The Polite Pooch Program

The Polite Pooch Program

Our Polite Pooch Program consists of a series of classes to systematically take you step by step from beginning manners for the average family dog to the necessary skills to prepare your dog for a therapy dog evaluation or service dog public access foundations.

Group classes are a fun and economical way to work with your dog. All of our classes employ positive reinforcement and clicker training for working with your dog.

Group classes are not appropriate for all dogs. If your dog is reactive towards other dogs or people (barks, lunges, is fearful) private training is a better fit as it is less stressful for your dog. Several dogs in a small classroom can be overwhelming. Private training - in person or web-based lessons can be wonderful alternatives.

Head of the Class Dog Training LLC

Polite Pooch 1 and Anything Goes! / Owner's Choice Classes

Polite Pooch class is the perfect place for the average family to begin with a new adult dog, or older puppy to learn basic manners such as sit, down, heel, wait, stay, focus, etc. You will learn to communicate with your dog, and build a positive relationship.

We use an Open Enrollment system for Polite Pooch 1. Classes are ongoing at specific days and times, allowing you to purchase a class package to meet your needs and budget. Come as often as fits your schedule. Sign up and start the NEXT DAY!


Start right away! No need to wait for a new class – which may be WEEKS away!

You can go on vacation without “missing” a class, since class topics can be taken in any order

You and your dog progress at the rate that works for you – multiple levels of the exercises are presented in the same class

Attend any of the Polite Pooch 1 classes, or Anything Goes!/Owner's Decides classes – in either location – you are not locked in to a specific time or place. You can also apply your class credits to Polite Pooch 2, CGC Tests or Public Polite Pooch 3 classes or CGCA and CGCU Tests when you are ready to move up.

Please verify and sign in 24 hours in advance for each class you want to take- due to the open enrollment system, classes may be cancelled, or full - which can vary week to week


No-shows and cancellations with less than 24 hours notice for any reason will count as a class used as it is too late too fill the spot from the waitlist.

4 Lesson Pack + Video Access  $155

expires after 2 months

6 Lesson Pack + Video Access  $225

​​expires after 2 months

8 Lesson Pack + Video Access $295

​​expires after 3 months

10 Lesson Pack + Video Access  $360

​​expires after 3 months

12 Lesson Pack + Video Access  $420

​​expires after 4 months

14 Lesson Pack + Video Access  $475

​​expires after 4 months

16 Lesson Pack + Video Access  $525

​​expires after 5 months

18 Lesson Pack + Video Access  $550

​​expires after 6 months

20 Lesson Pack + Video Access $600

​expires after 6 months

Single Class  $40 (Go to "classes" on calendar to choose single class option)

All class packages include treat apron and clicker

The class structure is such that each student chooses which skills they want focused help with, and is allotted a segment of time to use the entire training space with the instructor’s full attention - with other dogs on the sidelines relaxing on their mats or working a puzzle. Polite Pooch Class credits are valid for Anything Goes! Class

Depending on the number of students in the class, each dog team gets two or three 10 minute segments of time to work. Anything Goes! can be used for tricks, basic manners, agility skills or booklet testing. Max enrollment: 3 dog teams per class.

Anything Goes! slots are only available to students already enrolled in a program. Puppy or Polite Pooch credits can be used for Anything Goes!time. Students in other classes, such as Tricks, Agility, etc. may purchase Anything Goes! sessions.

Sign in for Anything Goes! is required a minimum of 12 hours prior to start time. If there are no sign ins, the class will be cancelled for the session. Please plan ahead so we can be prepared.


  • Polite Pooch 2 is an open enrollment class that picks up where Polite Pooch 1 leaves off and is an intermediate level class that takes basic manners learned in the Polite Pooch 1 classes and adds challenge by increasing exposure to 3 of the 4Ds. (Duration, Distance, Distractions). If you and your dog have mastered the skills in the Junior High School Level of our Polite Pooch Program, you are eligible.
  • Topics include: LLW with another dog team nearby, recall past distractions from a distance, and the items on the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.
  • Manners skills are practiced with more distractions in the environment, more distance between dog and handler, or higher expectations for compliance. This class works on levels 4 (High School level) of the Polite Pooch skills booklet received in Polite Pooch 1. We also work to increase speed and latency of responses, and decrease reliance on food rewards. PRE-REQ: Dog must have successfully completed Levels 1-3 of Polite Pooch Booklet or equivalent. If you are hoping to try Therapy Dog work or Public Access work, then Polite Pooch 2 is on that track.


