence of other dogs, you may enroll in this course. If you have any questions about these requirements, email our Training Coordinator. $200 for six classes.
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? Prerequisite: In order to enroll in this class you must have permission from the Behavior office, as continuing students have the right of first refusal to all upcoming sessions. If you have not previously taken classes at the MSPCA, please send your dog’s training history to the Training Coordinator to request permission to enroll in this class.$200 for six classes.
In this class, you and your dog will learn the prerequisite skills needed to play the fun and fast-growing sport of Agility. 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.
To enroll, 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 our Training Coordinator 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 Pet Obedience instead, and plan to take Obility in the next go-round! Prerequisite: Beginner Pet Obedience or permission from the Training Coordinator.$200 for six classes.
Looking for something fun to learn with your dog but not sure what, exactly? Come and try a little Agility, a little Nosework, a little Rally Obedience, and some Trick training, in an indoor heated classroom. A smorgasbord of training fun! Prerequisite: Beginner Pet Obedience or permission from the Training Coordinator.$200 for six classes.
We are offering “virtual” Puppy Home Start visits with our trainers during this time of social distancing! If a trainer is able to travel to your home, the sessions would need to be held outdoors, with social distancing and masks. Need a little extra help at home with your new puppy? Whether you’re a first-time puppy raiser, or it’s just been a long time since you had a puppy, we can help! This series of two one-hour, in-home sessions provides hands-on guidance for puppy management, housetraining, and more with one of our experienced puppy trainers. Decisions such as where to put the crate and how to puppy-proof your home are enhanced by having the on-site trainer’s help. $275 for two in-home classes (service area restrictions may apply.)
This class focuses on the ten exercises that constitute the Canine Good Citizen certification. You can see the ten exercises here. The CGC test is given several times a year; email the Training Coordinator if you would like to be notified when the next CGC test is scheduled. Prerequisite: Level 2 Obedience or permission of the Training Coordinator. $200 for six classes.
Rally Obedience is a fun sport that combines the precision of Competition Obedience with the fun of Agility. In “Rally O” 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. Prerequisite: You and your dog have taken at least one previous Rally Obedience class. If you have not taken a class at the MSPCA before, please email our Training Coordinator for permission to enroll. $200 for six classes.
If you are new to this sport, start here! Prerequisite: Your dog must, at minimum, 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 our Training Coordinator for permission to enroll. $200 for six classes.
“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! Prerequisite: You have taken at least two previous Nosework classes, and your dog can hunt for odor. Email our Training Coordinator permission to join the class. $200 for six classes.
These classes are not currently offered, but are expected to resume at a future date:
Level 2.5 Pet Obedience
Level 3 Pet Obedience
Tricks for Treats
Intro to Agility
Beyond Beginner Agility (Level 2) and Run-throughs
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 you a confirmation. 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.
Refund Policy: 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 a 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.
Please allow us to introduce you to superstar MSPCA student, Ella! All of Ella’s training has been done at the MSPCA; she is now a Therapy Dog who earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate after taking the MSPCA’s CGC Prep class. She volunteers at the Boston Sailing Center and was recently voted the Number One Therapy Dog in the Pawprints Pageant at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she also volunteers! Ella started in Puppy Play n Learn, then took Beginner Pet Obedience, Level 2 and Level 3 Obedience, with her whole family of humans (2 parents and a daughter) attending the classes so they could learn to train her. She is now having a blast taking Agility with her mom, who says “All of the teachers at the MSPCA are wonderful because they know so much about dogs and are so clear in their teaching methods.”
Welcome! If you have scrolled down to here, and did not find the class you hoped for, please call the Behavior Department at 617-989-1520 to let me know what you would like to learn with your dog! I am also quite pleased to share the MSPCA-Angell’s position on training. We rely on evidence-based methods of training to ensure an effective and enjoyable learning experience for you and your dog.
~Dr. Terri Bright
Please Join us at Dr. Bright's Behavior and Training Facebook Group!