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Puppy Preschool Classes in Asheville

Puppy Preschool socialization at Animal Hospital of North Asheville teaches puppies healthy social skills through positive activities aimed at encouraging investigation and interaction in a  positive and supervised environment.

*In accordance to regulations to prevent COVID-​19, we are unable to hold in hospital Preschool Sessions. We are currently offering Puppy Preschool Support online for puppy families. To sign up, please email us.

About Puppy Preschool

The experiences your puppy has between three to sixteen weeks of age form lasting social behaviors. For this reason, it is critical for puppies to have many positive experiences with new people, sights, smells, sounds, and other dogs during this period.

Puppy Preschool classes are designed to help create more of these positive experiences. We'll work with you to socialize your puppy with other people, other puppies, and common situations, and to strengthen your bond with your new best friend at the same time.​Puppy Preschool is for puppies who are 8-16 weeks of age and have fulfilled the requirements

Sign Up For Puppy Preschool

Behavior Training, Asheville Vet

Puppy Preschool Sessions

Puppy Preschool is open enrollment, meaning you and your puppy can sign up week to week while they are in the age range. Just be sure to contact us ahead of time to book a space in the next available class.

Once signed up, please arrive for your Puppy Preschool session 5 minutes before your session.

The session begins with the puppies practicing “sit” or other focused commands, to let them know they need to be settled before they get to play.

After that, each class has four basic elements.

Puppy-to-Puppy Socialization

During puppy-to-puppy socialization, your puppy will meet and get to know other pups of various breeds and sizes and with different play styles.

These interactions will help teach your puppy important canine communication skills, and how to get along with other dogs.

Training Topics

We will introduce you to positive training methods and explain how to teach your pup simple behaviors. Topics include clicker training, leave it/drop it, hand targeting, polite greetings, nail trimming, dental care and more.

For more in depth obedience training, we recommend signing up for a basic manners class with one of these recommended trainers


 We will introduce your puppy to a variety of stimuli, to build confidence, including obstacle courses, different surface textures, people in different costumes, scent games, puzzle toys, household items, sounds and toys.

Puppy-to-People Socialization

It is crucial that your puppy meets lots of different, unfamiliar people. Your pup will have the chance to socialize with other puppy parents in a low stress setting.

Puppy Preschool FAQs

  • Why socialize my puppy?

    There is a variety of benefits, both for you and for your dog, ensuring that your puppy is properly socialized from an early age.

    With good socialization, your dog will learn how to properly interact with other dogs and humans, as well as how to behave in a variety of social situations. This helps your dog establish healthier relationships with you and his or her canine friends, which leads to a happier life.

    As the family of a well socialized dog, you'll have a pet that knows how to behave, that is well adjusted and pleasant to interact with. This will reduce your stress levels and keeps you and your dog safer.

  • Does proper socialization really keep dogs safe?

    Learning to feel at ease with humans and other dogs, and to understand social cues, will make your dog more confident and relaxed in social situations.

    Dogs that know how to behave in social situations are less likely to become scared and bolt, and they are also less likely to have negative interactions with other dogs.

  • How do I sign my puppy up for Puppy Preschool?

    Please sign up for Puppy Preschool during your puppy's exam visit. Or, you can email or call (828) 253-3393 prior to class. Spaces fill up quickly so please sign up early. Please call to notify us if you are unable to attend so that we can fill the space for that night.

  • Where do Puppy Preschool clases take place?

    Puppy Preschool is held on Thursday nights the Education Room at Animal Hospital of North Asheville. We have an area for the larger puppies and another area for the smaller puppies. Each class is structured to meet the ages and sizes of the puppies.

    We offer weekly sessions from 7:00pm-8:00pm. Depending on the number of puppies who are signed up, we may open an additional class from 5:30-6:30pm on Thursday nights. Each class will have the same topic. When you sign up, you will be given options of what classes are offered with open spaces. 

  • What are the requirements for participating in Puppy Preschool?
    • You must have a working email on file to receive weekly updates and information about class. 
    • Puppies can attend preschool while they are 8-16 weeks old
    • Puppies must live in your home for at least ten days before their first preschool class
    • All puppies must have received at least their first physical exam at Animal Hospital of North Asheville and have received their first DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenzana and parvo virus) and at least 10 days before their first preschool class.
    • Bordetella vaccination must be given at least 2 days before the first class. '
    • At each class, you must certify that your puppy is not showing any signs of illness such as: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, ocular or nasal discharge, loss of appetite, etc. Puppies who have recently had any type of surgery should return to class only after finishing the instructed recovery period.
    • Puppies who have recently had any type of surgery should return to class only after finishing the prescribed recovery period.
    • This is a free class with open enrollment, which means you can join at any time. Each session is completely separate from the previous classes. You must  register for each class you would like to attend by the end of the Wednesday the day before class. Please be aware that some classes may already be full.
    • Due to space limitations, please limit family members to 2 adults or 2 adults and 1 child. If you would like to bring more than 2 people, please contact us so we can make arrangements.
    • We prefer the focus of the class be on puppies socializing with each other, so we ask that kids be over the age of 7 years old if attending.  If a child is accompanying an adult, please supervise the child’s interaction with the puppies.
    • We focus on positive reinforcement, so we do not allow choke collars, chains, shock collar, holding muzzles closed or hitting puppies as a correction. (see how to choose a trainer for more information)
    • Come ready to have fun and learn new things!
  • What should or shouldn't I bring with me for Puppy Preschool?