  • The Canine Good Citizen program is offered by AKC and is often considered the first step to more advanced expectations for pet dogs. The CGC Test is one indicator that a dog may have the potential for Therapy work. A dog who successfully completes a CGC test can earn an AKC Title. Passing the CGC Test is one of our requirements for Owner Trained Service Dog.
  • The Polite Pooch Packages include the ability to sign up for Polite Pooch 2 classes, and a CGC Test as long as you have met the requirements listed above.
  • This class is for teams working on the “Undergrad” level of our Polite Pooch curriculum and above, dogs who already have a CGC and are working for CGCA, or CGCU. This class is a part of the Polite Pooch package. We alternate between AKC Community Canine and AKC Urban Canine Testing and Polite Pooch credits can be used for these tests.
  • This class meets in public locations to practice around typical and unusual distractions. Public Polite Pooch 3 is the next challenge for dog and owner looking for more reliable manners in home and out.
  • A Therapy Dog - therapy dog is a well behaved family pet who is invited to do community service visits with his/her handler by invitation. These invitations come from schools, libraries, nursing homes and hospitals.
  • A good therapy dog is friendly, approachable, and interested in meeting new people. He / she should not be fearful anxious, nor reactive to dogs or other animals, nor overly excitable.
  • There are several nationwide organizations that evaluate therapy animal teams. We use Pet Partners. See for evaluation requirements and program details.
  • Therapy dogs are only allowed in public places by invitation for a specific purpose or program.
  • A Comfort Dog is a special type of therapy dog who, with his/her owner has completed more intensive training in situations that could be traumatic and emotional. To become a Comfort Dog Team, or Crisis support Team, you must first be a successful and active therapy dog team in general situations for one year first. For more information about Animal Assisted Crisis Support, see HOPE AACR at
  • Are you interested in volunteering? Do you want to help your community by sharing your well behaved, social, happy dog with others?
  • While we do not have an exclusive "therapy dog class”, our Polite Pooch classes are designed to guide you and your dog in a logical progression from beginner family pet manners to appropriate public manners leading to successful therapy dog evaluation.
  • A Service Dog- A Service Dog is a dog that has had extensive training to behave appropriately in all types of public situations, AND has been specifically trained to perform a task for a disabled handler that the handler can’t do, or has great difficulty doing.
  • In general, this is a commitment of at least 120 hours of training in the course of six months, but in realty a service dog is constantly “in training” as they are always encountering new challenges when performing work in public.
  • Unlike a therapy dog, who is focused on many people, a service dog should blend into the background, ignore other people, and focus on the handler and his/her job.
  • Currently, the ADA allows owners to train their own service dogs. If you have a disability recognized by the ADA and are looking for help to train a service dog, we offer coaching to do so. The Polite Pooch Program is a great place to start as our classes build up to training in public areas.

While dogs are the animals most frequently used in Pet Partner Animal Assisted Therapy, they do test other species as well. Rabbits, cats, guinea pigs... even mini horses or donkeys, llamas and pigs can be Therapy Animals! To become a Therapy Team, you must take an onsite class seminar or the online course through Pet Partners, then schedule a Team Skills and Aptitude Evaluation. Find out more about this program from the official Pet Partners website

  • While we currently do no affiliate with any particular organization to do evaluations, our TYOSD/TD classes will help prepare teams for most Therapy Dog Evaluations offered by recognized registries such as Pet Partners, Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Therapy Dogs International and others.

Welcome to the Train Your Own Service Dog / Therapy Dog Program!

The goal of the program is to make service dogs accessible to those who need them, but who may not have the resources to pay for exclusive one on one training or to invest in a fully pre-trained dog. Our program guides you through the complex and demanding process of training your own dog. You will have the advantage of training your own dog to suit your specific needs.

Our program is open to everyone - individuals in need of a service dog, animal assisted therapy teams, and even pet dog owners who admire the impeccable public manners and helpful behaviors of a service dog. While any dog can take the classes, only those who are legitimate service dog candidates (as defined by the ADA) and satisfactorily pass all the levels of training will be eligible to receive a service dog certificate. All others who satisfactorily pass the levels of training will receive program graduation certificates. Service dog candidates must also present a letter from the dog's veterinarian verifying the dog's physical soundness and suitability for service dog work, as well as a letter from a physician, or mental health care provider verifying the need for a service dog.

This program starts with our Puppy Start Right Kindergarten (if you are beginning with a puppy) and Polite Pooch 1. Once your dog has successfully mastered the first three skill levels of our Polite Pooch program, you are able to begin the Train Your Own Service Dog track.

The Service Dog Program class series begins with an 8 week class called Service Dog Foundations. This class begins with a required orientation - without the dogs.

After successfully completing the graduation requirements in Service Dog Foundations, the next step is Public Manners. The Public Manners classes are not a traditional class, but are open enrollment. These are classes held in various public locations around town so the team can practice and apply the skills learned in Foundations with the guidance of the instructor.

To successfully graduate from the Public Manners segment of the program, attendance at a minimum of 8 Public Manners classes is required.

