Dog Training Classes

We’re committed to providing you and your dog with the tools you need to develop a strong and lasting relationship. All of our instructors teach using humane and effective positive reinforcement techniques. Family members (including well-behaved children) are encouraged to attend our training classes with their dogs!

Our group dog training classes are best suited for pups who are both people- and dog-friendly. If you have concerns about whether one of our course offerings is suitable for your dog, contact our trainers at 412.847.7035 or BGrosch@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.

While on campus, please refrain from using our walking trails as they are designated for our staff/volunteers and canine shelter residents ONLY – thank you for your cooperation!

Vaccination Requirements

For the health and safety of all class participants, both human and canine, please provide an updated vaccination record to attend class (no exceptions).

  • Puppies 16 weeks or younger | Minimum two rounds of DHPP* and age-appropriate vaccinations including rabies – PA state law states that puppies must be vaccinated for rabies between 12-16 weeks.
    • Puppies younger than 12 weeks may not have their rabies vaccination yet, and that’s okay!
  • 5-9 months | three rounds (boosters) of DHPP* and rabies.
  • Older than 9 months | up-to-date on DHPP* and rabies.

Bordetella is strongly recommended for your pup’s best protection, but not required. *distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus vaccination.

Waiver and Policies

Guidelines/Release and Waiver of Liability

Cancellation Policy

If you have questions about any of our course offerings please email AFU@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.

Puppy Training   Adult Dog Training   Dog Sports   Dog Socials

Saturday Morning Behavior Series (human-only)

Cooperative Care: Help Your Dog to be a Willing Participant in Basic Care

Cooperative care involves training an animal to not only tolerate handling, but also to be an active and willing participant in experiences such as proper nail care, dental care, brushing, grooming, cleaning of eyes, ears and more.  We will review what consent is, how to get our dog’s consent and how important it is to respect their choice if they remove consent.

This is a human-only workshop; please leave your canine companion at home!

Date: Saturday, August 10   Register

Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Tuition: $30 per dog family (dog family members 16 years of age or older are welcome to attend!)

Instructors: Rebecca Hilbert, CPDT-KA, FDM, CCDT, MBA

Workshop topics – please check back for future dates!

  • Think and Learn Like Your Dog: How Dogs Learn and Socialize
  • Canine Body Language: Your Dog is Speaking to You – Are You Listening?
  • Unleash the Ways to Your Best Leash Handling Skills
  • Cooperative Care: Help Your Dog To Be a Willing Participant in Basic Care
  • Resource Guarding: It’s MINE!
  • Chaos to Calm: Managing and Helping Your Leash Reactive Dog
  • Mythbusters: Facts & Fiction About Dog
  • Home Alone: Techniques to Manage & Modify Separation Anxiety

Puppy Training

AF 301 – Kinderpuppy

For puppies who have had their 2nd DHP vaccination and are 20 weeks of age or younger. Small breed and/or shy puppies may attend until 24 weeks of age. Puppies must be dog and human friendly and non-reactive.

Puppies may start class as soon as the vaccination requirements are met (please see above “Vaccination Requirements”).

Kinderpuppy classes make learning fun through games and positive reinforcement to help your pup develop into a great companion.  All classes include puppy playtime with the exception of “Puppies Learn through Fun”. Each class focuses in on specific theme which as a whole help train a well-rounded pup and provides socialization with pups and people. Sign up for some or for all of the classes based on your team’s needs.

Tuition: $25 per dog/per class

Instructors: Barb Grosch, CPDT-KA, Hayley Wojtaszek

Kinderpuppy – Basic Manners for Puppies

For puppies who have had their 2nd DHP vaccination and are 20 weeks of age or younger. Small breed and/or shy puppies may attend until 24 weeks of age.  Puppies must be dog and human friendly and non-reactive.

Your puppy will learn basic manners like sit, down, stand and to come when called. We will also practice techniques to discourage jumping.

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.                           

Date: Wednesday, July 10 – Sold Out!

Date: Wednesday, August 7   Register

Time:  6:00-7:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per pup – humans free!

Kinderpuppy – Household Manners for Puppies

For puppies who have had their 2nd DHP vaccination and are 20 weeks of age or younger. Small breed and/or shy puppies may attend until 24 weeks of age. Puppies must be dog and human friendly and non-reactive.

This class focuses on management of common puppy issues like housetraining and puppy nipping.  Useful cues of “drop it”, “leave it” and “wait” will be taught.

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Wednesday, July 17 – Sold Out!

