Special Event Notices

  New for 2014:

Basic obedience classes will offer open enrollment – no more waiting for the next six week class to begin. Active volunteers of animal welfare organizations and rescue groups can audit classes to further their education. A preparation class will be offered for pet parents who need to know how to start their dog at home BEFORE entering a group class. For more information, email info@myauntpenny.com or call 724-515-7790

To register for a class: start by expanding the date, click on the plussignin the right of the calendar section. This will open up the calendar details where you will find the registration form.

Reactive Dogs Class @ Level Green Community Center
Sep 25 @ 7:30 pm – Oct 30 @ 8:30 pm

In this class you will learn to:

  • Lower stress,
  • Build calmness and attention,
  • Train alternate behaviors to reactivity or over arousal,
  • Reinforce the absence of reactivity,
  • Build your dog’s confidence and trust in you.

Is this class right for your dog? Click here to find out.

Fee for six-week course:  $190 per dog (includes both spouses). To register, CLICK HERE

You may also attend just the seminar or audit the class without your dog (see details below.)

Click here to find out what to bring to the Reactive Dog class.

Click here for the Behavior Questionnaire.

Important Scheduling Info:  The first night of class is a seminar from 7:30-9 p.m. for humans only (no dogs). Other classes are from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Class Size:  Working spots are limited to five dogs per class, so don’t wait to register! Unlimited auditing spots are available (observe without your dog).

You may register to attend just the seminar that is given on the first night of class.  This seminar is included with registration for working or auditing spots.

You will learn about reasons for reactivity, gain a better understanding of your dog’s body language so you have critical information about his emotional state of mind and be introduced to some tools and techniques we will use to manage your dog’s reactivity.

Fee for seminar only: $30 per person. To register, CLICK HERE.

You may register to attend the 6-week class without your dog and observe the class. This also includes the first night’s seminar.  You can also register to be on the waiting list for a working spot. Occasionally, there are withdrawals due to unforeseen circumstances after the first class.

Fee to audit without your dog: $120 per person. To register, CLICK HERE.

What is a Reactive Dog?

Reactive dogs are not hard to spot. While on leash your feisty Fido may lunge at nearby people or dogs. He may also bark loudly and/or growl and he may even try to bite anyone who tries to get close.

A reactive dog can appear threatening to other people as he jumps, barks and stares. Reactive dogs tend to stress out their owners who try to keep passersby safe from their intimidating or noisy best friend.

This aggression is fear-based and the behavior is called reactivity. On the other end of the spectrum is the dog that’s too afraid to go anywhere and who will hide, tremble or whine. If your dog can’t calm down within a few seconds, he’s probably a reactive dog.

There is no need to feel lost or confused when your dog becomes reactive. This class will help you change or manage a dog that overreacts in new situations or with new people or other dogs while on leash.

Your feisty Fido will learn how to feel more confident and comfortable in different situations, as well as around others, and he will gain more trust in you. We will work to change your dog’s problem behaviors and replace them with more appropriate behaviors.

You will have new skills to utilize in these once-stressful situations, and you will relax knowing what to do and how to avoid or manage triggers that were once unpredictable. You will learn to read your dog and communicate on a different level.

In the Reactive Dog class you will:

  • Acquire the tools you need to understand and handle your dog with confidence.
  • Learn what your leash-reactive dog is doing, why he’s doing it and how to change it.
  • Teach your dog to relax, trust and overcome fear and anxiety – the root of his reactivity.
  • Develop a better working relationship with your dog.
  • Learn how to decrease the stress in your dog and teach him confidence and focus. With decreased stress, real learning can begin.
  • Learn calming and management techniques, coping responses, and emergency escape exercises.
  • Work with your dog in a controlled, supportive environment with a small group of dog owners who understand your issues because they share them.

In class, the dogs will be separated from each other by the use of visual barriers. Slowly, as you gain skills and your dog gains confidence and starts to shed fears, the individual dogs will begin to work together from a decreasing distance. The counter-conditioning, desensitization training and handling techniques are personalized for each dog’s emotional readiness and needs.

The Reactive Dog class is initially held indoors. As the dogs and owners gain skills we move to a secure, fenced area outside and finally graduate to a real-life environment. 

Who is this class NOT appropriate for?

(All of the behaviors listed below are best handled in a private session; they are not addressed in this class.)
  • Dogs whose only issue is guarding resources such as their food dish or toys.
  • Dogs that jump on people in a friendly manner. We can address that issue in basic manners class, nuisance behaviors class or a private lesson. That is not fear-based reactivity.
  • Dogs who are primarily scared of noises.
  • Dogs who fight with the other dog(s) in their household but are fine with dogs outside the home.
  • Dogs who have bitten a person. Aunt Penny must do a private consultation before admitting your dog into the Reactive Dog class.
  • Dogs who are only a problem to visitors inside the home but aren’t a problem on leash to people outside the home.

Note about equipment:

You will be required to bring a crate to classes 2, 3 and 4. A crate is an important place to keep your pet secure when he is not working, as well as a place for your dog to rest and process information. Ask us for our crate training handout if your dog is not familiar with being crated.

Feeling comfortable in a crate is a gift you teach your dog to prepare for travel or boarding, visits to the groomer or unexpected stays at your veterinarian. Want to make your dog more comfortable being in a crate? Set up a private lesson to work on this issue.

Return to top
Dogs & Storks – Magee Hospital @ Magee Womens Hospital of UPMC
Nov 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Dogs and Storks Licensed Presenter

Preparation makes all the difference in the world when it comes to safety and harmony between a new baby and family dog. This two hour Dogs and Storks TM program provides consistent and current information, offering solutions and addressing common challenges that expectant or new parents may experience.

Topics covered include your pregnancy and your dog, concerns about jealousy and acceptance of the baby, setting up your home environment for safety, introducing your dog to your baby, the subtle body language of dogs, and fun ways to include your dog in daily activities from the start.

This program is taught by Penny Layne CPDT-KA, Pennsylvania state representative for the International Family Paws Parent Education program, who is also a certified professional dog trainer with over 20 years’ experience.

Please do not bring your dog to class.

Register Now: https://classes.upmc.com/Consumer/Classes.aspx