The Public Manners Package credits can be used in Public Polite Pooch class and Mixed Service Dog Class, but to qualify as a Service Dog Graduate, at least 5 of the 8 must be used in Public Manners class.

The third component of the Service Dog Program is Task Training. After or concurrent with completing Public Manners, the team may sign up for various Task Training Modules. These modules are 4 week classes. One Module might include Retrieving type tasks. Another module might include Alerting type tasks. Another might include Brace and Support type tasks. The team will choose the task module(s) that fit their specific needs.

For Public Manners, purchase your Service Dog lesson package then sign up for the class weeks you’d like to attend and use your session “credits” to pay. Open enrollment provides you with the flexibility to work at your own pace without having to commit to attending class every week. Choose to come every week, or pick the weeks that cover the behaviors you want to focus on. (The weekly class topics are posted on our Facebook Page and in the Private Group for Service Dog Trainees.)

For Foundations and Task Modules - you simply sign up for the class and are automatically entered in all sessions for that class.

There must be at least 2 paid enrollments for the class to happen. If we don't have enough, the class will be cancelled and offered again in 8 weeks.

Remember: for Service Dog / Therapy Dog Foundations - your dog must have met the prerequisites from the Polite Pooch Classes!

It is important to understand that not all dogs are appropriate for service dog work. A working dog's life is mentally and physically challenging, and can be stressful. A dog's well-being must be the first priority when considering him or her for service dog work. A good service dog candidate is healthy, physically and mentally sound, calm and friendly but not over exuberant, confident and comfortable in a wide variety of situations. Fearful, reactive or aggressive dogs are not appropriate service dog (nor therapy dog) candidates. While minor behavioral issues may be resolved through behavior modification there is no guarantee the dog's issues will be resolved sufficiently to enable him or her to be a suitable working dog.

Train You Own Service / Therapy Dog


8 weeks

Week One - Orientation REQUIRED

No Dogs at Orientation

At SPCA - no stairs


Train Your Own Service/Therapy Dog


8 weeks

Week One - Orientation REQUIRED

No Dogs at Orientation

At WAPC - stairs


Train Your Own Service / Therapy Dog Public Manners Package

8 class credits

Credits are valid in TYOSD/TD Public Manners, Public Polite Pooch 3, Mixed Level Service Dog



to sign up click below

Train Your Own Service / Therapy Dog Public Manners Package

16 class credits

Credits are valid in TYOSD/TD Public Manners, Public Polite Pooch, Mixed Level Service Dog



Task Module 1

Coming Soon!



Service Dog Pre-Req. Skills Evaluation - VIRTUAL

1 Hour VIRTUAL Evaluation - $70

conducted online via Zoom

For those wishing to sign up for Service Dog Foundations but have not done our Polite Pooch Program

Service Dog Pre-Req. Skills Evaluation

1 Hour In person Evaluation - $70

For those wishing to sign up for Service Dog Foundations but have not done our Polite Pooch Program

About Service Dog Foundations

Take your Polite Pooch’s skills to the next level in Service Dog Foundations class. You’ll solidify many of the skills learned in Polite Pooch 1 including Leave It, Touch, Focus/Watch Me, and Come. Foundations introduces impulse control exercises and new behaviors like Go to Place, walking backwards, Heel, paw targeting, and Stay. Imagine training your dog to automatically sit and focus on you when a person approaches! You’ll learn how to fade using treats, plus advanced training topics to strengthen your dog’s responses through generalization, proofing, and setting criteria properly. Every week includes socialization exercises to accustom your dog to a variety of surfaces, obstacles, sounds, people, equipment, and situations.

About Service Dog Public Manners

Take your dog’s training to the next level by strengthening the behaviors learned in Foundations by applying them in more distracting public settings. The class will meet in a variety of locations - each location will offer unique challenges.


Service Dog Program Progression

  • Puppy Kindergarten and/or Polite Pooch 1 (test out of Primary, Elementary, Junior High skill levels)
  • Service Dog / Therapy Dog Foundations
  • Service Dog / Therapy Dog Public Manners (at least 8 sessions) - Open Enrollment Classes and Skill Assessment
  • Task Modules as appropriate for the team
  • Completion of training/practice logs throughout SD Program
  • Successful completion of written examination (owner)
  • Successful completion of Public Access Manners Assessment (team)
  • Veterinarian Letter (dog)
  • Physician or mental health provider Letter (handler)
  • And beyond - Commitment to periodic ongoing Continuing Education Credits... (Task Module classes, private training, training logs, etc.)

Therapy Dog Program Progression

The first three items above are the same

Task modules are optional

At that point, the owner is responsible for finding a therapy organization that matches their team's needs to test with, and that meets the needs of the organization they hope to volunteer with