Bravery Class for Shy Dogs

Shy/fearful dogs often can’t enjoy common dog activities in the city because of their anxieties. Our Bravery classes provide a calm, quiet classroom environment that is uniquely suited for safe and comfortable relationship-building between owners and their shy dogs. Because each shy dog is different, we offer two different Bravery tracks – “People” and “Environments.” 

The “People” Bravery class is intended for dogs who may be scared when meeting new people or seeing strange people outside on walks or in the home. This class helps dogs learn to build positive associations to seeing and being greeted by new people.

The “Environments” Bravery class is intended for dogs who struggle to feel comfortable in new neighborhoods or scenarios, and who may be fearful of noises or easily startled when outside. This class will help dogs build positive associations to new situations, environments and sounds.

These classes are designed for dogs who may withdraw, avoid, cover, shy away, stall, or hesitate when uncomfortable, or who may be overwhelmed or shut down when in a standard group class setting.

The classroom setup provides a quiet environment in which dogs are visually separated from other dogs and people for most of class.

These classes are not suitable for dogs who have shown fear-based aggression or reactivity towards people or dogs, including lunging or having a history or incident of having bitten previously. If your dog fits this description, your needs will be better met by working with a private trainer (either here or at home), or a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist who can help with a more personalized, low-stress training plan. 

For dogs who may find the classroom environment overwhelming, we also offer a limited number of auditing spaces for guardians who wish to learn these calming techniques and apply them in the comfort of their own home.  Contact us if you'd like to audit a class.

Frequency & Duration: Our standard Bravery classes are 1 hour per week for 5 weeks. (We also occassionally offer 4-week mini classes during the holiday season when schedules are tighter.) The first class meeting is a mandatory humans-only session, meeting jointly on Week 1 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm.

Fees: Five week class: $175 (If your dog was adopted from a shelter or 501(c)(3) rescue group, the fee is $150). 4-week mini class: $140 ($105 for rescue dogs).

Course prerequisites: Dogs must be 5 months or older and current on all vaccinations, including rabies, to participate. These classes are not suitable for dogs who have shown aggression or reactivity towards people or dogs, including lunging or having a history of having bitten previously. If you are not sure if this class is appropriate for your dog, please email dogtraining@sfspca.org or call 415-522-3509 before registering.

Location: 243 Alabama Street

Class includes: Handbook and soft-touch clicker

Class capacity: 6 dogs

Instructor: Althea Karwowski

Registration:

If you would like to register for a Bravery class, please fill out the Bravery Questionnaire. The instructor will review your form, and then we will contact you directly for registration.

Upcoming Classes:

  • People - Mondays, October 23 - November 20, 6:15 - 7:15 pm with Althea: Sorry, this section is full.
  • Environments - Mondays, October 23 - November 20, 7:30 - 8:30 pm with Althea
  • People - 4-week mini class - Mondays, November 27 - December 18, 6:15 - 7:15 pm with Althea
  • Environments - 4-week mini class - Mondays, November 27 - December 18, 6:15 - 7:15 pm with Althea

 

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