Welcome Back to Group Classes at Willamette Humane Society

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By Nichole Myers-Youngquist, CPDT-KA, WHS Behavior & Training Instructor

They’re back! Group classes are resuming in March, and we are excited. We have three new classes, and we’ve extended some of our weekly manners courses. 

Sign up for these classes on our website. But hurry! Our classes can fill up, and you won’t want to miss out. 

What’s New?

Dog Parkour

Dog Parkour combines many elements of human parkour and various dog sports in a fun and unique way! 

This exciting, non-competitive training course introduces dogs to fun new obstacles and challenges, including jumps and platforms, for climbing and balancing. Parkour courses enhance body awareness, increase range of motion and balance, and build confidence. You can apply all these aspects to other canine sports. 

Class starts Wednesday, March 16, at 6:45 pm. Visit our website to enroll.

AKC Novice Trick Dog

Do you and your dog love to wow your friends and family with an arsenal of tricks? You and your dog are perfectly primed to earn AKC Trick Dog titles!

For the AKC Novice Trick Dog (TKN), your dog performs ten skills from the Novice list. If your dog already has a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title, you can do five tricks for a Novice title.

In our course, you will learn how to teach your dog the following ten tricks:

  • Crawl
  • Get in a box
  • High Five
  • Hoop
  • Paws up
  • Push up
  • Shake
  • Sit in a box
  • Spin & Twist (aka Turn)
  • Touch And many bonus tricks!

Once you’ve completed the four-week course, you and your dog will be ready to earn an AKC Novice Trick Dog title

You will need to schedule a separate private lesson for the test with the instructor, an AKC Trick Dog Evaluator.

Class starts Wednesday, March 24, at 5:30 pm. Visit our website to enroll.

Smart Conversations

Many common behavior problems can be prevented or minimized by proper foundation training. This six-week class gives you games and exercises to help you engage and connect with your dog. 

The techniques and skills you learn will strengthen your dog’s ability to relax and focus, even in stimulating or stressful environments. We will give you the tools to read, handle, and engage with your dog to become a more unified team.

We especially recommend Smart Conversations for dogs that are:

  • Uncomfortable or unable to work around other dogs
  • Reactive or easily aroused
  • Anxious or stressed
  • Unable to control their impulses when excited

Class starts Tuesday, March 9, at 6:45 pm. Visit our website to enroll.

Manners for Puppies

Best Beginnings 

This class is for puppies to enroll at ages eight to 16 weeks. We’ve designed it to optimize your puppy’s early sensitive period of development and socialization.

Using reward-based methods, we cover basic manners during this six-week course, but we also thoroughly explore issues beyond obedience training. You and your puppy will learn skills like vet and grooming handling, confidence building through gradual introductions, walking nicely on a leash, polite greetings, and more. We will also teach you about preventative management and enrichment so that your puppy is thriving every day, not just every training session.  

 Classes are held Saturday mornings at 10:00 am or Sunday mornings at 9:30 am. Visit our website to enroll.

Tweens & Teens

Designed for puppies four months old through nine months of age, Tweens and Teens will give you a set of fun, practical skills for your tenacious and sometimes trying teenagers. Whether you know that stage well and want to prepare, or it’s hit you like a freight train, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll help you curb the jumping, the mouthing, the thievery, and more, with enrichment, management, and training plans. Adolescent dogs are creative, but we can outsmart them!

This course is excellent for graduates of Best Beginnings or newcomers to our puppy training program. Join us!

Classes start Saturday, March 6, at 1:30 pm or Monday, March 15, at 5:30 pm. Visit our website to enroll.

Manners For All Dogs

Life Skills Series

We’ve extended our Life Skills Level 1 manners course by two weeks! More manners for your money! The first week of your class is an orientation for humans only. With our small class sizes, you will receive more attention from our trainers for questions and troubleshooting.

Level 1: Basic Smart Start

In this course, you’ll learn how to get your dog to focus, calm down, and think straight. You’ll learn strategies for managing challenging behavior with the support of a certified trainer. You’ll learn all the basics like sit, down, leash manners, and more.

Our Basic Smart Start class is a great place to begin your training adventure. The course includes homework for daily practice. 

Level 1: Next Smart Start

You’ve graduated from our Tweens & Teens course. Congratulations! You’re moving on up. In this next-level obedience course, you and your dog will learn even more about developing recall, stay, and default sits. We will cover preventative management of pesky unwanted behaviors like reactivity, pulling on a leash, and greeting people impolitely.

Level 2: Advanced Smart Start

Whether your family is just you and the dog, or you’ve got a pack of kids to consider, this basic obedience class will help you instill polite household manners your dog needs. You’ll learn loose leash walking, polite greetings, uninterrupted stay, off-leash recalls, and more. Plus, you’ll get weekly homework and instructions to practice at home.

Level 3: Public Smart Start

Does your dog jump all over people when out and about? Are you embarrassed to take your dog for walks? Would you like to have a well-mannered friend who can go with you to enjoy public venues confidently? This class is just right for you.

It’s training on-the-road, exploring canine-friendly venues around Salem with your classmates and their dogs. Training your dog for polite public behavior was never more fun!

Public Smart Start is a seasonal outdoor course offered in late spring, summer, and early fall.

Class starts Sunday, March 28, at 12 pm. Visit our website to enroll.

You can register for our Life Skills Package and save a bundle! Contact us at behavior@whs4pets.org for more information.

Specialty Class

AKC Canine Good Citizen Preparation

The AKC Canine Good Citizen is a 10-skill skill training program that’s open to all dogs—purebred and mixed breed. Focusing on basic manners and obedience, this class fosters responsible ownership values, strengthening the bond between you and your dog at home and out in the community.

This course walks you through what is needed to get an AKC CGC Title for your dog. It helps pet parents master the `10 test skills, explains the forms, and lays the foundation for other AKC sports and activities like obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events.

Once you’ve completed the course, you and your dog will be ready to take the AKC CGC exam. You will need to schedule a separate private lesson for the test with the instructor, an AKC CGC Evaluator.

Adopted Dog Class


Congratulations on adopting from your local rescue or shelter! We are excited to continue to help you on your journey to have the best pet ever by offering you this course.

You’ll learn how to enrich your dog’s daily life, manage your dog’s environment to prevent unwanted behavior while training the behaviors you do want. 

Taught by one of our certified trainers, you’ll go over things like how to understand your dog’s silent (and sometimes not-so-silent) conversations so that the whole family stays safe and happy. We’ll also help you through your dog’s transition into your family. You’ll both have fun in the process, too.

We offer this class at an affordable price as a service to adopters. As a bonus for WHS adopters, if you sign up at the time of adoption, you get $5 off.

Class starts Thursday, March 18, at 5:30 pm. Visit our website to enroll.

Private Training

We still offer private training services. For more information, read the previous month’s blog.

Dogs who display aggression towards other dogs or humans are not appropriate for our group classes. Please email us at behavior@whs4pets.org to schedule a private session to improve your dog’s behavior.

Face masks and social distancing are required in all of our group classes.

Enroll in any of the above options on our website.

Thank you for reading, and, as always, practice patience.