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Puppy Classes With Happy Hound University (For Puppies 18 weeks and under)

Start off on the right paw with Happy Hound University’s Puppy Classes!


Classes held in the basement of St Martin's Episcopal Church at 1095 E Thacker St, Des Plaines, IL. 


Happy Hound University specializes in puppy classes for all breeds and sizes of puppies. 


Happy Hound University’s puppy classes are unlike any other puppy class around; we support you from the beginning, when you’ve just brought your adorable pup home, well into adolescence. 

We specialize in socialization and building and reinforcing confidence in social situations/off leash play in addition to basic manners training!

"An essential for anyone who has added a doggo to their family. I looked through many “dog training” classes when we adopted our Mara, and I am so grateful I landed with Happy Hound! Mary is just the best, and for so many reasons: her knowledge and expertise is great. A good variety of activities in class with lots of modeling and repetition. I love that they learn more than just basic “sit” and “come” commands, but also practical things like how to be calm at the vet, play well with other dogs, etc. Weekly homework ideas to continue the practice outside of class. And I can’t say this one enough- the true use of positive reinforcement. Mary’s respect and love for each individual dog in the class is so apparent. She knows them all so well, and loves each one so well! Class sizes are small and personal.

On a personal note, Mara has now completed puppy 1 & puppy 2. We started classes right when we rescued her, and she was a bit unsure and nervous of playful/energetic pups. With Mary’s guidance, respect, and gentle ways- and again with only positive reinforcement- Mara is now a happy playful girl and doing so well with quickly warming up to new pups. A game changer for us!!"

- Mara's Person

Where to begin?

You and your puppy will start in Puppy 1 class. Puppy 1 is a class for puppies 18 weeks and under at the start of class. This class focuses on laying a strong, positive foundation for your puppy’s social experiences with the other puppies and meeting the other human guardians in the class. We also go over “need to know” puppy info like how to potty train, prevent jumping, how to teach your puppy not to guard their food, toys, and other items, and more!

Have you heard that you should wait to take your puppy to puppy class until they’ve had all of their shots? Unfortunately this outdated advice is still regularly given, but we know now that socialization is simply too important to wait (and this is coming directly from the experts!) Happy Hound University proudly uses Rescue veterinary cleaner before every puppy 1 class to ensure that our training space is clean and safe for your young puppy!

So, when SHOULD you and your puppy join puppy 1 class? As soon as possible! Puppies are in what is known as their critical window of socialization up to 12-14 weeks, which means that if you bring your puppy home at 8 weeks  you’ve only got 4-6 weeks left to make the greatest positive impact in your puppy!


Most of our puppy students start at  8, 9, and 10 weeks of age, and do fabulously at class! You must sign your puppy up for class before they reach 18 weeks of age. (Have a puppy or dog older than 18 weeks of age? Join our puppy classes for puppies 19-24 weeks or good manners classes for dogs 7 months and older!)


Class is rolling enrollment which means you can start any time as long as there's an opening!

What sets Happy Hound University apart from other puppy classes? Our training space allows us to set aside space for shy and nervous puppies, and allows us to split the room if we have players of different temperaments! Socialization is about your puppy having POSITIVE experiences with the other puppies, so we are careful to make sure that every puppy in class walks away feeling good about their play time. We also have two handlers per class, so that we can make sure no puppies are getting steamrolled or bullied. Your puppy’s emotional well being is our number one concern!

After each class you’ll receive an email with homework and relevant articles to what we discussed in class, and in between classes you’ll have direct email access to Mary, our trainer, so that you can ask questions as needed!

Puppy 1 for puppies 18 weeks and under is held Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM and Thursday evenings at 5:00 PM. Class sizes are small (seven puppies or less with two instructors) to allow for one on one time as needed. Class cost is $235 for 6 consecutive weeks of class.

Interested in joining our class? Our puppy classes are rolling enrollment, which means you can join class as soon as there’s an opening! Get signed up at the button below, or email with any questions!

What about after puppy 1?

After your puppy graduates from puppy 1 class they’ll move into our puppy 2 class. Puppy 2 for big dogs is held Thursdays at 6 PM and Puppy 2 for little dogs ids held Tuesdays at 5:30 PM. These classes will build on the skills learned in puppy 1, introduce new skills, and continue to allow off leash play so that your puppy continues to practice their social skills as they move into adolescence! 

Puppy 2 class is rolling enrollment, like puppy 1, which means that you and your puppy can jump right into the next class as soon as there’s an opening! Class is 6 weeks long and costs $235. Please email if you are a puppy 1 grad and need the puppy 2 class sign up link!


Finally, after graduating from puppy 2 class you can jump right into our last puppy class, Puppy 3: Adolescence and Beyond which is a rolling enrollment class like puppy 1 and 2!

Again, puppy 3 class offers off leash play with similar sized and temperament playmates and builds on the skills learned in puppy 1 and 2! This is our more advanced puppy class, which means we really start to increase the difficulty of our training exercises as we continue to build on the concepts learned in earlier classes!


IMPORTANT: To be eligible for puppy 2 and puppy 3 you must join these classes within 6 weeks of your graduation date. 

To get the sign up links for puppy 2 and puppy 3 email!

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