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Dog Training Classes

Basic Manners


Supervised Puppy Play Group

Mondays 5:30pm


Drop-ins welcome

Puppies 8-16 weeks

Wouldn't it be fun to watch your new family member learn and interact with other puppies in a supervised environment geared just for them? Providing puppy socialization is the process of positive exposure to new experiences, situations, physical environments, people of all ages, and other animals.  The purpose is to enable your puppy to develop the coping skills he needs to have a stable temperament and happy life. 

Due to the nature of the class, puppies are required to be between the ages of 8-16 weeks.  This is open enrollment/drop-in format geared toward socialization.  Puppies must have their first distemper shot.  Please bring a record of the vaccination with you the first time you come.

 Each class includes the following opportunities for your new puppy:

*supervised play with other puppies

*experience with different surfaces and textures

*confidence building

Trainer: Susan Morris


Pawsitively Puppy

Wednesdays 5:00 pm 

(open enrollment)

6 weeks $165

Puppies ages 3-6 mos 

Class size limited 

See Calendar for Times

This class is designed to help you build a strong loving relationship with  your new puppy.  Getting a puppy is a lifelong commitment and our class will help you both start off your journey together filled with useful and fun information.


*House Training

*Solving chewing problems

*Socialization with other dogs and people

*Coming when called

*Constructive play training

*Stress free veterinary visits and grooming ideas

*Sit and Down

*Leave It and Wait 

Trainer: Johana Stewart, CPDT-KA

Contact us to  register


Manners and More Part 1

Wednesdays 6:00 pm 

(open enrollment)

6 weeks $165

Dogs 6 months and older

Class size limited 

See Calendar for Times

This class will be taught using positive reinforcement via food, praise, and toys. It will focus on teaching exercises that will help to build  a strong relationship with your dog while developing manners to help make them a welcome family member in all areas of your life.




*Greeting people 

*Loose leash walking

*Coming when called



*Leave it

*Solving chewing problems

*Games and tricks

Trainer: Johana Stewart, CPDT-KA

Contact us to register


Manners and More Part 2

Tuesdays 6:30 pm

6 weeks $165

Dogs 6 months and older

Class size limited 

See Calendar for Times

Reinforces training concepts and techniques learned in initial manners class. Specific focus on jumping, loose-leash walking and recall, plus expands proficiency with increasing the four D’s; distance, duration, distraction, and diversity. Develops a well-mannered dog and prepares you and your dog to transition to Canine Good Citizen level.

*Recommended pre-requisite: Manners Part 1

 Instructor: Laurie Merritt 

Contact us to register

Additional Classes


Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

Tuesdays 6:00pm

6 weeks $165

Dogs 6 months and older 

Class size is limited

*Pre-requisite: Manners and More Part 1 and 2 

Nationally recognized AKC certification identifies your dog as a well-mannered dog and you as a responsible dog owner. Demonstrate proficiency of training without the aid of treats, toys, restrictive collars or harnesses. The CGC course prepares you and your dog for mastering 10 practical exercises. 

1. Accepting a friendly stranger

2. Sitting politely for petting

3. Appearance and grooming

4. Walking on a loose leash

5. Walking through a crowd

6. Sit and down on command and staying in place

7. Coming when called

8. Reaction to another dog

9. Reacting (or not reacting) to a distraction

10. Supervised separation

**Some insurances will accept ‘restricted dog breeds’ with CGC certification in homeowner policies.

Instructor: Laurie Merritt

Contact us to  register 


Novice Tricks

Tuesdays 5:30 pm 

4 weeks $120

Dogs 6 months and older 

Class size is limited

*Pre-requisite: Manners and More Part 1.


Nationally recognized AKC certification and title. Fine tunes your training techniques and sharpens your dog’s responsiveness. Requires your dog to use their brain and brain work is as exhausting as running a marathon. (And you don’t have to run!) The Novice Tricks course teaches you and your dog to master 10 tricks from the AKC list. 

1. Balance beam (walk on board a few inches off the floor) 

2. Bark on cue (“Speak”) 

3. Crawl (dog on belly, crawls at least 3 body lengths) 

4. Fetch it (ball, etc., 10 ft. away, bring to handler within 2 ft) 

5. Find it (find treat or scent item hidden under 1 cup or object) 

6. Get your _______. (Leash, brush, name of toy) 

7. Get in (gets in box) 

8. Sits in box (on cue) 

9. Get on (gets on low platform or step - 4 paws) 

10. Hand signals (Choose one: down, sit, or come) 

11. High five 

12. Hold (3 seconds) 

13. Jump (thru a low hoop or over a low bar) 

14. Kennel up (go in crate, stay in until released) 

15. Kiss (point to cheek or back of hand) 

16. Paws up (2 front paws on low stool or step)

17. Push-ups (sit, down, sit, down, sit, down) 

18. Shake hands 

19. Spin in circle 

20. Touch it (hand or target stick) 

21. Tunnel (agility tunnel or child’s tunnel)

Instructor: Laurie Merritt

 Contact us to  register 


K9 Nose Work® Foundation

Fridays 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Instructor Laurie Merritt, CPDT-KA CNWI (NACSW.NET)

6 weeks $165

Class size is limited

Dogs will need to be able to relax in their vehicle between working turns. The activity and sport of K9 Nose Work® are open to virtually all dogs and their people. 