    Please have your puppy wear a regular (flat nylon or leather) collar or harness to class. Please keep your puppy on a short four to six-foot leash when entering class until instructed otherwise. Please, no Flexi/retractable leashes, choke collars, chains or shock collars. We will supply treats for positive reinforcement during preschool, but please feel free to bring your puppy's normal food/treats as young puppies may get an upset tummy after new foods.

  • How can I expect my puppy to behave during Puppy Preschool?

    Each puppy adjusts differently to puppy preschool. Many puppies may be a little shy or even a little overwhelmed at first by all the new puppies and people. This is normal. Your puppy may need to sit on your lap and observe for a while or maybe even for the whole first play session. Please allow your puppy to enter into playing and to explore at his own pace.

Certified Professional Dog Trainers

At this time AHNA does not offer training sessions. Here is a list of trainers in the surrounding areas that use positive force free methods.

  • The Dog Door Canine Services

    Kim Brophey, CDBC, CPDT-KA, BA

    Puppy training packages; behavior consultations (incl. aggression and complex problems); private obedience training; service and therapy dog training, and enrichment. Located: 1 Battle Square, 1-A, (across from the Grove Arcade)


  • Mindful Mutz Training and Behavior Counseling

    Heather Polechio, CPDT-KA, CTC, FPPE Licensed

    Puppy Foundations, Family Paws Education Courses geared to help young families and expectant parents safely navigate life with dogs and young children., Manners and Problem Solving, Rescue/Shelter Dog Support, Enrichment Outings, Behavior Consults (Anxiety, Aggression, Leash Reactivity, Multi-Dog Issues, Handling Problems or Sensitivities (discomfort in areas when being touched, especially at the vet or groomers) Extreme Phobias, Finding Harmonious Balance with Dogs and Children, Quality of Life issues.


    Phone: (828)-230-6389

  • McMillian Animal Behavior (Loehr Animal Behavior)

    Trish McMillan, MSc, CDBC, CPDT-KA

    Puppy and dog one-on-one obedience lessons, in-home consultations for dog (fearful, housetraining, separation anxiety, reactivity/aggression to other dogs, aggression towards humans, territorial behavior, resource guarding, handlings issues) and cat behavior problems (litter box, aggression fearful, scratching and more), dog group classes and workshops, in-home board and train, day training, clicker training for dogs and cats, adoption Animal Behavior consulting, socialization and horse behavior issues.


    Phone: (828) 575-8373


  • Sit, Stay, Bark, Play

    Rhonda Turpin, CPDT-KA

    Private obedience training (with owners); day training (without owners present); behavior consultations (specializing in shy and fearful dogs). Serves east Asheville, Fairview, Swannanoa, and Black Mountain.


    Phone: : (595) 905-8281

  • Loose Leash Academy

    Joann Rechtine CPDT-KA, MS, RN, CPC, MPH, Fear Free Certified Trainer

    Specializing in obedience, behavior problems, and therapy dog training. Works with puppies, newly adopted dogs and adult dogs. Providing seminars on behavior


    Phone: (828) 606-5109

  • True Connection Canine Education

    Jennifer King CPDT-KA

    Adult dog training, Puppy Training, Day Training and Behavior Consults. Service areas include Hendersonville, Brevard, South Asheville, Enka & Candler.


    Phone: (828) 329-2852


  • Behavior Tails, LLC Dog Training and Behavior Consulting

    Caitlin Morrow CPDT-KA, RVT

    Behavior Consulting for Dogs & Cats with follow up training, Private Training, Puppy Training, Group Classes, Behavior Modification, Seminars, Workshops, Day Training, Cooperative Care, Consulting and Staff Training for Veterinary Offices. We help owners with Obedience, Manners, Problem Solving, Aggression, Anxiety, Tricks, Nose work, and so much more Serves WNC and Haywood County.


    Phone: (828) 565-1050


  • High Flyer Agility Center

    Brian Ferrand

    Dog agility training, dog behavior training available in private lessons by appointment. Group classes offered. Online video training available


  • Pia Silvani Consulting

    Pia Silvani, CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified Trainer

    Private training: cat and dog behavior problems, training, games, socialization training, phone consults.

    Offering Group classes at Asheville Humane Society: Puppy Kindergarten (8-16 weeks of age),Canine Manners Course (over 16 weeks of age), Beyond Basic Manners Classes. To sign up:


    Phone: :  (973) 698-2748


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