OHS offers a wide array of classes for almost every kind of dog - social dogs, anxious dogs, fearful dogs, reactive dogs, herding dogs, and more! In addition to our usual classes, we offer specialty workshops throughout the year on various training topics and breed-specific issues. View our current class schedule.
We also offer an Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) training program for pets and their people who want to make visits to hospitals, schools, etc. This is not a 'service dog' program. For more information on service dogs, see below.
Our training philosophy focuses on building a strong, healthy bond between a dog and his owner through positive reinforcement. We do not like to use fear or intimidation-based tactics in our training. OHS trainers believe that reward-based techniques and educating pet owners on canine behavior is the best way to promote a trusting and respectful relationship between individuals and their dogs. For more about why we choose to use positive methods, read the Dominance Position Statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
OHS Dog Trainers are Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDTs) and are professional members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Their certification requires documented experience in the field, passing an exam and continued education credits. In addition, some OHS trainers are also Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluators and Pet Partners team evaluators. Of course, our trainers have years of experience working with adopted dogs and their special needs.
If your dog tends to bark and lunge at other dogs while on a leash, you may want to consider taking our six-week Reactive Rover class. We are able to accommodate some special needs dogs in the Basic Manners classes. Shy dogs can train in a corner of our large training hall where a visual barrier provides them a sense of security. Most importantly, our trainers all have extensive experience with shelter animals and are very knowledgeable about the specific issues they often face. To discuss which classes will be best for you, come to one of our Intro to Training sessions or call (503) 285-7722 x.225. View our current class schedule.
Classes are held at the Oregon Humane Society's Animal Medical Learning Center at 1067 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97211. Our large, open and airy training arena is designed to foster a comfortable training environment with natural light and fresh air. The Animal Medical Learning Center is handicap-accessible.
Next to our large training arena, Manners Hall, we have a specialty retail store that features training products and tools that will help you with your pet's training. Come check out "Sit, Stay, Good Dog" and you'll find stimulating toys and yummy treats for your dog as well as head halters, front-clip harnesses and other great walking tools.
Your dog must be free of signs of communicable diseases in order to attend classes. Even if all vaccinations are current, please do not bring your dog to class if he or she is coughing, sneezing, feverish, or displaying any potential symptoms of illness.
In addition, we require all dogs over 6 months of age to be spayed or neutered and up-to-date on the following vaccinations (proof of vaccinations from your veterinarian is required for any dog attending a class):
Currently enrolled pets should not come if they are showing signs of illness or infection.
Dogs that have a history of aggression towards other dogs or people are not appropriate for our group training classes. If your dog is aggressive (snarling, snapping and biting) or reactive (lunges, barks or exhibits over-excited behavior at the sight of other dogs), we can still provide information and resources for you and your dog. Just call (503) 285-7722, ext. 225.
In addition to our training classes, OHS offers private training consultations. During these lessons, you and your dog meet alone with one of our Certified Professional Dog Trainers for more individual instruction. The fee is $75 per hour (10% off for dogs adopted from OHS or other area shelters). You can request an appointment online or call the Training and Behavior Department at (503) 285-7722, ext. 225.
A list of all current classes can be found here. Students must follow the payment and registration directions for each individual class as listed. Problem Pooch classes are free, drop-in classes and require no pre-registration. We ask that you do not bring your pets to Problem Pooch classes, that you arrive on time, and that you consider bringing a donation that you can afford. For additional information or specific questions, call the Training and Behavior Department at (503) 285-7722, ext. 225.
In the event that you need to cancel your registration, you will only be given a refund if we receive notification seven days prior to the class start date. All refunds given are subject to a $20 handling fee. No refunds will be given for classes or workshops costing $20 or less. Last minute cancellations (less than seven days) or no-shows will not be granted a refund.
If you decide that you would like to switch classes, you will be allowed one transfer. You must make arrangements to transfer prior to the start date of the class you’ve originally enrolled in. Transfers will not be granted after the original class you’ve enrolled in begins. Please contact Deborah Fitzgerrel at 503.802.6744 if you would like to cancel your registration or transfer your enrollment to another class.
The Oregon Humane Society does not offer service dog training or provide funding for individuals who want to acquire service dogs. Service Dogs are trained to be a companion to one person who often has a specific disability. You might find more information through Canine Companions for Independence or the Service Animal Registry of America. Pet Partners also offers a searchable service dog trainer directory.
The Oregon Humane Society's Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) program trains people and their pets to become volunteer teams who visit others in hospitals, schools, libraries, etc.
We encourage the spay and neuter of all companion animals as part of our mission. OHS alone adopts out over 10,000 animals every year! And consider this fact - millions of pets are euthanized every year in the U.S. alone due to pet overpopulation. Read more about the crisis of pet overpopulation.
Because we are an animal shelter existing in essence to care for homeless pets, reducing pet overpopulation is one of our primary goals. We do offer private training consultations for folks who have unaltered animals. In terms of group classes, we believe there are plenty of other training resources available for unaltered pets in our community. By having the spay/neuter requirement for our group training classes, we are able to encourage and promote the spay and neuter of all companion animals, especially to those who may not realize why it is so important.