Date: Wednesday, August 14   Register

Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per pup – humans free!

Kinderpuppy – Leash Manners for Puppies

For puppies who have had their 2nd DHP vaccination and are 20 weeks of age or younger. Small breed and/or shy puppies may attend until 24 weeks of age.  Puppies must be dog and human friendly and non-reactive.

This class will focus on social interactions with new people and places.  Skills include how to walk nicely on leash, come when called, greeting new people and dog-dog on leash greetings.

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Wednesday, July 24   Register

Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per pup – humans free!

Kinderpuppy – Fun and Games for Puppies

For puppies who have had their 2nd DHP vaccination and are 20 weeks of age or younger. Small breed and/or shy puppies may attend until 24 weeks of age. Puppies must be dog and human friendly and non-reactive.

Puppies will be introduced to beginner agility obstacles for confidence building. You will also learn about play, scent games and enrichment and how to incorporate play into training and fun with your puppy.

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date:  Wednesday, July 31   Register

Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per pup – humans free!

Intro to Scent Work for Puppies   Entry Level!

For puppies who have had their 2nd DHP vaccination and are SIX MONTHS of AGE OR YOUNGER.  Puppies must be dog and human friendly and non-reactive in a group setting.

In this single session, we’ll introduce you and your puppy to scent work. We will teach your puppy to sniff out food in various containers and search areas.  Scent work is confidence boosting and great socialization for your pup!

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Saturday, August 10   Register

Time:  12:15-1:15 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per dog – humans free!

AF 302 – Puppy Manners

For puppies ages 5 months to 9 months. Basic training for the older puppy will include household manners, manners for interacting with new people and places as well as enrichment activities and brain games for your puppy. Cues to be taught include: sit, down, come, walk nicely on leash, wait politely, drop it and leave it.

Note: this is a five-week class. Please bring your pup to ALL five classes!

Upcoming Session:

Dates: Thursdays, July 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15 – Sold Out!

Time:   6:15-7:15 p.m.

Instructors:  Debbie Thomas, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, Mikayla Francella

Tuition: $125 per pup (humans free!)

Adult Dog Training

AF 304 – Companion Dog Manners

For dogs that are both people and dog-friendly and 9 months or older. 

This first level class gets your dog started with the cues of sit, down, stay, coming when called and loose leash walking. Laying a solid foundation with these skills is the key to living happily with your four-legged friend. As well as good manners, class discussions will give you an understanding of why dogs do the things they do to and how to build a strong relationship with your dog.

Note:  this is a five-week class. Please bring your dog to ALL five classes!

Upcoming Session:

Dates: Thursdays, July 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15 – Sold Out!

Time:   7:30-8:30 p.m.

Instructors:  Debbie Thomas, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, Mikayla Francella

Tuition: $125 per pup (humans free!)

AF 309 Bashful Buddies, Level One 

This class is targeted for shy, non-reactive dogs 6 months of age or older.  Please see below information on pre-requisite requirement of phone consultation.

In this class, we will explore a variety of exercises to build confidence in your shy/fearful dog.  We will include meeting new people, confidence in new situations and making positive associations with vet visits and grooming activities.  This is a six-week class – please bring your dog to ALL six classes!

Pre-req:  phone consultation to determine if this class is a good fit for your dog and training goals.

Please contact Donna at AFU@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org to inquire about a phone consultation; please provide a phone number contact.

Note: If your fearful dog reacts to new people, dogs or situations with barking, lunging or aggressive behavior, individual behavior modification is needed prior to attending a group class.  Please contact us at AFU@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org for more information and referrals.

Dates: Tuesdays, Please check back for a fall class!

Time:  6:00-7:00 p.m.

AF 310 Bashful Buddies, Level Two 

For dogs and their families who have completed Bashful Buddies Level One.

Continue to learn skills for meeting new people and encountering new situations.  We will include Enrichment, Scent Work and Agility activities for fun and confidence building..  This is a six-week class – please bring your dog to ALL six classes!

Dates: Tuesdays, Please check back for a fall class!

Time:  7:15-8:15 p.m.

Tuition: $165 per dog (humans free!)

Instructors:  Debbie Thomas, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, Hayley Wojtaszek

Training Fun – Single Sessions

Instructors: Lisa Bartel, CPDT-KA, DN-CET, CSAP-BC, Gayle Bair, CPDT-KA, Missy Marzolf

File Not Fear: Teach Your Dog to Use a Scratch Board   New Offering!

For dogs 8 months and older 

In this class you will learn how to teach your dog to file their own nails using a scratch board.

