Puppy School FAQs: Already Enrolled

Is your puppy already enrolled at Dog Therapy? Learn all about Puppy School.

Thinking about enrolling your puppy and need to know more? Click here to get started.

PUPPY’S FIRST DAY & GETTING STARTED

I signed up, how do I know I am all set for the first day?

Once you’ve completed the Registration form, you will receive an automated email letting you know we’ve received your info and are reviewing it. Within 24 hours you will receive a message confirming your first day of Puppy School. 

We try to make the first day the date you requested, but sometimes there are already puppies starting that day. We will contact you to let you know and schedule a different first day if necessary.

All puppies must have their vaccination records submitted before they start, so be sure to either upload or email those records to us. 

 

What kinds of vaccinations does my dog need?

Puppies must have received their second DAP vaccine to start school. This is the standard “booster” shot that you will get on your first visit to the vet with your new puppy. Puppies usually receive the first shot from the shelter or breeder before they get to you. 

We also require the Bordetella vaccine, but please note that having the Bordetella vaccine does not prevent your puppy from getting “Kennel Cough.” (See below for more information on illnesses.)

 

What time should we be there for the first day? When should we plan to pick up?

On their first day puppies must arrive at 7:30 a.m. This gives them time to explore and bond with us a bit before their new friends start arriving at 8. Coming into a group is very intimidating, but meeting their friends one at a time is much less scary. 

 

What do I need to bring?

We provide kibble, treats, and toys. You just bring the puppy! 

 

Should my dog wear a harness/collar to school? Do you need the leash?

Collars are welcome, but no “choke” or martingale style collars. Harnesses should be removed before your pup comes in. Leashes and harnesses can be left on the rack at the door if you do not wish to take them with you. 

 

Where can I park when we get there?

The best place to park is in front of our building. Please do NOT park in the driveway to the left of the building. The landscaping company behind us moves trucks in and out throughout the day, and you don’t want to be in the way.

 

How do I pick up/drop off my dog?

Please keep your pup ON LEASH during pick up and drop off. 

In order to prevent separation anxiety, we ask that puppy parents act casual about picking up and dropping off. Try to make it no big deal!

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we are limiting pickups and dropoffs to one person at a time. Please be mindful of other parents who may be waiting to come in.

 

How do I pay?

We require all clients to have a credit card on file. We also take cards in person should you wish to use a different one for payment. 

If you choose to do 5 Packs, each day will be deducted from your package at the end of the day. If you do not choose to do a package, your card will be billed for a single day ($35).

 

How often should my dog come to school?

As much as possible! You have a very brief window of time in which to socialize your puppy, so you want to do as much as you can while they’re young. 

Puppies must attend at least once a week in order to maintain a spot in our program. We recommend a few times a week in order to get the most out of it, especially when they first begin. 

 

What vaccines does my dog need? 

Puppies must have received their second DAP vaccine to start school. This is the standard “booster” shot that you will get on your first visit to the vet with your new puppy. Puppies usually receive the first shot from the shelter or breeder before they get to you. 

We also require the Bordetella vaccine, but please note that having the Bordetella vaccine does not prevent your puppy from getting “Kennel Cough.” (See below for more information on illnesses.)

Puppies must have their Rabies vaccine by 6 months of age. Please keep us updated as they continue to receive vaccinations.

 

When should I get my dog fixed?

We require all dogs to be fixed by 8 months of age in order to continue to attend Dog Therapy. 

 

What if my dog has special needs?

We welcome special needs pups! We’ve had experience with dogs that were deaf or blind, and others with mobility issues. If your puppy has special needs please contact us so we can make a plan.

 

Can my dog wear clothes in school?

They can, but anything that can be grabbed and chewed will probably be removed. :)


 

ABOUT RESERVATIONS & PAYMENTS

What days and times is Dog Therapy open?

We are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

 

Do I need to make a reservation after my puppy’s first day?
No you don’t! After the first day there’s no need to schedule, and your pup is welcome to come any day you’d like. 
Please drop your puppy off between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. If you need to drop off after 11 a.m. you can contact us by email at info@dogtherapyboston.com to arrange a later time.

Pick up any time before 6 p.m.

Are you open on weekends? Holidays? Do you do overnights? 

We are closed on weekends, as well as Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. We are open regular hours on all other holidays.

We do not offer overnights, but we do have several trusted puppy-sitters we can refer you to!

How much does Puppy School cost? Do you offer packages? Discounts?

Puppy School is $35 per day.

We offer a 5 pack for $150. This package lasts for 21 days from the first day of use. If your puppy is attending at least twice a week, you can save $5 a day.

Where can I check how many days I’ve already paid for?

You can log into our Customer Portal here at any time. The balance of days you currently have will be in the bottom left of your page. 

