Dog Training Classes
The East Bay SPCA Dog Training Program is designed to enrich the bond between you and your companion through positive reinforcement methods. We offer dog training classes at both our Oakland and Dublin locations.
Types of Classes
Beginner classes are the perfect place for you and your dog to start achieving your training goals. These classes are designed to help your dog learn the fundamentals of good manners. Also, beginner classes are a great way to improve communication and enhance the bond between you and your dog. We have beginner classes for pups and dogs of all ages.
Our advanced classes are geared toward those who have previously taken classes, or for human-dog teams who are looking to achieve that next level of behavior and training greatness!
Our specialty classes are designed to be fun, informative, and really take your behavior and training to the next level!
In these sessions, one of our trainers will observe and work closely with you and your dog, and make recommendations for training and management plans.
Carol Wilson, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CNWI
Carol Wilson discovered the depth of human-canine bond that can be developed through training and shared adventures when she entered the world of competitive obedience over thirty years ago. She has been training and playing with her own dogs in various companion animal activities ever since. After leaving a career in corporate marketing, Carol chose to spend time pursuing her passion for encouraging the bond between humans and their dogs. She graduated from the Canine Behavior Academy I & 2, and with distinction from the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior. She is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed and a NACSW Certified Nose Work Instructor. As a believer in life-long learning, Carol continues to pursue additional educational opportunities in all aspects of training and learning theory. Carol has experience in competitive obedience, rally, nose work, agility and parkour. She continues to participate in a variety of canine activities with her two best friends, Border Collie-mix Maya and terrier-mix Dodge. Carol offers private behavior and nose work training through her own business, Rewarding Results, LLC.
Jane Orr, MS, CTBC
Jane is a group class instructor at our Oakland location. She is a graduate of the Dog Training Internship Academy’s Certificate of Training and Behavior Consultation program, which is run by Janis Bradley, former Director for the prestigious SF SPCA Dog Training Academy. Jane’s passion for animals started at an early age. She grew up around rescue dogs (plus cats, rats, rabbits, and hamsters) and as a teenager she volunteered at animal shelters eventually getting a job with the RSPCA. Since moving to the SF Bay Area she has volunteered with the SF SPCA, Muttville, Hopalong Animal Rescue and Nor-Cal Family Dog Rescue. She currently lives in Oakland with her rescue Chihuahua mix Thomas. Her aim through training is to reduce stress in the lives of dogs and their parents. Through the use of positive and motivational training techniques she achieves sustainable results and strong canine-human bonds.
We offer two convenient locations for our dog training classes
East Bay SPCA Oakland Adoption Center: 8323 Baldwin Street
East Bay SPCA Dublin Adoption Center: 4651 Gleason Drive
If the minimum enrollment for a class is not met 2 days before the class, the class will be cancelled. We will contact enrolled participants 2 days before the first session to notify of the cancellation. Paid participants will have the option of enrolling in an alternative class, receiving credit toward a future class, or receiving a full refund.
We will refund your class fee if you cancel in writing 3 days before the class starts. Enrollments within 3 days of the class are not eligible for refunds for any reason. If you adopt from us and return the dog, your fees are not refundable for any reason.
Families with Dogs
Because having and training a dog is a family affair, we encourage family members and kids to come to class with the handler. However, it is important that some guidelines be followed with regard to children.
Children must under parental control at all times. Please explain to your children that not all dogs are friendly towards children and therefore they should obtain the owner’s permission before approaching another dog. Handlers must be at least 13 years of age.
We use reward based, force free training methods and do not allow prong collars or choke collars in our training classes.
Training Class FAQs
If your dog is often too nervous in a public setting to be able to focus on you or care about treats, a class may be too overwhelming and thus prevent your dog from learning. A private training session may be recommended to give you tools to build your dog’s confidence.
Classes are a great way to build confidence in the presence of other people and dogs! The classes offered by the East Bay SPCA focus on individual training between you and your dog. Classes are arranged so there is space between each dog to minimize the distractions. If you have specific concerns regarding your dog’s behavior around other dogs, we recommend a private training session.
The East Bay SPCA does not test or certify dogs to be service dogs. A Service Dog is “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” Service dogs that perform these necessary functions are required by law to be permitted in all public places. There are organizations that train and certify the dog, specific for the disability (such as Guide Dogs for the Blind in Santa Rosa trains guide dogs, Canine Companions train dogs for people who use wheelchairs, etc).
A Therapy Dog is different in that a dog visits rest homes, hospitals, etc. simply for companionship and socializing. This process could be first started with our Canine Good Citizen course, which includes testing on the last day. Therapy Dogs are not required to be allowed in public places.
We definitely encourage family members to be involved in the training process for your four legged family member. However, class may not be appropriate for very young children. Please review our Class Policies.
If your child is at least 12 years of age and excited to be the primary trainer for your family dog, absolutely! If you are unsure whether taking the class is right for your teenage son or daughter, we would recommend at least attending the first class with him or her, where we review basic information and requirements for the class.
If you are missing a class that you know about in advance please let your instructor know so you can get the scoop on what you will be missing. If you have to miss a class due to unexpected circumstances, you can contact your instructor via email to see what you have missed before the next class.
Since our class start dates are scattered throughout each month to offer a variety of start times, it is unlikely you will be able to make up your class in sequence. We apologize in advance for that!
We are dedicated to the safety of all the dogs that attend classes, therefore we ask you to have at least 2 DH2PP vaccines before coming into any class. This shot should include Distemper and Parvo. We encourage a Bordetella shot for puppies, but it is not a requirement. For adult dogs we also ask that your rabies vaccination be up to date. Please bring in your vaccination papers to your first class.
- Copy of your dog’s Vaccinations
- Copy of your confirmation email
- Standard, Flat Collar (no choke or prong collars)
- 4’ or 6’ Leash
- Yummy Treats
- Kong, Bully Stick or Greenie – these will serve as a “doggie pacifier” for the many times in class when you wish to encourage quiet behavior
- Dog’s mat
Food is a popular motivator for most dogs which is why we prefer this for training. We want to make training fun and exciting to the dog. The more enticing the motivator the most inclined the dog will perform the behavior. We also use food to lure the dog into position, such as a sit or a down. This way we are not making them sit instead we are showing them what we want with the food.
We use food in the beginning of training to communicate what exactly we want and if the behavior gets reinforced many of times with good things for the dog the behavior is more likely to happen again. If you were to go to work and get a raise for doing a great job in the office you would be more inclined to keep it up. That is the way we can look at food as a motivator to increase wanted behavior. Eventually once your dog “gets” the behavior, you can start to wean he or she off the food and have the reinforcer coming at random to keep the dog guessing.
The best kind of food as a reinforcer is soft, small easy to chew bits so the dog can eat it fast and you can continue training. The dog only needs a small taste of the treat on his or her mouth to be rewarded. Example of high value treats, Natural Balance food logs, and meat, meat based baby food and cheese.
A clicker is a device that marks the behavior the dog has done correctly. For example if you were reinforcing a sit, the click would happen when the dog’s bum hits the floor followed by a treat. It lets the dog know what he or she is being reinforced for and acts as a promise that the reinforcer, ie.treat is coming! We highly recommend using it since it is a fast way to communicate to the dog exactly what behavior you are looking for. Class students receive a clicker at the Orientation of each class.
Have More Questions?
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