Behavioral Training for Dogs

Check out our current class schedule.

Why take obedience classes?

  • Provide a solid foundation for your dog’s growth and development. Classes teach dogs how to interact with people, including members of your family and strangers. Dogs learn manners around other animals, including family pets. Dogs, from the youngest puppy to the most distinguished senior, can benefit from training and obedience classes.
  • Bond with your pooch. Classes are just as much for people as they are for pets. Obedience classes teach you and your human family members many important skills Dog owners learn how to identify and react to common dog behaviors by understanding how dogs think. Training together builds trust and enhances your relationship between you and your pooch.
  • Teach your dog social norms with new environments and experiences. Dogs learn essential skills for navigating new environments such as how to walk on a leash, how to greet guests and strangers, and how to come when called. Trained dogs can participate more fully in social functions by being present at kids’ sporting events, attending family holiday celebrations and taking part in outdoor activities like sledding, cross country skiing, jogging or just exploring the neighborhood. A trained dog is part of the family!
  • Experience fun new activities together. Training opens up a new world for you and your dog, one you might never have considered. Classes provide dogs with the skills and training to do agility trials, AKC Rally obedience, tracking, search and rescue, water rescue trials, reading programs, and therapy work – just to name a few. There are plenty of amazingly fun and philanthropic activities you and your dog can do together!
  • Have fun! Simply put, you and your pooch will love training classes.

Why train with AWS?

AWS obedience classes have some unique benefits, particularly for adopted pets. Our obedience trainers are tops in their field and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classes.

  • Certification: The trainers at AWS have the Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) designation. Each CPDT-KA trainer has amassed 300+ hours of experience, professional references and has passed a comprehensive examination that tests the trainer’s knowledge of learning theory, canine ethology, animal husbandry, classroom management, teaching techniques and more.
  • Experience with Rescue Dogs: Our trainers work with rescue dogs on a daily basis, learning their unique traits and understanding their individual needs. They share what they’ve learned over the years in classes and during private consultation.
  • Familiarity with AWS Dogs: Our obedience trainers teach shelter dog obedience class weekly. Nearly every dog at AWS attends. If you’ve recently adopted an AWS pet, why not continue building that foundation with the trainers who know and understand your dog?
  • On-call Assistance: We also offer a behavioral helpline (207) 985-3244 ext. 131 to assist pet owners with any questions or problems. Leave a message and we’ll get back to you!

What classes are offered at AWS?

AWS offers a variety of exciting classes for dogs of all ages and abilities!

  • Basic Obedience: For any dog older than 5 months, this six-week course is the foundation for all future obedience courses and teaches socialization, concentration and confidence building. You’ll learn canine communication skills and how to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash and how to avoid distraction. Commands taught include sit, stay, heel, down and come.
  • S.T.A.R. Puppy Kindergarten: For dogs 5 months or younger, Puppy Kindergarten is a six-week program using positive reinforcement to teach socialization, training, activity and responsibility. Some puppies are able pick up simple commands.
  • Beyond the Basics & Agility: This six-week class is a great opportunity for graduates to continue the fun and training from Basic Obedience class to maintain and grow skills. Activities include tricks, targeting, field trips, off-leash work and agility. Dogs enjoy overcoming agility obstacles such as jumps, tires, tunnels, and A Frames. This class is fun for the whole family!
  • AKC Canine Good Citizen: Over the six-week course, your dog will prepare for the ten-point AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification test. Dogs learn advanced commands and practice positive behaviors such as walking through a crowd, accepting a friendly stranger and positively reacting to another dog.
  • Outdoor Adventure Class: For Basic Obedience graduates, this course introduces your dog to distractions in fun, new ways. The class takes weekly field trips to locales including the beach, the Eastern trail, and downtown. Locations differ based on weather and the season.
  • Confidence for Shy Dogs: Timid and unsure dogs are perfect students for this course. You’ll learn what causes canine fear and anxiety, how to assess your dog’s body language and stress level and how to help your dog feel more comfortable. Exercises in class help boost confidence in shy pups.
  • K9 Nose Work: All dogs have a natural scenting ability. This class, taught by a Certified Nose Works instructor, teaches you fun ways to bring out the best in your dog’s sniffer.
  • Private Consultations: If your canine’s behavior is becoming an issue, our obedience trainers can provide one-on-one time with your dog. Private consultations (either at your home or during office hours at AWS) can help you quickly change your dog’s behavior and learn new skills to keep and your pup living happily together!
  • Drop In Puppy Social Hour: If your puppy is younger than 6 months and under 30 pounds, please stop by the AWS Obedience Classroom for an hour of fun socialization. The program runs from 10 am – 11 am. AWS’ trainers will be on hand to faciliate and provide training information. $12/hour. No advance registration needed. See our Obedience Schedule page for dates of sessions.

Ready to sign up? Check out our current class schedule and register online.  Call the shelter at (207) 985-3244 or stop by during business hours to register.

Because we often have wait lists for classes, in order to guarantee your spot, full payment must be received at least one week prior to the start date. If payment is not received, we reserve the right to fill your spot within seven days of the first class.

We accept checks (dropped off or mailed to the shelter) or credit cards. We do not have an online credit card processor, so you must call us at (207) 985-3244 and make your payment over the phone.

There is a $25 service fee for registration cancellation, if you cancel more than 7 days from the start of the class.  If you have to cancel less than one week prior to the start of the program, all fees are non-refundable and will result in a donation of the total fee to AWS.  If AWS has to cancel a program, the we will issue a full refund.  Note: Classes may be cancelled due to low enrollment.

Follow the AWS Teachers’ Pets on Facebook.  You don’t want to miss the interesting tidbits on training your pup, fun anecdotes from our obedience classes and pictures of our graduations!

The shelter is closed for adoptions and visits on Wednesdays. However, obedience classes still occur.