Dog training

Classes are offered locally at:

A directory of individual trainers can be found at:

Pet Behavior Resources


Nuisance barking is usually due to boredom, frustration, or anxiety. If your dog is excessively barking, please consider:

  • Is your dog getting enough exercise? Dogs need daily exercise. Consider taking your dog for a walk at least once every day! 
  • Does your dog have access to food, water, shelter, toys, etc.? Your dog may be barking because he is lacking a basic need. Dogs not only need basic necessities like food, water, and shelter, but they also need enrichment items—such as toys and appropriate chews—to help prevent boredom. 
  • Have you tried obedience training? 
  • If you are leaving your dog outdoors in your absence, can you put him/her indoors? Your dog will have fewer distractions indoors and thus fewer reasons to bark. Not to mention, a dog barking indoors is less likely to disturb your neighbors than a dog barking outdoors.
  • Check out information from the ASPCA about Barking
  • Check out information from the Humane Society of the United States about How to Get Your Dog To Stop Barking

Chewing and Other Destructive Behavior

Dogs need and like to chew. As puppies, they chew when they are cutting new teeth, but adult dogs enjoy chewing, too. Chewing releases boredom, frustration, and anxiety. If your dog is chewing destructively, please consider:

  • Does your dog have plenty of appropriate chew toys?
  • If your dog chews destructively all the time, is he/she getting plenty of exercise and attention?
  • Have you tried obedience training?
  • If your dog chews destructively only when left alone, have you tried crate training? If destructive behavior occurs in your absence, crating your pet can be very helpful in eliminating these problems. When properly trained, the crate becomes a “den-like” place for your pet and will provide a safe and comfortable place for him/her while you are away. For more information, see

Click on the following links for free resources on working with destructive behavior: 



House training takes patience and consistency. Here are some tips on training your dog:

  • A young puppy needs to relieve himself/herself every couple of hours. Be sure to give your dog plenty of chances to go outside and relieve himself/herself. 
  • Take your dog outside, and praise him/her when the dog relieves himself/herself outside. Give him/her verbal praise, a pat on the head, and/or a treat. 
  • Let your dog go outside immediately if you see signs that he/she needs to go to the restroom, including whining, sniffing, going to the door, and turning in circles. 
  • Are you leaving your dog alone for too long? If so, consider getting someone to take your dog outside for you. You can also consider crate training, as dogs will not typically use the restroom in their own crates. 
  • Is your dog neutered? This may cut down on your dog urinating in the house. 
  • When there is an accident, clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner, such as Nature’s Miracle. Otherwise, the dog will just return to the same spot. 
  • If soiling the house is a new behavior, please consider taking your dog to a veterinarian to rule out medical problems.
  • Check out information from the ASPCA about House Training Your Dog or Puppy
  • Check out information from the Humane Society of the United States about How to House Train Your Dog or Puppy

Bringing Your newly adopted dog home- the First two Weeks

Click here to open the brochure 

Online Behavior resources for CATS & DOGS:

Richmond SPCA’s Pet Behavior Library

ASPCA’s Virtual Pet Behaviorist
Richmond SPCA's Virtual Training Classes
Richmond SPCA's Low-Cost Behavior Consultation

Online Behavior resources for DOGS:

Humane Society of the United States Dog Care and Behavior Tips 

ASPCA's Common Dog Behavior Issues

Association of Pet Dog Trainers

Animal Humane Society Dog Aggression

Online Behavior resources specific to CATS:

Humane Society of the United States Cat Care and Behavior Tips

ASPCA Common Cat Behavior Issues

Community Cats