Do packages get put on pause for illness?

Absolutely! Please let us know right away if your puppy has any medical issues. Any days you have already purchased will be put on hold until they’re feeling better. 

Can I pay with cash?

We are currently not accepting cash due to Covid-19 precautions.


 

A REGULAR DAY AT PUPPY SCHOOL

ABOUT COVID-19

What are you doing about COVID?

Masks are required of all humans inside Dog Therapy. We have increased ventilation and are adhering to social distancing rules. In order to maintain distance, your dog will enter and exit through their own special door, and we are not accepting items from home (leashes, lunches, etc.) 

When picking up or dropping off, we ask that only one person at a time come in. Please be mindful of other puppy parents that may be waiting to come in.

PICKUPS AND DROP OFFS

What time do I need to drop off/pick up?  

Please drop your puppy off between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Pick up is any time by 6 p.m.

Can I drop off my dog late? 

If you need to drop off after 11 a.m. you can contact us by email at info@dogtherapyboston.com to arrange a later time. Just keep in mind that nervous dogs don’t like coming into a large excited group, so they probably want to arrive on the earlier side. 

What if I’m going to be late picking my dog up?

Dogs must be picked up by 6 p.m. Since we don’t offer overnight boarding, we do not have 24 hour staff. Puppies also HATE being left at school late - it makes them sad and worried. Please make arrangements to have someone else pick them up if necessary, and contact us if there is an issue with pick up.

Can someone else pick up my dog?

Yes - just let us know if you have someone new picking up!

FOOD & DRINK

When do the puppies eat?

We have “snack time” every day at noon.

What kind of food do you give them?

We use a limited ingredient kibble in order to limit tummy upsets - ingredients include lamb meal and brown rice and can be found here.

For occasional treats we use Mother Hubbard Bitz - ingredients here.

Can my dog have a special lunch?

We are not currently accepting lunches from home. 

What if my dog has allergies?

Please let us know of any allergies and we’ll see what we can do. Unfortunately since we do use food in our training, we can not guarantee that your dog will not eat any. 

Do you give them water?

Absolutely - puppies have unlimited access to water bowls and fountains.

SCHOOL & PLAY

What is a normal day like?

The mornings are for crazy play time. We spend that time refereeing puppy play to make sure everyone is having fun and following the rules. At noon we have snack time, and after snack we do some desensitization work. We introduce them to various noises, sights, equipment - everything from wheelchairs to umbrellas. In the afternoon we have some human visitors come by, just to keep the puppies used to new people. By the late afternoon some of the pups are tired, so there’s usually a relaxation time. (We hesitate to call it a “nap” time.) Of course puppies are always able to get away from it all and have a rest.

Will you teach my dog commands?

We try to avoid verbal commands as much as possible, because different people use different commands and we don’t want to counter anything you’re doing at home. Most of the training we do is just positive reinforcement for good behaviors, and gentle redirection of bad behaviors.

We do use the puppy’s name a lot, to help their name recognition and response. We also use the word “outside” to refer to the outdoor potty area, and we “shhh” them to remind them about inside voices.

 

What will you teach my dog?

  • We teach puppies that humans and other dogs are their friends. 

  • We encourage good manners like not jumping on people or biting too hard. 

  • We referee a lot of puppy play to make sure everyone is having fun. 

  • We work on potty training and using inside voices, and responding when someone calls you.

 

Do you take the puppies on walks?

We do not take the puppies outside of our building. Since most of them are not good on leash yet, we do not give walks. 

 

POTTY

Where do they go to the bathroom?

We have a securely fenced outdoor area, and all puppies are encouraged to go to the bathroom there.

 

How do you handle potty training?

The majority of potty training is just repetition. It also helps to have someone there to watch your pup all the time and show them where to go. When a pup has an accident, we gently tell them “outside” and bring them out there. If they go in the right place they get treats and lots of praise. Sometimes you have to do this A LOT before the puppy gets it. 

 

OTHER PUPPIES (AND SOME DOGS)

How many puppies are there each day?

Most days we host between 25 and 30 puppies.

 

How do you separate the smaller dogs from the larger?

We do not separate the puppies by size, but they usually do it on their own. Dogs tend to find friends with similar play styles, and in puppies a lot of it has to do with age. They tend to group by age first, and are more drawn to dogs of a similar size. We encourage the little ones in particular to make tiny friends, because it gives them a sense of security. But puppies also make friends across the size gap, and we’ve seen big guys whose best friends were Yorkies. No matter what size they are, we try to teach everyone how to play together. 

How can I find out who my dog’s friends are?

We’ll usually let you know at pick-up who your dog was playing with the most and who their best friends are. You should also check out our instagram story that day to see your pup playing with their buddies. We try to tag everyone so you can follow them. http://instagram.com/dogtherapypups 


Why is that dog so big? 

