Public Training Program

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs:

If you’ve never taken a class before and you want to work on basic manners with your dog, please take the appropriate level 1 class based on your dog’s age – Puppy Manners 1Adolescent Manners 1Adult Manners 1 or Small Adult Manners 1.  If you think your dog is too advanced for a Level 1 class, feel free to give us a call to discuss joining a Level 2 class.  Generally, even if your dog can perform some basic cues like Sit, Down, Stay, and Come in the comfort of your own home, it’s good to think carefully about whether you think she can perform those same behaviors in a novel environment, surrounded by several other unfamiliar dogs and people.  If you think that might be a challenge for your pup, then we do recommend solidifying those behaviors in a Level 1 class.  If you think she’s got those behaviors down in any environment, please feel free to sign up for Level 2.

If you’ve caught the training bug, that’s great – we’ve got lots of options for level 2 and specialty classes!  After graduating from one of our Level 1 classes, you can either go to that class’s Level 2 version for work on more advanced manners, or you can try some of our specialty classes that require a Level 1 graduation, such as Canine Good Citizen Prep, Recall, Tricks, and more.

The easiest and fastest way to sign up for a class is online – simply visit the webpage for the class you’re interested in via the list at sfpsca.org/training, find a series that has spaces available and works for your schedule, and click the red link to “register now”. You’ll need to create a very quick login and password for our online system, and then answer some basic questions about you and your dog, make payment via credit/debit card, and confirm your purchase.  You’ll then receive a confirmation email with all the details you’ll need to know about your upcoming class.

You may also register in person at either of our Adoption Centers, or over the phone by calling 415-522-3509.

The SF SPCA offers cancellation with full refund as long as we are notified at least 48 hours prior to the class series beginning.

If, within the first three classes of a series, a dog is unable to attend the remainder of the series due to a canine injury or illness, you may receive a 50% credit toward a future class. No credits, transfers or refunds will be provided due to owner health issues or scheduling conflicts or any other reason after a class series has begun. 

Playgroup refunds or transfers are not available with less than 24 hours notice for any reason.

For adopters who are required to provide proof of class registration at San Francisco Animal Care and Control in order to adopt, no refunds will be provided.

Unfortunately, online self-cancellation is not a functionality that we currently have available. If you’d like to cancel or reschedule a program that you’re signed up for, please just email us at dogtraining@sfspca.org, or call 415-522-3509.

We can’t tell you for sure when a class is coming back again, (we usually schedule about 1 – 2 months in advance) but we are happy to add your email address to that class’s notification list and let you know the next time we post a session!  Just email us at dogtraining@sfspca.org, let us know which class you’d like to be notified about, and we’ll add you to the list!

We require:

  • Proof of current rabies for all classes other than Puppy Manners and Adolescent Manners
  • Proof of current DHLPP/DH2PP vaccine for all adult classes
  • Proof of at least 2 in the series of DHLPP/DH2PP vaccines for puppy and adolescent classes and playgroups

Bordatella, leptospirosis and canine flu vaccine are not required.

Please note – our trainers do not have access to SF SPCA hospital records!  Please bring proof of vaccination to the first week of every class – even if you’ve showed them before for another program. Paper records or online records displayed on a smartphone are fine.

We do not offer group training classes with dogs at our Pacific Heights Campus – we do not have a large enough space to safely and effectively accommodate a group dog training class at that location.  All group dog training classes take place at our Mission Campus, in one of our three indoor dog training spaces.

Fees are per dog.  Any and all human members of the household are welcome to accompany their dog to class.  

We do not offer makeup classes.  We cannot accommodate you and your dog attending a different class as a makeup session.  Clients may audit (attend without their dog) another instructor’s equivalent week of the class, if schedules permit and if pre-arranged via the Training Programs Manager.  Please email us at dogtraining@sfspca.org for arrangements.

All dogs adopted from any 501©3 rescue group or shelter get $25 off the regular price of a class.  You’ll be asked about where you got your dog during online registration, and the discount will be applied there.  Beyond that, we do not have the ability to offer any special discounts or scholarships for our group dog training classes. 

We do not offer any group classes in which adult dogs interact with each other.  Our adult dog training classes are all about building the bond and communication system between you and your dog. If your training goals are related to dog-dog interactions, then we recommend checking out our free humans-only Dog-Dog Social Behavior Seminar, and working with a private trainer or behavior specialist to assess your dog’s social skills and needs.

Yes!  For private training here at the SF SPCA on basic obedience skills and issues, please visit our Private Dog Training page and submit an online questionnaire.  If you need help with a serious behavior concern such as aggression or anxiety, we will instead recommend booking with the SF SPCA’s Behavior Specialty Clinic.  If you are looking for a trainer who can come to your home, check out our referral list of external trainers.

Keep coming to class!  We can help you by setting up visual barriers around your dog in the classroom so he can’t see the other dogs in class, and give you tips on helping your dog settle and focus on you.  That said, it is true that some dogs are simply not comfortable in the classroom environment, and are too stressed or wound up to be able to learn in that setting.  That’s fine!  If that is the case, we will ask you to withdraw from class and offer you other options for getting the training help you need.

Each dog must have its own adult human handler in order to attend class.  Juggling two dogs on two leashes in a classroom would not allow you to successfully control and work enough with each dog to get the desired results.  If you don’t have another adult human handler that can attend with you, we recommend taking your dogs to consecutive classes, instead of the same class.  

Free parking is available along Alabama Street, first come first served.  Florida Street also has free street parking. 

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