Behavior & Training

How can I prepare for Behavior & Training Class?

Before You Get to Class

  • Do not feed your dog breakfast on class day.  If you are taking an evening class, feed only half of their breakfast to be sure that your dog is hungry at class time.

 What To Bring To Class

  • Training Treats—but not just any treats!

o   Ratings of 8-10:  Have your dog sample 5-6 different types of treats in a mildly distracting setting. Rate the treats from 1-10 depending on how much your dog likes them.  Keeping them focused in class will require treats that rate no lower than 8.

o   They should be soft so they can be eaten quickly.

o   They should be cut into tiny pieces so they are ready to use and your dog doesn’t fill up too fast.

o   Bring a few types as they will get bored of the same flavor after a while.

  • Treat Pouch to hold treats—it is important to be able to access them easily and quickly
  • Blanket or Mat—for your dog to lie on. Please do not bring large stuffing-filled dog beds.
  • Puppy Pacifier—the most effective pacifier is usually a Kong, pre-stuffed with your dog’s favorite filling. Other pacifiers may work as well, but it must be tasty enough to hold your dog’s attention all by itself.
  • Good Quality Leash—4 feet is best, but 6 feet is acceptable. Retractable leashes are not permitted.
  • Flat Collar with identification tags (no choke chains, prong-collars, etc.)
  • Front-Clip Harness—optional  (must be in addition to the collar; if you are unsure how to fit the front-clip harness, bring it to class and we’ll help you)
  • Appropriate Footwear—no flip-flops or shoes that fall off easily. If taking puppy classes, no shorts as jumpy puppies have very sharp toenails.
  • Vaccination Records (if not already shown)


What to do when you get to class

  • Please don’t enter the classroom more than 10 minutes before your class time.  We may be using the room for other classes or activities before your class begins.
  • Before you get out of the car, make sure your treats are ready to go and easily accessible.  You will want to have them ready as soon as you enter the classroom.
  • Go to a “station” where there are chairs and get your treats ready.
  • Keep your dog at your “station” area, away from the other dogs.
  • If your dog is barking, give him your puppy pacifier to help him stay quiet.
  • To stay attentive to your dog and out of respect for your classmates, please silence your cell phone and refrain from using it during class.

Questions or concerns?  Call 503-585-5900 ext. 326

Contact the Trainer

How to get to Behavior & Training Class

 “Dog Smart” and “Surviving Puppyhood” classes are held in the Education Center

  • The Education Center is located in the lobby area.  Please enter through the front door and look for the Education Center across the lobby.
  • On Wednesdays, the shelter is closed.  For Owner Education classes held on Wednesdays, please wait outside the front door.  Students will be let in the front door shortly before the class begins.

Classes that include your dog take place in the Canine Classroom

  • Drive through the main entrance and park in the parking lot. (Either in front of the shelter, or in the unmarked lot to the left.)
  • Follow the asphalt path to the back of the shelter, go up the steps and into the room marked “Canine Classroom” (door on the right).

How to Get to Class

What websites do you recommend for dog behavior and training tips?

Our experienced team of dog training volunteers recommend the following websites and blogs f or dog behavior and training.

Would you like hands-on training and professional guidance to train your dog or puppy?

Take a Behavior & Training Class


Do you give pet behavior advice?

If you have a specific question or behavioral issue with your pet you’d like to discuss, call or email our Behavior Helpline.

We can often point pet owners in the right direction, solve minor issues, and even prevent a pet from being surrendered due to their behaviors in some instances.

The Helpline is checked regularly and messages will be returned by a behavior professional as soon as possible.

When contacting the Behavior Helpline, please include the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your phone number
  • The best time to return your call
  • Type of animal (cat, dog, other)
  • How long you’ve had the animal
  • A brief summary of the problem or question

Call (503) 585-5900, ext. 318

How to Teach Your Dog to Come When Called

Willamette Humane Society’s Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Annie Ingersoll, demonstrates how to each your dog to come when called.

[vimeo id=”86209852″ align=”center” mode=”normal” aspect_ratio=”16:9″ maxwidth=”900″]

Did you find this video helpful?

Take a Behavior & Training Class

I have taken WHS classes in the past. Do those classes count as pre-requisites?

Yes.  If you have taken “Intro to Training” or “Understanding Your Dog” in the past, you do not need to take the “Dog Smart” class.  If you have taken Dog 101, you may take ANY of the classes currently offered at WHS.

How to Teach Your Dog to Lay Down

Willamette Humane Society’s Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Annie Ingersoll, demonstrates how to each your dog to lay down.

[vimeo id=”86196225″ align=”center” mode=”normal” aspect_ratio=”16:9″ maxwidth=”900″]

Did you find this video helpful?

Take a Behavior & Training Class

Can I adopt more than one pet at a time from WHS?

Yes. WHS allows more than one adoption for cats, kittens and adult dogs. We may also encourage two pets to be adopted together, if they come into the shelter as a bonded pair.

WHS does not allow people to adopt two puppies from the same litter, and strongly discourages adopting two unrelated puppies at the same time. The puppies will tend to bond strongly to each other and not to their human companions. Also, because of the amount of work and energy it takes to train one puppy, training two at the same time is likely to be too challenging for all but the most experienced puppy raisers.