We get some big puppies! Larger pups usually graduate by 6 months, but you’d be amazed how much growing they can do in that time. We also have a few bigger Canine Counselors - special dogs who have gone through our program and still like puppies as adult dogs. A nice big dog is great for teaching smaller dogs not to be scared.

What is a counselor? Can my dog be one?

Canine Counselors are like camp counselors - they’re not that much older, so they still like to play. But they’re gentle with smaller dogs and usually a bit lower energy. Most importantly, they like puppies. Most adult dogs find puppies annoying because they don’t have manners yet. Our Counselors are patient with puppies, which means they can help them learn. 

Most dogs don’t become Counselors, because it’s rare for them to want to. At a certain point dogs become teenagers and decide they’re too mature for babies and want older friends. Or they have too much energy to burn and need a bigger space. But if your dog is lazy and has a strong maternal instinct, they may be Counselor material!

 

Who is Shortbread? (And what’s that other dog’s name?)

Shortbread is one of our Canine Counselors and the unofficial mascot of Dog Therapy. He’s in almost every day, and he will be happy to give you a traditional Pug greeting. He doesn’t belong to us, we just love him like he does.

You can check out the names and profiles of the other dogs in school by checking our Instagram story! We try to tag everyone so you can get to know your pup’s friends.

http://instagram.com/dogtherapypups 

Is Dog Therapy on Instagram? Will I get to see my puppy and the other puppies? Can you link to my dog?

Absolutely! Please check our story to see who’s in school, and marvel at how many dogs will smile in the class pictures!

http://instagram.com/dogtherapypups 

Here’s a tip, in case you’re not a regular Instagram user: To view the day’s story, go to our Instgram page linked above and click the account photo at the top. Stories are only available for 24 hours. Class pictures will be up forever!


 

BEHAVIOR

Why did my dog seem distressed at drop-off?

One of the hardest things for a dog to do is watch their human leave. Especially at first, they’re not sure you’re really coming back. This is difficult for both the human and the dog! The good news is that the more times you leave and come back, the more they believe that you always will. 

We do our best to distract your pup while you’re leaving, and usually within a few minutes they’re too busy with their friends to miss you. (This sounds mean but is a good thing.)

 

Is my dog a bad dog?

No! Puppies are born good, and it’s our job to keep them that way. They just need a lot of help understanding our crazy human rules. Your puppy is learning a LOT of information in a very short time, so it’s important to be patient when sometimes they don’t get it right.

 

What happens if my dog misbehaves? How do you discipline the dogs?

We don’t discipline the puppies, we only show them what they should be doing instead. If they have an accident inside, we show them the proper place outside. If they play too rough we temporarily remove them from the game by gently pulling them away and helping them to calm down. The only “punishment” puppies understand is if someone stops playing with them. This is how dogs do it - if you don’t play nicely, your playmate will leave the game. We just step in to reinforce the social cues they are giving each other, because sometimes they don’t pick up on it. 

What do you do about aggressive dogs?

It’s very rare for puppies to have aggression issues. Most of what looks like aggression is just normal puppy behavior (nipping, growling, teeth baring.) And unlike adult dogs, puppies don’t have real fights. They just have arguments - all the noise of a fight, none of the follow through. This gives us a great opportunity to step in and defuse situations before they become a problem. If a pup is getting too rough during play it can easily become a fight, so we pull them aside and work with them on calming down and playing appropriately. Scared dogs can also be aggressive dogs, so we work on desensitizing them to common stimuli that might frighten them. Our goal is to prevent aggression later in the dog’s life by dealing with any issues early on.

 

OTHER QUESTIONS

What cleaning chemicals do you use?

We use Nature's Miracle, Seventh Generation, and Simple Green during business hours. We also use Kennel Sol and bleach during our regular disinfections. (Not during business hours so as to limit any possible irritation.)

 

Do you have a lost and found?

We do - there is a basket by the front door, beneath the leash rack.


 

ABOUT VISITORS

Do you allow visitors? What people will my dog be exposed to?

Prior to Covid-19 we allowed visitors for several hours each day. Unfortunately that isn’t possible right now, but we still want the puppies to get used to the idea of new people coming in. We have a few longtime visitors that we allow to come in and play with the pups so they still get human time.


 

ABOUT ILLNESS, INJURY & SICK PUPPIES

What if my dog isn’t feeling well before we go to puppy school for the day?

If your puppy isn’t feeling well, please keep them home from school. This is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of illness. Dogs never social distance! If you notice symptoms like coughing or bad diarrhea, it’s very important you don’t bring them around other dogs until they’ve seen the vet.

