dog therapy for fun dog agility mini-classes


“You make and take the time to provide individual instruction to each member of the class. You do not stand with others gathered around you in a circle, talking about the ‘way it should be.’ Instead, you take each dog (individually) and walk them through the paces so the owner/handler can see what they are supposed to do with their own dog!” –Kathleen W

What should you take first? What should you take next? Click below to see the

                                                         Sequence of Classes




Click link below to download a current schedule



Once you’ve decided on a specific class, here’s what you must do:

Use the Contact Us page to request placement in the class you are interested in. We  will write you back, letting you know whether we’ve been able to save you a spot or if you will be placed on a waiting list. NOTE: You can check the home page’s upper right corner to see the number of spaces left in each class.  Then, on the first night of class, you will bring your completed registration, proof that your dog is current on vaccinations, and your class fee (cash, check, or credit card). Typically, a session consists of  six classes, for $170.00.  Continuing Clients, however, pay $160.00.  We also often have shorter, “Mini” classes, which run for either three or four weeks. We hope you will continue to train with us!

              When you come to the first class, you will bring a filled-out  REGISTRATION form (click here)


        “Working with Racer has been such a joy since we met you! He has done SO well on his loose leash walking and is learning his new commands more and more each day.  I’m so proud of him and we’ve both been having so much fun :)”–Emily

How are our classes different?

Gone are the days when puppies do not begin socialization and training until they are fully vaccinated, at 4 months old.  Even though occasional veterinarians still stand by this outdated concept, for the past twenty years the Association of Veterinary Behaviorists has stressed that this crucial time in a dog’s development should be carefully structured, though enrollment in a well-run Puppy class that teaches them how to think and learn!  So we offer both Puppy Manners (ages 8 – 16 weeks) and Puppy Kindergarten (ages 16 – 24 weeks) where the pups are socialized and are given the foundation for learning all the skills we will want them to master once they are ready. These and all our classes are kept very small–typically four or five–so every dog/handler team receives individual attention, attention which sometimes includes a video of what they are doing, complete with coaching narration from Deborah!  Furthermore, class members receive follow- up emails which cover everything that was introduced in the class that week, with attached detailed descriptions, that can be easily referenced any time. And Deborah is available through email to address any specific issues a current or former students are having with their dogs!

                   “…Also, I love the info sheets you provide in your emails!  Who wouldn’t?  They are a great resource!”–Daniel

Where will your dog be trained?

DIRECTIONS: The training site is 412 Investors Place), in Virginia Beach. Coming from 264, take Exit 17A (Independence/Princess Anne), onto Independence Boulevard. If the traffic is exceptionally  light, you might be able to cut across  several lanes in time to turn left onto Investors Place. But you’ll probably have to go past it and make a U-turn at the light.  Then, you’ll be on Independence Blvd, going toward Virginia Beach Boulevard and you’ll be able to turn right onto Investors Place (as though you’re going to Starbucks). Stop at the big IBC (Independence Business Center) sign turn right (into the parking lot) and immediately look at the building on your left. You won’t see the “412” address, since we are on the side of the building.  But you will see a little metal fence around the door to Playful Pups, which is Suite 103!

This large, climate-controlled facility has thick rubber flooring, which your dog will love to work (and play!) on. We stress safety for all the dogs in the class, so your dog must be able to handle a group setting without interfering with the learning of others. Often, we find that the dogs who may seem to have difficulty initially will quickly learn to enjoy being with the other dogs. In fact, all the dogs will be receiving lots of one-on-one attention and instruction, since our group classes are kept to 5 or fewer dog/handler teams.

“Thanks again for being such an inspiration and a wonderful trainer. Lily and I both learned so much from you!”–Liz

How will your dog be trained?

Because we believe in choice/reward–based training, you will be bringing a variety of tiny, soft treats to use in class when we are introducing a new behavior. A misconception about using rewards for correct choices is that you have to continue to give treats for all trained behavior. In fact, you will be using a marker (first a “click,” but soon just a verbal click, “Yes” or Yep”) before you give the reward. However, once the behavior is understood and fluent, you will no longer need to mark and reward it. Of course, you’ll still want to use occasional treats and real-life rewards (like praise, belly rubs, an opened door, etc.) to reinforce your dog’s good behavior. We’ll show you from the first class how to move toward this goal of having your dog work with you without having to reward him with treats!

I just wanted to zip you a note to let you know how pleased I was with your training methods. I was astounded by my wonderful Chief’s learning abilities! : )”–Ellen

When are most classes held?

Evening classes begin at 6 pm on weekdays and last an hour. Typically, two classes are held Monday through Wednesday, each lasting an hour.  We also offer several daytime classes in the summer months. We always offer Saturday classes, beginning with Puppy Manners class at 10:00  and Puppy Kindergarten at 11:30 the morning.  Various group classes are held in the afternoon as well. In general, class sessions are six weeks long, although we occasionally offer shorter “mini” classes and workshops.

“…your instruction documents are so well written, though, I may be able to have some luck teaching him the new stuff without the class!”–Matt


Who should come to class?

We encourage couples to  participate in training, but children under twelve must have someone with them that can ensure that they sit calmly and quietly for the hour. Children twelve years and older may help handle the dog, as long as they are accompanied by a supervising adult. All handlers should wear proper footwear—no flip-flops—and comfortable clothing that they wouldn’t mind wearing while sitting on the floor.

“Hank is behaving wonderfully. I swear he has changed very positively since last week.. i.e. his behavior with other dogs, his playing habits, his calming down, and responding to his name. I cannot believe the difference! Thank you again for what you do!”–Margaret




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