VBSPCA Pet Academy

The Virginia Beach SPCA is proud to bring you a new and improved pet training program designed to strengthen the bond between pets and pet parents. With puppy training, dog training, specialty workshops, private training, and a future that includes kitten socialization experiences, the VBSPCA Pet Academy offers the opportunity to improve the life of your own pet while also supporting the animals of the VBSPCA. Puppy and dog courses are six weeks long with one class each week, and new sessions start every few weeks. For more information, email petacademy@vbspca.com.

Each Puppy Course is $140, which includes 6 group training sessions. Dog Courses are $150, which includes 6 group training sessions. Private training is also available upon request. Email petacademy@vbspca.com for more information.

Please bring the following with you to all training sessions:

  • 4-6 foot leash (No retractable leashes please)
  • Flat buckle collar
  • Your dog’s favorite treats

Please wear comfortable shoes that allow for movement and physical activity. Also, due to space restrictions, we cannot accommodate more than two people in attendance per dog. We also ask that any children who attend the training are over 12 years of age. 

Pet Academy Courses

Puppy Basic (0 to 6 months): This is the most important class you’ll ever take with your puppy! We will help you get started off on the right paw with crate training, house training, how to handle mouthing and chewing, and introducing basic commands. Most importantly, there are lots of socialization opportunities and plenty of time for Q&A.

Saturday from 9:00am – 10:00am
Class Dates: 7/20, 7/27, 8/3, NO CLASS 8/10 and 8/17, 8/24, 8/31, 9/7
Registration Closed

Sundays from 10:30am – 11:30am
Class Dates: 7/21, 7/28, 8/4, NO CLASS 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, 9/1
Registration Closed

Tuesdays from 6:30pm to 7:30p
8/20, 8/27, 9/3, 9/10, 9/17, 9/24

Sundays from 10:30-11:30 
9/8, 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13

Saturdays from 9:00am to 10:00am 
9/14, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, NO CLASS 10/19, 10/26

Puppy Advanced (6 months to 12 months): Come! Learn how to be your dog’s trainer. This class is designed for puppies 6 months to one year with little or no training. Basic commands such as attention, stays, and recall are taught. There is also focus on managing challenging behaviors such as jumping up, excessive barking, leash walking, and of course, plenty of time for Q&A.

Thursdays from 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Class Dates: 8/22, 8/29, 9/5, 9/12, NO CLASS 9/19,  9/26, 10/3

Saturdays from 10:30am to 11:30am
Class Dates: 8/24, 8/31, 9/7, 9/14, 9/21, 9/28

Dog Basics (over 1 year old): It’s never too late or too early to learn basic manners. If you’re after a dog who comes when called, walks politely by your side, stays where asked, and sits to say hello to family members, guests, and strangers, Dog Basics is the perfect fit. We’ll turn your unruly, seemingly hearing-impaired pooch into a calm, focused, responsive companion.

No dates scheduled at this time. Please check back soon. 

Upcoming Workshops

Reactive Rover
Reactive Rover is a course designed to help owners with reactive dogs learn better management and handling skills. This course focuses on dogs that react negatively to other dogs and/or people exhibiting behaviors such as growling, barking, lunging, shaking, or shutting down in the presence of such stimuli. This workshop is limited to 4 spots.

Upcoming Reactive Rover Workshops
September 22nd | 1:00 – 3:00 PM | Register

Training Tips

How to Reduce Leash Pulling

Meet the Trainers

Angel Hammond
Angel Hammond is a graduate of the Fern Camacho Dog Training School and a member of Professional Animal Certification Council. She has been training dogs for five years and enjoys bridging the communication gap between pets and their owners and remains committed to providing the most effective, convenient solutions to pet owners and their dogs training needs. Angel avidly pursues ongoing continuing education and professional development by attending several seminars per year and keeping current on all industry literature. Angel prides herself in making sure clients feel successful as a team with their dog. When not helping clients to enjoy easier lives with their canine companions, Angel enjoys spending time with her husband and four dogs.

Jonathan Horwitz 
Jonathan is the newest addition to the VBSPCA Pet Academy. Born and raised in Virginia Beach, he graduated from Frank W. Cox, and traveled to Israel to participated in a 9 month long youth leadership building program called Nativ. While there Jon took college classes and volunteered as an educator in a childrens’ school in the town of Yerucham.When Jon returned to the United States he graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S degree in Criminal Justice. He returned to Virginia Beach and found his passion with working with animals. While working as a handler at a local dog daycare he began doing research to help maintain a safe environment for the dogs. From this thirst for knowledge came the introduction to Crystal Partain, a professional dog trainer with the Freckled Paw. From their first conversation Jon came to realize his methods to maintain a safe environment was based on learning theory and animal behaviors. After a few more meetings Crystal decided to take Jon under her wing, and under her tutelage Jon has realized his passion for dog training. Now working for the Freckled Paw as a professional dog trainer, Jonathan is excited to join the VBSPCA family and help new parents learn how to better the lives of their puppies!