Spots available for participating human/dog teams – friendly, confident dogs will do best.

Spots available for observing human only/no dog for those with reactive or fearful dogs, which should be left at home as this class would not be appropriate.

Date:   Saturday, June 22 – registration closed

Time:    10:30-11:30 a.m.

Tuition:  $25 per human/dog team; $15 human only/no dog

Instructor: Rebecca Hilbert, CPDT-KA, FDM, CCDT, MBA

Canine Scent Work!

AF 411 – The Nose Knows, Level One

For dogs 6 months and older that are both people and dog friendly. Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

Looking for sport that can be done indoors with dogs of all ages?  Want to exercise your dog mentally and physically? Come and find a fun way to channel your dog’s natural talent for sniffing!  Scent games are a great way to stimulate your dog while working together as a team. Watch and learn as your dog detects an odor and hunts to locate its source.  Have a good time while building skills through new search activities each week. 

Upcoming Session:

Dates:  Sundays, Please check back for a future class!

Time:  6:30- 7:30 p.m.

Instructors:  Gayle Bair, CPDT-KA, Missy Marzolf

Tuition:  $105 per dog (humans free!)

AF 412 – The Nose Knows Continues, Level Two

For dogs 6 months and older who have completed The Nose Knows 1 classes (or equivalent) and are both people and dog friendly.  Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

Have fun and build on your scent work foundation skills with challenging new sniffing activities each week.  You and your dog will work as a team doing container, exterior, interior and vehicle searches to locate target odors.  

Current Session:

Dates:  Tuesdays, July 9, 16, 23, 30 – Sold Out!

Time: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Instructors: Marcy Fenell, CPDT-KA, Lisa Bartel, CPDT-KA, DN-CET, CSAP-BC

Tuition:  $105 per dog (humans free!)

Dates:  SundaysPlease check back for a future class!

Time:  6:30- 7:30 p.m.

Instructors: Gayle Bair, CPDT-KA, Missy Marzolf

The Nose Knows – Single Sessions

Instructors: Marcy Fenell, CPDT-KA | Lisa Bartel, CPDT-KA, DN-CET, CSAP-BC | 

Gayle Bair, CPDT-KA

Distractions or Distracted?!

For dogs 6 months and older who have completed The Nose Knows 1 classes (or equivalent) and are both people and dog friendly.  Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

Work on searching through distractions including food, toys and maybe even some noise.

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Sunday, July 28   Register

Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per dog – humans free!

Fun and Games

For dogs 6 months and older who have completed The Nose Knows 1 classes (or equivalent) and are both people and dog friendly.  Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

Come learn the theory behind playing games in nose work . . . we promise it’ll be more fun than school!

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Sunday, July 7 – registration closed

Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per dog – humans free!

Building Observation Skills

For dogs 6 months and older who have completed The Nose Knows 1 classes (or equivalent) and are both people and dog friendly.  Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

Are you able to tell when your dog first picks up odor?  Do you recognize the behavior changes that occur when your dog is trying to pinpoint the source?  This class will work on your observation skills, watching your own dog and other teams conduct searches.

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Sunday, July 14 – registration closed

Time:  12:00-1:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per dog – humans free!

Primary School Search Games   Entry Level!

For dogs SIX MONTHS of AGE OR OLDER who are both people and dog friendly.  Dogs should be comfortable and non-reactive in a group class setting.

This is an entry level class with no prior scent work experience required.

Interested in learning more about the game of scent work?  Join us with your dog to search for hidden food (primary scent).  These games will be mentally challenging for your dog while searching various set-ups that mimic something you would find in scent work. Your dog will be tired and enriched after using their nose to complete all the fun sniffy challenges that come their way!

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Saturday, July 20   Register

Time:  12:15-1:15 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per dog – humans free!

Intro to Scent Work for Puppies   Entry Level!

For puppies who have had their 2nd DHP vaccination and are SIX MONTHS of AGE OR YOUNGER.  Puppies must be dog and human friendly and non-reactive in a group setting.

In this single session, we’ll introduce you and your puppy to scent work. We will teach your puppy to sniff out food in various containers and search areas.  Scent work is confidence boosting and great socialization for your pup!

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Saturday, August 10   Register

Time:  12:15-1:15 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per dog – humans free!

May the Source be With You

For dogs 6 months and older who have completed The Nose Knows 1 classes (or equivalent) and are both people and dog friendly.  Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

Focus on working with your dog to pinpoint the exact odor location.  In this class, we will practice with your dog going to the Source and ignoring the fringing odor.  This class will be fun – hope you are up for the challenge!