 

What happens if my dog becomes ill or gets hurt while he’s at Dog Therapy?

If your puppy shows signs of illness while they’re at school, we will contact you immediately. Since we are a small facility, we do not have a separate quarantine area. We will separate your pup as best we can and call you to come pick them up. This is obviously not ideal for you or your puppy, so please be alert for any symptoms before you bring them in.

If your puppy has a medical emergency we will of course contact you and any other emergency contact you have listed. We are very close to Kindness Animal Hospital, and if necessary we will bring any seriously ill pup straight there. 

 

Do packages get put on pause for illness? (Do I lose days I’ve paid for if my puppy is sick?)

Of course - we don’t want anyone losing days because of illness. If your pup is out sick please let us know right away so we can preserve their space in class and put any package you have on hold until they’re better.

 

Where can I learn more about puppy illnesses?

Here are some of the most common puppy illnesses:

Giardia

Giardia is a very common single celled parasite that is shed in feces. It can infect a lot of mammals, not just dogs, which means that eating any animal’s poop can lead to infection. And it doesn’t take much infected poop to catch it - just drinking from a puddle or chewing on grass with some of the spores still attached can spread the parasite. Because it is in the natural environment, your dog does not have to be in direct contact with an infected dog to catch Giardia. 

The most common symptom is diarrhea, often with blood or mucus in it. If you notice this in your pup, keep them home and bring a sample to the vet for testing. We try to avoid possible spread by immediately cleaning up accidents and fully sanitizing the area, but if your pup likes to eat poop they can sometimes sneak by us. If we see that behavior we’ll let you know right away so you can inform your vet!

 

Kennel Cough

This is actually an umbrella term for a number of different infections, sort of the dog version of a “cold.” It can be a viral or bacterial infection of the upper respiratory system. The most common symptom is coughing, but coughing in dogs sounds very different than in humans. Please check out these videos so you can know what to listen for in your pup:

 

Puppy Coughing

Dog Coughing

 

Important note: One of the most common causes of Kennel Cough is Bordetella. We do require that puppies get vaccinated for Bordetella, but please note that this does NOT mean they can’t get Kennel Cough. Because it can be caused by a number of different infectious agents, even a vaccinated dog should be watched for Kennel Cough symptoms. 


 

ABOUT PUPPY GRADUATION

How will I know when my dog is ready to graduate?

Puppies graduate as they get bigger/older, but the most important factor is energy level. We’re a small facility - a more active pup will require more space to run. 

Bigger and more active dogs may graduate as early as 4-5 months. Even smaller or lazier dogs will eventually decide they’re too mature for puppies (usually around 6-9 months). You will be notified several weeks in advance if we think your pup might be getting ready for graduation, and we provide a list of local daycares and walking services we recommend.

Graduation varies by dog, but if you have a high energy pup they might only be with us for a short time. It’s still great practice for big kid daycare, and they’ll go in knowing how to make friends!


 

AT HOME

How tired will my dog be when he gets home?

Very! We have many little hiding spaces and a “quiet room” where pups can relax, and one of the rules we enforce is not to bother someone when they’re resting. Puppies can always take a break and nap if they want to, but they do a LOT of playing. Nothing wears a dog out like other dogs, so your puppy will go home tired. They get better at regulating themselves as they get older, but at first you may have to wake them for dinner. 

 

What can I do about separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a very common problem for dogs, especially now that people are home more. It’s natural for your puppy to want to be around you all the time, but it’s important to help them learn to be without you. You want to be able to leave your dog with a trusted human or on their own for a bit. And separation anxiety can lead to some really destructive behaviors. You definitely want to work on it early.

Puppies don’t know that when you leave you’re going to come back. You could be gone forever! They have to see it happen a few times to understand how it works. And some puppies have a much harder time with that than others. The more often you leave and come back, the more your puppy will trust that you will always do so. 

The best thing you can do to work on separation anxiety is to have frequent separations from your pup. Bring them to school, leave them with a friend for a bit, or just go outside without them. We try to keep anxious puppies distracted by us and their friends, we give them cuddles as needed, and we reward them when they’re able to calm down. Then later you come back to get them, and they get a little more sure of things. And repeat!

 

What else can we be doing to socialize?

Try to socialize your puppy as much as possible. That’s really difficult right now, as humans are forced to socialize less. But the more places you take him and the more people he meets, the better behaved he’ll be later. Get a leash long enough to socially distance and try to let him meet people on walks. Get to know other dogs in the neighborhood. 


 

CONTACTING DOG THERAPY

How can I contact you?

You can reach us at info@dogtherapyboston.com or at 781-609-7792.

(The phone may be difficult, so we recommend using email whenever possible.)

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

Email: info@dogtherapyboston.com

90 Linden Street, Waltham MA

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon