Training Classes

SIT. STAY. PLAY!

our classes offer it all

Pet Training Classes

The Richmond SPCA offers a variety of group training classes and one-day workshops taught by our expert instructors. Regular offerings include manners, agility and puppy classes along with rotating workshop topics.

We use reward-based training and host over 30 classes a week. Private lessons are also available. Please use the links below to register for a class or call 804-521-1332.

All enrolled dogs must be current on vaccinations and be at least 6 months old, unless otherwise specified.


Manners and Tricks Classes

Good Start Puppy 1
Good Start Puppy 1 is for puppies 8-16 weeks of age at the start date. We will concentrate on socialization with people and other dogs and problem prevention exercises while also introducing foundational manners and skills. Lots of playtime with other puppies is included, and your dog may make lifelong friends! Seven-week, one-hour class

Good Start Puppy 2
Good Start Puppy 2 is designed for older puppies who are 16-24 weeks of age at the start of class. We will concentrate on socialization with people and other dogs as your puppy enters adolescence.  We will discuss problem prevention exercises, while also introducing foundational manners and skills. Lots of playtime with other puppies is included, and your dog may make lifelong friends! Seven-week, one-hour class

Purposefully Playful Puppies
For dogs up to 20 weeks of age, this is socialization-based playtime involving lots of interaction with puppies, humans, and sometimes adult dogs.  Students sign up for at least four sessions and choose which to attend.  Properly socializing your puppy is a great way to have a positive influence on his or her future behavior!

January 14 – Ongoing, Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Instructor: Lesley Gurule

No skip dates at this time

Surviving Adolescence

Surviving Adolescence is for dogs 4-18 months old in their challenging “teenage” stage of development. Teach your dog the basic skills needed to succeed in everyday life.  The skills we will cover include sit, down, come, stay and leave it. This class also covers the importance of proper socialization during this growth stage and common behavior challenges such as jumping up.  Seven-week, one-hour class

Canine Manners
Teach your dog the basic skills needed to succeed in everyday life. Skills covered include sit, down, come, stay and leave it. This class also covers common behavior challenges such as jumping up. Seven-week, one-hour class

Advanced Canine Manners
Advanced Canine Manners is an intermediate-level manners course designed to advance the skills your dog already learned in Canine Manners. We will build upon behaviors such as stay and come, while covering new areas such as distance work and handling increasing levels of distraction. Seven-week, one-hour class

Building Canine Confidence
Building Canine Confidence is a beginner to intermediate course for people who would like to help their dogs be more confident when interacting with the world around them. This class will focus on skills for the dogs, confidence building games and team building games for dogs and handlers. Seven-week, one-hour class

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Prep
Prerequisite: Canine Manners or another basic manners class where the dog has been introduced to sit, down, come, stay and leave it.

Registration for this class is done manually. Please call Gail Bird-Necklace at 804-521-1332 to register.

Canine Good Citizen Prep is an intermediate-level course designed to help prepare dogs and handlers to take the CGC test.  Canine Good Citizen (CGC) is a certification program designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. Passing the 10-step CGC test earns a certificate from the American Kennel Club. The test is not included as part of the class, but for a separate fee can be scheduled independently with the instructor once the student feels ready. The CGC certification is a pre-requisite for some therapy dog groups as well, including the Richmond SPCA Paws for Health program. This class is for dogs who have already had basic training and are ready to polish those skills. We will cover exercises that help the handler and dog meet the CGC requirements—such as polite greetings, loose leash walking, and supervised separation. Enrolled dogs cannot be reactive (barking, growling or lunging) toward people or other dogs.

  • November 23 – January 18, Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. (Skips: November 30 & December 28) Instructor: Alisha Fritz

Creating a Calm Dog
Creating a Calm Dog is a class for dogs who are young and overly energetic. Skills covered include settle, place, crate, quiet and more. A basic manners class such as Canine Manners is highly recommended before attending this intermediate-level class. Seven-week, one-hour class

House Manners
House Manners is a beginner- to intermediate-level course designed around manners necessary for dogs to be successful within their families’ homes. Topics include getting on and off furniture on command, greeting people entering the home politely, crating nicely, waiting, settling and jumping up. Seven-week, one-hour class

Managing a Reactive Dog
This is an entry-level class for dogs who growl, bark, or lunge toward dogs or people while out on walks. Learn how to identify your dog’s triggers (source of fear or excitement) and help your dog learn to be less worried about his or her triggers, have better focus on you and make better decisions instead of reacting. Seven-week, one-hour class

Street Manners
Street Manners is an intermediate-level course with a focus on developing the skills dogs need to take on the world—especially during outdoor walks!  Students will learn how to properly teach and guide their dog using a head harness. There will be a heavy emphasis on overcoming leash pulling and dealing with distractions. Seven-week, one-hour class

Tricks for All Types
Tricks are tons of fun and a great way to bond with your dog! This class includes catching and shaping while covering fun activities like roll over, riding a skate board, wave and more. Dogs and trainers of all levels are encouraged to attend. Seven-week, one-hour class

Tricky Manners
“Take a Nap” helps improve staying. “Fetch” helps build a strong recall. And “spin” is a simple trick that can help build a dog’s self-confidence. While this class focuses on advancing basic manners skills like sit, down, stay, come and leash walking, it also includes tricks training to help you build the best relationship you can with your dog. Seven-week, one-hour class


Canine Sports Classes

Agility A
Agility A offers an introduction to agility and agility equipment for new dogs and handlers. Dogs should know sit and down and be generally under control when off leash. Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility B
Agility B is for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility A (or equivalent) and want to perfect their performance on all pieces of agility equipment. Students will improve their handling skills (turns/crosses/jump sequences) over jumps and tunnels, and their performance of the teeter, A-frame and dog walk. Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility B for Reactive Dogs
Agility B is for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility A (or equivalent) and want to perfect their performance on all pieces of agility equipment. This class is specifically designed for dogs who are not dog aggressive but reactive. Students will improve their handling skills (turns/crosses/jump sequences) over jumps and tunnels, and their performance of the teeter, A-frame and dog walk. Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility B/C
Agility B/C is for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility B (or equivalent) and want to spend more time practicing their performance on all pieces of agility equipment at this level before moving on to Agility C. Students will improve their handling skills (turns/crosses/jump sequences) over jumps and tunnels, and their performance of the teeter, A-frame and dog walk. Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility C
Agility C is for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility B (or equivalent) and have learned the agility equipment and want to start focusing on the skills needed to run full courses. Dogs and handlers will polish basic handling moves, practice short sequences of obstacles and longer courses and continue to improve their equipment skills. Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility C/D
Agility C/D is for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility C (or equivalent) and want to spend more time practicing their performance at this level before moving on to Agility D. Agility C/D offers advanced agility practice for dogs who know the equipment well and are ready to compete (or are already doing so). Students will work on skills and drills to enhance the working relationship between dog and handler. Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility D
Agility D is for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility C (or equivalent). Agility D offers advanced agility practice for dogs who know the equipment well and are ready to compete (or are already doing so). Students will work on skills and drills to enhance the working relationship between dog and handler.  Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility Weaves and Teeter
Agility Weaves and Teeter is a class for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility A (or equivalent). This specialty class is focused on teaching and/or building confidence in agility weave poles and the agility teeter.  Additional agility equipment (jumps, tunnels, table, etc.) may be used during training but is not the primary focus. Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility Go the Distance
Agility Go the Distance Stuff is a class for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility B (or equivalent). This class will work on building your dog’s confidence at working away from you on individual pieces of agility equipment (jumps, tunnels, contacts, weaves) and in short sequences.  Seven-week, one-hour class

Agility Skills and Drills
Agility Skills and Drills is a class for dogs and handlers who have completed Agility B (or equivalent). If you are interested in improving specific skills needed to run agility courses then this could be the perfect class for you. We will tailor the drills to fit the dogs that attend. Seven-week, one-hour class.

Intro to Flyball
Flyball is an exciting, fast-paced sport where a four-dog relay team races over jumps. Each dog is sent over four jumps, hits a box spring loaded with a tennis ball and then returns over the jumps with the ball before the next dog goes! Seven-week, one-hour class

Flyball Run Throughs
Flyball Run Throughs are a great way to continue practicing flyball skills you’ve learned in class or an opportunity to try out the sport with your dog. Each session requires pre-registration.

  • Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Host: Emily Neal. Please call Gail Bird Necklace at 804-521-1332 for details.

Workshops

Our workshops cover reward-based training techniques to help improve your relationship with your four-legged friend. Most workshops are single 90-minute sessions and are for people only. We offer workshops throughout the year based on expressed interest.

Welcoming a New Dog or Puppy

This workshop will cover the many things to consider when bringing home a new dog. We will discuss the needs of both puppies and adult dogs.  We will cover tips for helping to best assure a smooth transition for the pet into your home as well as resources that will help you overcome any challenges you may face.  Whether you are currently in search of a new companion or recently added a dog to your family, this class will provide excellent information to help you acclimate your new best friend to your home and family.

January 6, Monday at 6:30 p.m. Instructor: Alisha Fritz

Workshop topics we offer:

  • Bringing Home Baby
  • Crate Training
  • Dealing with Distractions
  • Destructive Chewing
  • Dog Park Safety
  • Handling Issues
  • House Training

  • How Dogs Communicate
  • Jumping
  • Leash Pulling
  • Mouthy Behavior
  • Problem Barking
  • Recalls (“Come!”)
  • Resource Guarding
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Stranger Issues
  • Therapy Dog Work
  • Welcoming a New Dog
  • Welcoming a New Puppy

Interested a workshop topic? Please complete our class interest form to be notified when workshops are enrolling.

Need help now? Our pet behavior helpline and resource library is here for you!

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