Puppy Classes

Three levels of puppy training will take your new puppy from nine weeks through part of the difficult “adolescent” period, when many dogs are given up.  The classes are held at the Olney-Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital in Sandy Spring, Md., which helps your puppy develop a positive attitude to coming to the vet.

Smart Start Puppy Class

For puppies 9 to 16 weeks old on first day of class.  In this class you will learn how to socialize your young puppies to strangers, children, friendly dogs, noises and events.  It’s a great foundation for the rest of their lives and prevents common behavior problems from developing.

Using reward-based training methods, we introduce the puppy to being handled, explore novel objects, focus on their person and have fun learning. The class covers kindergarten versions of basic behaviors, such as sit, down, hand targeting, impulse control, recall and walking on a loose leash.  The puppy’s owner learns how to communicate with the puppy, how to manage normal puppy behaviors, such as nipping, jumping and grabbing-and-running, and also how to build a trusting relationship with your young dog.  Couples and families are encouraged to come to class together.

Puppies who are not OSSVH clients must show proof of the second set of vaccinations.

(6 sessions – First class is a comprehensive orientation and meets without puppies.)      

Fee: $250

Puppy Plus! Class

For puppies 5-9 months old. This class builds on the behaviors learned in Smart Start puppy class or the equivalent.  Puppies learn fast sits and downs, focus on owner, elementary school versions of sit and down stays (duration and mild distractions), wait before a recall, recall with mild distractions, sitting while puppy’s person greets someone, walking on a loose leash past a person with a dog, accepting handling while sitting and greeting a friendly dog. 

(Puppy must have had an introductory puppy class or the instructor’s permission. Please text 301-928-6606 if you’re not sure.)

(6 sessions; puppies come to first class) 

Fee: $250

Beyond Puppy Plus! Class

For puppies 6-12 months old. In this class we continue to solidify the basic behaviors of sit, down, sit/down stays (adding distance to duration and distractions), stand, recall with stronger distractions, accepting grooming with a brush and handling of ears and front feet, focus on owner, staying calmly with a stranger while owner goes out of sight, walking on loose leash with automatic sit, and sitting while owner greets another person with a dog.  (Puppy must have had an introduction to foundation behaviors or permission of instructor.)  Call 301-928-6606

 (6 sessions; puppies come to first class) 

Fee: $250


In order to enroll in a class, you must complete an application form (below) and send it as an email attachment to Payment may be made via PayPal at the same address and must be made at the time of enrollment. Your spot in the class is secured when the application and payment have been received. 

Once your  application form and payment have been received, I will notify you by text or email. Please do not assume  you are enrolled in a class until you have received confirmation. The classes are purposely small and fill fast.

Once you have been confirmed for a class, the fee is non-refundable. Please see the section on cancellations and refunds before registering for a class. If you are not a client of OSSVH, you must present proof of 2 rounds of DHLPP vaccination for the Smart Start Puppy class and proof of current rabies vaccination for all other classes. Please bring proof of vaccination to the first class session in order to participate.

Please text Al at 301-928-6606 with your questions.

Where To Meet For Class

Puppy and Just the Basics classes are held at the Olney-Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital at 1300 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Sandy Spring, Md. 20860.  Phone:  301-774-9500. Ample parking is available. For everyone’s safety, when you arrive for class, please take care around other dogs you see, since some may not be comfortable with unfamiliar dogs.  If your dog is difficult to handle, please wait outside and text me at 301-928-6606 and I will come out to help you and your dog enter.

Thank you for your cooperation!

What To Bring To Class

1. If you are not a client of OSSVH, bring proof of rabies vaccination for Just the Basics. For Smart Start Puppy class, bring proof of 2 rounds of DHLPP vaccinations.

2. Flat buckle or martingale collar or harness (can be nylon, cotton or leather; no choke, prong or shock collars, please!);  a Snoot Loop halter if your dog needs it.

3. A 5- to 6-foot leash (no retractable leashes).

4. A non-slip mat for your dog to lie on.

5. The first session of the Smart Start Puppy class is a comprehensive orientation and meets without dogs, but you will receive exercises to prepare your pup for class. For the second session, bring a hungry dog and a variety of your dog’s favorite soft treats, cut into pea-size pieces.


If the minimum enrollment for a class is not met 3 days prior to the first class session, the class will be canceled. I will notify you 3 days before the class was scheduled to begin to see if you would like to receive credit toward a future class or a full refund.


 If after the first session of a class a dog is unable to attend due to an injury or illness, you can receive a 50% credit toward a future class. I regret that no credit or refund can be provided for any reason after the first session of a class. A $25 fee will apply for returned checks.


Orientations are the most important part of Come When Called classes. Therefore, students enrolled in classes with an orientation must attend their scheduled orientation to participate in the class. If you know ahead of time that you will be unable to attend the orientation, please let me know one week before the first class to receive a refund. Students who miss the orientation without making prior arrangements, are assumed to have dropped out of the class and will forfeit their class fee. The space will be given to a student on the wait list. Attending all sessions will ensure the greatest learning success for you and your dog. 

Other Information

In order to protect all participants in a class, CWC reserves the right to decline entry to any dog who presents behavior issues that may be dangerous, disruptive or that may be exacerbated by participation in a group class. If behavior issues are discovered during the class and I determine that it is in everyone’s best interest to seek private training, we will discuss private training and you will receive a refund for the remaining sessions.

Children In Class

I am happy to have children and other family members attend Come When Called classes so that all family members can be on the same page when training the dog. In order to make coming to class a fun and safe experience for everyone, please review these guidelines:

  • Children must remain seated with their parents or in a designated area.  Moving around the classroom is distracting to the dogs.
  • Parents, please keep at least one eye on your children for the entire class.
  • To keep class dogs from getting excited, children should move about quietly before, during and after class.
  • Please explain to your children that not all dogs are comfortable around little people, so they should not approach or pet the other dogs in class.
  • If your child wants to meet another dog, please obtain the owner’s permission, and only during non-instructional times.
  • Please feel free to bring quiet toys or activities to keep your child occupied during discussions.