Pet Connections™ strives to be a leader in the education of dogs and their handlers, whether the goal is to have a great family dog or a highly-trained therapy dog to work in the community or in your therapy practice.

Class Details

7-week session

Includes training mat (handmade by Pet Connections)

Price: $130

Fall 2017 Session runs on Saturdays, September 16 – October 28


Level One: Connecting with Your Pet

Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pet Connections pre-screening process

This class is recommended for puppies 16 weeks and older. Dog handlers will learn how to:

  • Use basic cues (sit, stay, etc.)
  • Perform canine massages
  • Identify signs of stress and calming techniques
  • Utilize positive reinforcement
  • Use contextual positioning
  • Walking on a loose leash and on-leash recall

Upon completion, dogs and their handlers will be formally evaluated for basic obedience skills such as, “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and other skills. Dogs will be awarded either a letter of completion or, for promising students, a diploma. Those awarded a diploma are invited to complete a higher level of training required for a greater skill set and for volunteers visiting at public facilities.

Level Two: Connecting with Your Pet & Others

Saturdays, 10 – 11 a.m.

Prerequisite: Graduation from Level I: Connecting with Your Pet and/or successful re-evaluation by the Pet Connections program manager in a novel setting with people who have varying levels of disabilities

This course will build on skills acquired in Level One and give handler-dog teams the abilities to work with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Handlers will learn how to empower people with different levels of abilities to direct their dog, resulting in a deeper human-animal bond. Your canine will become more proficient and acquire the ability to perform in different circumstances.

Dogs and their handlers will gain more complex, advanced skills including:

  • Clicker training and verbal markers
  • Animal welfare and the 5 Freedoms
  • Types of reinforcement
  • Advanced cues such as leave it, go to your mat, release words and stand
  • Intro to working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have varying needs
  • Interacting with children
  • Working alongside other dogs

Upon completion, dogs and their handlers will be awarded either a letter of completion or a diploma, and offered the opportunity to take the test for Canine Good Citizen or for registration with Therapy Dog International. Those awarded a diploma are also invited to advance their studies with a higher set of skills to become eligible to work with therapists on specific physical and cognitive interventions.

Already a Registered Therapy Dog?

Then, join the Pet Connections™ family today! Your dog will still be required to go through a screening process to determine if they would be a good fit to visit our programs, which serve individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Some registered therapy animals may need further training to adjust to the needs of the people we support. Handlers will need to provide proof of certification, medical evaluation documentation, and liability insurance.

To schedule a Pet Connections™ screening, please contact Gail Furst at or (585) 919-2146.


Enroll Today

Please complete the enrollment form and submit your payment below.

Enrollment Form

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Session Information

Level 1 is for handlers and their dogs that have not taken an obedience class. Classes run seven weeks and are held at 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Level 2 requires previous obedience work. Canine Good Citizen and/or Therapy Dog International evaluations are offered at class completion. Classes run seven weeks and are held at 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Class sizes are limited

 Level 1 Level 2

Handler Information

 Yes No

Canine Information

 Yes No

Pet Connections Agreement

I understand that attendance of a dog obedience class is not without risk to myself, to members of my family or guests who may attend, or to my dog(s). Some of the dogs to which I will be exposed may be difficult to control, and may be the cause of injury, even when handled with the greatest degree and amount of care.

I agree to hold the instructors of Pet Connections (and Ontario ARC) harmless for any claims for any loss or injury which may be alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly to any person or things by the act of my dog while in or upon the training areas, or near the entrance thereto, and I personally assume all responsibility and liability for any such claim; I further agree to hold the above parties harmless for any claim for damage, or injury to my dog, whether such loss, theft disappearance, damage or injury be caused or alleged to be caused by the negligence of the above parties, or by the negligence of any other person, or any other cause or causes. I further agree that this Agreement is binding for this and any subsequent classes that I attend.

No refunds of any kind will be made after the session has begun.

I agree with the above statement.

Parent or legal guardian must sign for anyone under the age of 18.

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Class Level