Frequently Asked Questions

All of our most asked questions are listed here. If your question isn’t answered on this page, then please get in touch! We’d be happy to help.

Is Merry Puppins the right fit for me and my dog?

Merry Puppins School for Dogs is the right fit for you if:

  • You are seeking positive reinforcement training without the use of aversive techniques
  • You are committed to your dog’s ongoing, lifelong education
  • You are interested in learning in a supportive, inclusive, safe environment
  • You desire to better understand and communicate with your dog to build a lifelong bond
  • Your dog does not have a history of extreme aggressive behavior
Are Merry Puppins and School for Dogs separate businesses?
Merry Puppins and School for Dogs are the same business. School for Dogs is the training department within Merry Puppins.
What should I bring to class?
A properly fitted flat collar and/or harness and leash (no long lines or retractable leashes), high value treats, poop bags. We do not allow prong, pinch, or e-collars in class.
What is the Spoonful of Sugar Method?
The Spoonful of Sugar Method is our personal approach to all things pet related! It exemplifies our training philosophy which is rooted in science, mutual respect, and prioritization of the emotional and physical well being of animals. We use only positive reinforcement training techniques and firmly believe in their ability to induce true learning and behavioral change. We are committed to never using aversive tools or techniques in any capacity in our training.
What should my dog bring to DaySchool?
A properly fitted flat collar and/or harness (no prong, pinch, or e-collars), leash (no long lines or retractable leashes), poop bags, high value treats and lunch for your dog if necessary (please label all treats and food with your dog’s name).
Why do I have to attend orientation?
Orientation helps you be ready for class with your dog! During orientation, we will talk about how you can prepare yourself and your dog for classroom learning. We want you to feel prepared and get the absolute most out of your training with us, and our orientation sessions allow you to get off to a great start!
How soon can I get started?

We know making progress on training is important! No one wants to wait weeks (or months) to meet with a trainer or come to school. With our open enrollment classes, you can often get started the same week! For our in-home programs, we can usually get started the week following our initial consultation. Dogs who want to attend Day School must first schedule an evaluation to make sure they are a good fit! Evaluations can often be scheduled the same week. Get Started Here

Can kids come to class?
Training your dog is a family affair, so yes, kids 6 and up are welcome to attend. However, it is important that children do not approach other dogs or explore the schoolhouse. Safety first! They will need to stay with you during class.
Can I bring 2 dogs to class?
We have a 1:1 dog to handler policy in place to ensure that every dog receives the full learning experience at each class. Each dog must work with their own handler. We are more than happy to have both of your dogs in class together as long as you bring a second adult to help you train!
What if I have to miss a class?

School House Classes– two classes may be made up if unforeseen circumstances arise resulting in an inability to attend a class.

In Home Programs– two sessions may be made up if unforeseen circumstances arise and you must cancel a session.

Day School– You may cancel at no fee up to 48 business hours prior to your scheduled date. Cancellations within 48 business hours of your scheduled date are processed at full price.

Do you offer board and train?

No, we do not offer any type of boarding at Merry Puppins or Merry Puppins School for Dogs. We strongly believe in the power of the guardian’s involvement in their dog’s training journey. Afterall, there is no magic spell.…a well trained dog requires commitment and dedication. We offer Day School and In-Home programs that may better fit a busy schedule, but all of our programs require that you invest time into practicing and advancing your dogs skills. Your involvement in your dog’s education allows you to tune in to their individual learning and communication style and cultivates a deep bond between you both .

Will you board my dog?
No, we do not offer any type of boarding at Merry Puppins or Merry Puppins School for Dogs. Merry Puppins clients who utilize our ongoing walking services are able to schedule travel care for their dogs. We do not provide one-off travel care services for dogs, due to the detailed nature of the care we provid
Will you pet sit my dog?
Merry Puppins clients who utilize our ongoing walking services are able to schedule travel care for their dogs with us. Due to the detailed level of care that we provide, it is not possible for us to provide one off travel care for dogs.
What payment methods do you accept?
Merry Puppins School for Dogs accepts all card payments.
For in-home programs, how will you access my home?
We care deeply about your security. This is why we ask for two access methods when you sign up with us. The primary method would be a keyless entry, an attached garage, or a key.

Keys are safely secured in one of our lock boxes at your home.

The secondary method can be any backup method, most commonly a second copy of your key that stays on file. All of our keys are coded with a code that isn’t associated with your personal information.

My dog is anxious/ nervous/ shy- what type of training will help them?
We offer in-home programs that could be a great fit for shy or nervous dogs. Please schedule a consultation with the Headmistress to discuss your goals for your dog and determine what training program is the best fit for their individual needs.
What does it mean to be Fear Free certified?
The “Fear Free” approach aims to actively reduce stress in as many ways as possible when working with an animal. Fear Free Certified Professionals employ their comprehensive understanding of canine body language to observe signs of fear, stress, or anxiety and take action to prevent those emotions from escalating. Fear Free techniques avoid using force or intimidation in any capacity.
What does positive reinforcement training mean?
Positive reinforcement training is a technique based on operant conditioning and the science behind how dogs learn. It considers each dog’s personal value system and utilizes food, toys, or other pleasant items or experiences to increase the frequency of favorable behaviors and decrease the frequency of unwanted behaviors. We don’t use prong collars, pinch collars, or shock collars. We use positive reinforcement and encouragement, and give as much autonomy, or freedom of choice, to animals as we can while always keeping them safe. Choice is one of the special secret ingredients of our teaching ideology. Providing your dog with the freedom to make choices in their training, and in life in general, increases their confidence, reduces their stress, and deepens the trust and bond that they share with you.
Are you local? Why do you have an 833 phone number?
Yes, we are 100% local in the East End of Pittsburgh- we just have a fancy, toll-free vanity phone number so it’s easy to remember!
Merry Puppins School Logo

Get In Touch!

833- MRRY-PUP (833-677-9787)
We are excited to talk about your needs and learn about your pets! A phone call is the best way to get the intake process started. Once we talk, we can help set up an online account, and schedule you for a Meet and Greet so we can meet in person!