Note:  advance registration required; no walk-ins permitted.

Date: Sunday, August 11   Register

Time:  12:00-1:00 p.m.

Tuition: $25 per dog – humans free!

 

C-WAGS Sanctioned 2024 Summer Scent League

Premium

Dates: Please check back for future league play!

Time:  Check-in 5:00 p.m.  First dog on line 5:15 p.m.

Registration is now closed for this event.

NOTE:

  • This is not a beginners game (prior nose work required) and dogs should be on all odors.
  • Teams must be registered with C-WAGS before registering for league.
  • No resets will be offered
  • Limited to ten teams per run
  • Cost is $20 per run, per dog

Tuition: $20 per dog, per run

Judges:  Marcy Fenell, Maribeth Hook, Tracey Miller, Susan Wetherell

Trial Secretary:  Lisa Bartel

Advocates: Marcy Fenell, Maribeth Hook, Tracey Miller, Lisa Bartel

Dog Sports for Fun!

AF 410 – Beginners Agility for Fun, Level One!

For dogs 1 year or older that are both people and dog friendly. Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

This course will help the dog and handler to build a strong relationship based on positive reinforcement training and fun!  A dog with basic obedience skills will be comfortable in this class. Obstacles introduced in this beginning course will include jumps, tire jump, tunnel, dog walk, a- frame and pause table.    Instructors: Elaine Mayowski, Colleen Woods

Current Session:

Dates: Wednesdays, July 10, 17, 24, 31, August 7, 14 – registration closed

Note: Rain date is August 21

Time: 6:15-7:15 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Location:  Lower large outdoor grass play yard

Tuition:  $150.00 per dog (humans free!)

AF 411 – Beginners Agility for Fun, Level Two!   

For dogs 1 year or older that are both people and dog friendly. Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

Pre-req: for dogs who have completed Agility for Fun, Level One at Animal Friends or a basic agility class at another training facility.    

Continue the agility fun with level two!  This session covers the following:  stays on start line, different crosses (blind, tandem, rear), crossing behind obstacles, distance work and solid weave poles. This course will help the dog and handler to build a strong relationship based on positive reinforcement training and fun!  A dog with basic obedience skills will be comfortable in this class.  Instructors: Elaine Mayowski, Colleen Woods

Current Session:

Dates: Wednesdays, July 10, 17, 24, 31, August 7, 14 – registration closed

Note: Rain date is August 21

Time: 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Location:  Lower large outdoor grass play yard

Tuition:  $150.00 per dog (humans free!)

AF 413 – Rodeo Dog 

For dogs 6 months or older that are both people and dog friendly. Dogs should be comfortable and non- reactive in a group class setting.

The purpose of Rodeo Dog is to form a bond (teamwork) with your dog and compete in a safe environment.  The dog enjoys moving around barrels and the owners find it challenging to decide the best way to work the dog.  The team starts at an easy level and works their way to harder and more challenging levels. 

Rodeo Dog results in rounded and conditioned dogs.  It demonstrates training and good teamwork. Rodeo Dog does not discriminate against any dog or handler because of a disability, accommodations can be made.  Good team work can develop with any dog and handler team. Instructors: Elaine Mayowski and Colleen Woods.

Date: Wednesday, August 28   Register

Time:  6:30-8:00 p.m.   

Location:  Lower grassy play yard

Tuition:  $25 per dog (humans free!)

Hiking Hounds

Grab a leash and hit the trail!  Join us for a  wooded walk to enjoy the wonder of winter!   A Hiking Hounds favorite! Hiking is a great way to exercise, relieve stress, and strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Come out and explore a different park each month with your best friend.  Dogs and people must be in condition to hike up to three miles on unpaved trails. You will receive details the week prior to the scheduled hike. Hike Leader:  Gayle Bair, CPDT-KA

Location:  Sunrise Stroll Crouse Run Nature Reserve

Join us for a summer hike along part of the Rachel Carson trail through beautiful Crouse Run Nature Reserve in Allison Park.  Let’s enjoy the early morning peace of this park with our canine companions.  Be sure to wear water shoes or boots as we could encounter creek crossings.  Coffee, conversation and pastries will be shared after the hike!

Difficulty Level: MEDIUM due to a few creek crossings and little hills.

Date:  Sunday, July 14 – Sold Out!

Time:  8:00-9:30 a.m.

Tuition: $15

Please note: maximum two dogs per handler.