Puppy Day School

It’s a comprehensive “private school” for your puppy! Your pup will spend each day learning manners from a team of experienced dog trainers, playing with age-appropriate friends, and gaining valuable socialization in a city environment.

You’ll have peace of mind knowing our experienced Academy staff is spending the day training your puppy, so you can work or run errands worry-free. Instead of coming home to chewed furniture or soiled carpets, you could enjoy each evening with a happy, well-behaved puppy who has less energy to devote to nipping, chewing, and other undesirable behavior.

What does Puppy Day School include?

Puppy Socialization

Our number one priority at the Academy is providing positive socialization experiences during your puppy’s formative weeks. Puppies play with each other, carefully selected adult dog “teachers,” and our Academy staff. All interactions are closely supervised to ensure your puppy learns to greet others nicely.

Each day includes…

  • Training sessions throughout the day

  • Scheduled meals fed in puzzle toys

  • Age-appropriate nap time

  • Lots of love!

This isn’t daycare

Dog daycare may be overwhelming to young puppies & can encourage undesirable habits, like pottying indoors.

At the Academy, we encourage calm, polite behaviors and prevent unwanted traits from developing. We also maintain a tighter puppy-to-staff ratio (10-to-1) than most daycares, and several professional dog trainers are on duty every day.

Puppy Day School Policies & FAQs

Puppy Day School program hours are 9AM to 3PM. Drop-off is between 7AM and 9AM and pick-up is between 3PM and 6:30PM.

Please view our Tuition & Enrollment page for the most up-to-date information.

Puppy Day School isn’t a daycare program, just like a Montessori school isn’t a daycare. Our program is staffed by professional dog trainers, and the primary focus is training, not playtime. Enrolling your puppy with us is an investment in your dog’s future behavior.

We also keep a very low dog-to-staff ratio. Industry standard for dog daycares is 15-25 dogs per 1 staff member. Our standard is no more than 10 dogs per staff member.

If you are ready to get started, you can pay for tuition. You will receive an e-mail with instructions for scheduling the included evaluation.

After booking your evaluation, send us your dog’s health records. For pups over 12 weeks of age, we need proof of vaccination against rabies, parvo, distemper, and bordetella (kennel cough). We also need proof of a negative fecal test result. (For pups under 12 weeks of age at the time of enrollment, rabies vaccination is optional.) You can scan and e-mail these records to us, or have your vet send them to us. Our fax number is 401-330-5892 or they may e-mail them to us as well. Click here for a printable “Health Requirements” PDF you can download and bring to your vet.

Once we have all of your puppy’s health records, one of us will reach out to you to reserve the next available start date for your puppy. We are generally booking start dates 2-3 weeks in advance. The best way to expedite this process is to bring your puppy to the veterinarian as soon as you bring them home, bring a stool sample to that appointment, and bring a printed copy of the health requirements to that appointment to make sure everything is taken care of. We do not hold start dates for puppies until all health requirements are met and on file with us.

When you come to your evaluation, bring your puppy and a list of goals for her behavior. Ask yourself and your family members: what do we want to be able to do with our dog when her training is complete? What behaviors do we need help with right away? Write it down (post-it notes are encouraged!) and we’ll chat about it all during the evaluation.

Yes. We no longer offer any “part time” enrollment options in Puppy Day School. When we first started this program in 2015, we did offer part-time (2-4x/week) enrollment, and found that the part-time puppies did not make as much progress as the full-time puppies. Our focus is on providing the best possible education for young puppies, and it’s not possible to do that with part-time attendance.

If you have a scheduled vet appointment, groomer appointment, or vacation, you can adjust your puppy’s schedule with at least a week’s notice, but this is meant for occasional absences.

Thanks to modern medicine, this well-meaning advice is outdated. The current recommendations of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior are to begin puppy socialization as soon as possible, especially before twelve weeks of age. Puppies have a “critical socialization period” from six weeks to sixteen weeks, and it is crucial that training and socialization begins during this time. Click here to read the AVSAB position statement on puppy socialization.

Puppy Day School’s vaccination and health requirements exceed those set by AVSAB.

While your puppy’s vaccinations do not need to be “complete” to join Puppy Day School, they do need to meet certain health requirements for our program. We require that your puppy is up-to-date on their distemper/parvo series, has been vaccinated for kennel cough (bordetella), and has a negative fecal test sent to a lab by your veterinarian (not the rescue/breeder’s vet). Puppies over 4 months old also need to be vaccinated for rabies per RI state law. Click here for a printable Health Requirements sheet you can bring to your vet appointment.

Your Puppy Day School evaluation will take approximately an hour. We’ll start by double-checking your contact details and getting emergency contact information. Then, we’ll go through a questionnaire to learn more about what your puppy’s daily routine is like, what you’re feeding her and how often, what she’s learned so far, and what your goals are for her behavior.

We’ll give you tips you can start acting on immediately to help with issues you’re experiencing like nipping, potty training accidents, crying in the crate, and jumping up. If time allows, we may also demonstrate a training exercise you can practice at home.

After we gather the information we need to take great care of your puppy and customize their training plan, we’ll help you sign up for the included Flex Classes and Puppy Teacher Conferences.

