Frequently asked questions

What vaccinations does my puppy need to start classes?

I require proof of Bordatella vaccination for all group classes and socialization, in addition your puppy needs to be up to date with all age appropriate vaccinations recommended by your veterinarian. This doesn't mean they have to have completed all their vaccinations though! Early learning and socialization is critical for behavioral development.

At what age should I start my puppy in training classes?

Your puppy should have a week or so in your home to acclimate to their new surroundings prior to starting class. Generally the younger they are the better, but some puppies may need an extra week or so if they are particularly shy or fearful.

When does your next session of __________ class begin?

Most of my classes are rolling admission classes. This means that if there is room in the class you may begin as soon as you'd like. My maximum class size is 6.

What classes do you offer and how do I register?

My class listings and registration link are listed on my 'services' pages, just scroll down until you get to the group classes heading.

Do you offer classes on evenings or weekends?

At this time all of our class offereings and private appointments are Monday - Friday between 8am and 4pm. There are several qualified trainers in the area who do offer eveing and weekend class, you can find a listing of Certified Trainers at

What will I need for class?

We utilize only positive methods for training at Proper Paws, so no special equipment is required. Here is what we recommend you bring. - Lot's of good yummy treats and/or the dog's kibble. - A bag, pocket, fanny pack or bait bag to make those treats easy to get to. - A plane collar and 6 foot leash. (please, no extendable leashes or prong, choke or ecollars) - A copy of your vaccination record (1st class only).

I've been told that I shouldn't take my dog out to meet other dogs until their vaccinations are complete, does that mean I should wait until the dog has it's rabies shots to come to class?

NO! I have consulted with many Veterinarians as well as Behaviorists and the 'best practice' thinking in the industry now is that early puppy socialization is critical to the proper development in puppies. This does NOT mean you should take your dog to the dog park, but does mean that during the socialization phase of puppy development (between 4 and 14 WEEKS) that puppies should be carefully exposed to as many new environments as possible including supervised play with other puppies of similar age, size and play style. The best independent reference on this topic is from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, who state, "The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life. During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and animals, and experiences. Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. Behavioral problems are the greatest Veterinarians specializing in behavior recommend that owners take advantage of every safe opportunity to expose young puppies to the great variety of stimuli that they will experience in their lives. Enrolling in puppy classes prior to three months of age can be an excellent means of improving training, strengthening the human-animal bond, and socializing puppies in an environment where risk of illness can be minimized. without causing over- stimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated. "

My puppy is over 6 months but hasn't had any formal training, what class should I sign up for?

Periodically I offer Beginner Obedience classes for puppies between 6-12 months of age, for those dogs that are comfortable around other dogs and people. Often however, puppies over 6 months have learned quite a few behaviors already, but they probably aren't ready for the Graduate Puppy class yet. These 'tweener' pups may do best with a few private lessons first to get them up to speed in the basic behaviors (sit, down, stay, wait, watch, touch, come and leash work) before we matriculate them into a group class.

I have an older rescue puppy/dog, what class is right for them?

This is a hard question to answer with a blanket statement as it often depends on the dog. As with older puppies though, the first step is to get the basic behaviors up to speed and since older rescues often come with behaviors or habits that may need to be addressed I do recommend private lessons first. The package of 5 private lessons at the training center, get's the dog used to working in an unfamiliar area, allows us to build a customized training plan that fits your dog and gives you the opportunity to build a working relationship with the dog without the distractions of other dogs around.