 The K9 Nose Work® journey can begin at any stage of your dog's life, and lasts a lifetime. It brings out the best in your dog, and brings you both closer. You and your dog set the pace and tell the story for your journey. If your goal is to make K9 Nose Work® a regular play activity, there is no end to the games you can enjoy. If you and your dog are destined to face new and greater challenges together and experience the excitement of competition, K9 Nose Work® is also an organized, titling sport with official trials across the nation. 

Instructor: Laurie Merritt, CPDT-KA, CNWI 

Contact us to  register 

Susan B. Morris


     Sue has always loved dogs. Her interest in dog training started by accident when she rescued  a beagle at her place of work that  had been brought in for euthanasia simply because he would not hunt. She brought him to classes at the local YMCA so they could learn to walk on leash and not to pull her or her children.

    From there she  became interested in AKC obedience competition where she eventually  competed at the highest levels .  After her beagle, Ringer, passed away,  Sue obtained a new golden retriever partner to train and compete with named Hunter who, in Sue's words, "made her look good in the obedience ring."

   Working  as a veterinary technician for 30 plus years is where she learned much about animal behavior and how to bring about the best possible experience while working with animals that are nervous, in pain, or just unsure.

   She is the mother of three grown children and a proud "Nonie" to four grandchildren.  Sue has also authored a book titled " Ringer" based on her experiences while training her dog , that not only made him a better companion but helped her learn to be a  better parent.  Patience and consistency were key.

   Sue's current companion," Rookie" is the great grandson to Hunter. Rookie is her service dog as Sue has multiple sclerosis and says that having dogs has kept her active and allows her to remain independent.  BoSox is joining the family soon to become Rookiie's future successor as a service d

Johana Stewart CPDT-KA


 Johana has 15 plus years of training experience working with shelters, rescues, and training facilities.  She has taught family group dog classes, as well as individual private lessons for basic obedience and problem solving. 

   In her early 20’s, Johana developed a passion for teaching dogs and their humans to have the best possible relationships.  When she became home to a Boxer puppy named Ellie, Johana discovered she was poorly bred and not well socialized.  At 8 weeks old Ellie would snarl, growl, and snap at humans whom she deemed to be a threat to her resources.  None the less, Johana decided that it was responsibility to make sure Ellie had the best life possible.  Through research, training, trial and error, and lots of time and patience, Ellie became a well-adjusted, confident dog and so sparked Johana’s passion for teaching dogs and humans to successfully cohabitate.

   From there Johana moved on to shelter and rescue volunteering where she fostered and trained countless dogs in an effort to help them find forever homes.  She then continued on her path to becoming a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.  

   Johana’s training style is based on a strong knowledge of learning theory, positive reinforcement, relationship building, and of course... having FUN!  She is a firm believer that dogs want to learn from their humans.  Teaching them the ropes of human life should be fun and enriching for the whole family.  Johana is fully committed to the success of you and your dog.    

Laurie Merritt CPDT-KA CNWI ANWI


     Laurie began training dogs in 1974, starting  with her own Siberian Huskies.  Initially Laurie's dogs competed in AKC obedience and conformation, earning numerous titles and often placing in the classes.  More recently Laurie has enjoyed teaching and competing in freestyle and K9 Nose Work®. Nose Work® has proven to be the most interesting and thought provoking of the dog sports Laurie has committed to. 

     Laurie's current training partner, Darwin "Winiaken's Intelligent Design BN RN FD NW1" has proven to be a smart, eager, and patient teammate from whom Laurie has learned a great deal. While they dabble in K9 freestyle and obedience, their primary focus is Nose Work®.

     Laurie has been involved in dog related activities and clubs for over 40 years.  She has served in many capacities ranging from club officer positions in all breed and specialty clubs to trail crew boss for the Sandwich Notch 60 Sled Dog Race.  Springfield KC has been grateful for her expertise as chairperson in both rally and obedience.

     For more than 20 years, Laurie has been conducting dog training classes and providing in-home training and consults.  She  has worked for several obedience and all-breed clubs and has taught classes at two Massachusetts training centers.  Classes included basic family dog, competition obedience, rally, breed handling, K9 freestyle and Nose Work®.  During the past year, Laurie's students in both freestyle and Nose Work® have earned numerous titles, even though very few of them initially had any intention of competing. 

     Here's hoping everyone can find the magic of this sport and others offered at Paw Plaza!