We require our puppy parents to be involved in the process of training their puppies. Your Puppy Day School tuition includes weekly 30-minute Puppy Teacher Conferences, which are private lessons with a member of our training staff where you will learn what your puppy is learning at school. Your tuition also includes access to our Flex Classes, held 7 days a week, to get hands-on practice with your puppy. Your entire family is welcome to participate in this continuing education.

Puppy Day School clients can also e-mail us at any time with questions about training, behavior, play, etc. Think of us as your puppy coaching staff!

Puppy Day School is a comprehensive program for owners who want to go beyond a weekly hour of group instruction. In our experience, a weekly group training class is not enough support for most puppy parents. There is so much about puppy raising that cannot be covered in a busy group atmosphere. This is why we do not offer a “puppy kindergarten” class.

We do offer Flex Classes seven days a week for guided practice around other dogs without playtime. It’s so important for puppies to learn to see other dogs without expecting to interact with them. This helps to prevent reactivity and on-leash aggression as they grow up. Flex Class access is included in Puppy Day School!

In the morning, you’ll drop your puppy off for school with their collar on and two resealable, gallon-sized bags of their dog food. (Don’t worry – we’ll go over these requirements at the evaluation.)

One of our Puppy Day School team members will e-mail you an in-depth update in the afternoon, generally between 2-4PM. (Please don’t contact the front desk staff asking for an update sooner than that – our trainers & care staff are busy working with the dogs, and first day e-mails are the very first thing they send when they’re able to do so.)

We teach all of the “basic obedience” skills you’re familiar with, and much more. The training skills we work on with puppies include sit, down, stay, come when called, relax in a crate, and loose-leash walking.

Our program focuses on self-control. Your puppy will learn to behave politely around food and toys (without jumping up & trying to steal them) and wait for permission to go through doorways and to exit her crate. All of this is without nagging your puppy to “leave it” or “get off.”

Because your puppy will be under our direct supervision, your puppy will not get to practice these common, frustrating behaviors: jumping up on people, chewing furniture, nipping people, counter-surfing, and pulling on leash.

Your puppy will also socialize with other puppies and polite adult dogs to learn good social skills and habits. Playing with other dogs improves nipping and mouthiness and will help your puppy learn to use their mouth gently during play.

What Our Students Say

“Zipper has really changed and made progress – he’s much easier to be around, we are having more fun and less frustration as we learn the best ways to keep him busy, and we are finally enjoying our puppy! I know that he is enjoying class, he is excited to head out every morning!”

Megan & Zipper

“We enrolled our mini Bernedoodle at 3 months old in their Puppy Day School and have received top notch support and care from their team. The unlimited group class pass for puppy day school enrollees is probably the best perk. We attended more than a dozen classes on self-control, loose leash walking, staying put when asked to, etc. They teach practical skills that will actually come in handy while raising a dog in an extremely urban part of town and I’m glad our dog learned this stuff while young/impressionable, as opposed to things like hand shakes or play deads which won’t be useful.”

Monica & Gracie
“I highly recommend Crossbones for a complete puppy training program. I enrolled my crazy husky puppy in day school to work on his jumping/nipping, recall, and loose leash walking. He has made amazing progress with all of my goals… It is wonderful to have people who are so well educated and can back it up with scientific research.”
Gwen & Milo

“The staff is incredible, we are so thankful for their support and expertise. The facility is always clean – something which was very important to me when choosing a daycare for our pup. Our dog is currently enrolled in his second semester of Puppy Day School. He has been at Crossbones since he was 12 weeks old. We are so happy and impressed with how far our Blu has come since starting. I feel 100% confident my dog is in great hands when I drop him at school. 10/10 would recommend Crossbones.”

Kaileigh & Blu

“These guys deliver! We brought our puppy, Rusty, to Puppy Day School and with love, patience and discipline they trained him and us! It gave Rusty a chance to socialize in a controlled environment. We get compliments on how well behaved Rusty is for such a young pup (not quite 10 months old) and are smart enough to give Spring Forth the credit. We can’t thank them enough.”

Tricia & Rusty

“They trained not only my puppy but also me, a first time dog owner. I liked the constant feedback I received from the staff – what are my pup’s strengths and weaknesses, what she’s working on, what I’m doing right and wrong at home, how we can help her if she’s a little slow in mastering a certain skill, etc. This is not something I can learn just by watching puppy training videos online.”

Winnie & Nugget

“Crossbones and their staff are truly above and beyond & we are so grateful for their professionalism, kindness & care. Our pup had gone through their amazing Puppy Program. We immediately saw improvements with our rescue pup. During that time we had weekly meetings with his trainers and received helpful report cards to share his progress. What I felt was most helpful were the training classes that are included in the program. The classes & the trainers helped me so much in communicating, understanding and training our rascal of a puppy.”

Jess & Frankie

“I enrolled my Golden Retriever in Puppy Day School and it was such a great experience!! Not only did it help with his mild separation anxiety, he got incredible socialization and great training. He knows his basic commands down pat, completely potty trained and has a great start on loose leash walking. Everyone knew my puppy by name & catered their training to his specific needs. They truly care about every dog and I will absolutely return to maintain Archie’s training!”

Sierra & Archie

We are booking Puppy Day School start dates 1-2 weeks in advance. Don’t delay – sign up today!