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 The Puppy School
    of Fort Collins

Coaching for you and your pup or adult dog
Achieving well-rounded, well-behaved, happy dogs
(and happy people)!

It's not just about puppies at The Puppy School!  We work with dogs of all ages! 
We specialize in helping pups and their people
build a solid foundation!  
We also love helping with your recently-rescued adult dog. And, we offer a special
Reduced Rescue Rate for private classes!

At The Puppy School you can take individual or group classes ranging from
Puppy Kindergarten to advanced and specialized classes including
Agility, Therapy Dog training, Fun Games to Play with Your Dog, Preparing to take the Canine Good Citizen Test, and much more! 

Bring your dog to our beautiful 1 acre Fort Collins campus
or do private classes at your home.
We are open 7 days a week and offer both weekend and weekday (and week night) classes for those working during the week and only available in the evenings.

 Serving Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Timnath, Wellington, Estes Park, Boulder, Cheyenne & Greeley              970-413-1143

 Roo walking with Charlie & Wags, canine mentors at The Puppy School in Fort Collins, who demonstrate how to stay no matter what the distraction. 
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Canine Good Citizen Test AKC-Approved Evaluator 


Highest Rating of any dog trainer in the area!
More than 170 five star reviews!  Please read some of our reviews below & see many more on Google!

Brooke Bowell

We really enjoyed puppy kindergarten classes. Great and fun learning environment. Roo does an exceptional job of getting to know each puppy individually. We are thrilled with the progress we’ve made in the short time working together! Looking forward to level 1 classes and learning more!

About Us

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"Roo", Founder of The Puppy School, has more than forty years of experience working with dogs and helping people to better understand and communicate with them.  Building a solid positive foundation from the start makes for a great relationship between people and dogs.  Roo specializes in helping people and young dogs build that foundation.  That’s why she started “The Puppy School”, which focuses primarily on puppies!  But Roo also has a special interest in helping adult rescued dogs as well as fearful dogs who may not have had the opportunity as puppies to establish that solid, positive foundation.  That is why The Puppy School also works with recently-rescued adult dogs adopted through shelters and rescue organizations and with fearful dogs from any background.  

Roo brings her excellent communication and teaching skills developed as a former public school teacher to ensure your canine companion not only learns, but that non-furry family members do too!  In addition to her dog training experience, she has worked with therapy dogs, taking them on visits to public schools as well as homes for seniors, and orphanages abroad to bring companionship and moments of happiness to others.  She started a “shelter school” in Cuernavaca, Mexico to offer basic training to shelter dogs to improve their chances of being adopted. She founded a non-profit organization on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota that provided basic animal health care and a rescue/adoption program for thousands of dogs on the Reservation over the span of a decade. 

Roo has fostered hundreds of dogs of all ages, temperaments and breeds, providing them not only with a safe and loving home until a permanent home was found, but also providing critical teachings to lay the foundation for that happy co-existence between people and dogs. 

Roo is also the Founder of Camp Laugh A Lot (, a summer camp for Lakota children that includes activities to enhance awareness and compassion for animals and an in-school  “Reading with Animals” program. 

Roo teaching children in Fort Collins how to give treats to dogs
Charlie & Wags showing soft mouths used at all times

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Starting classes with your new furry family member (no matter what their age) helps to ensure a good understanding of what is expected in the new home. Helping people understand what their dogs need and how to provide that through effective direction and communication, the right exercise regime, and the right energy, helps ensure a happy and healthy relationship between people and the furry members of our families who share our daily lives.   

Roo with some of her furry friends

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We look forward to welcoming you and your canine friend at The Puppy School in Fort Collins! 

                                                   The Puppy School Perspective & Philosophy

Each of our clients makes a carefully considered choice when deciding on what dog trainer or puppy socialization and learning center they will entrust to teach and coach them and their canine companion.  To help you determine if we are the right one for you, here we share a bit about our perspective and philosophy on dogs and about our relationship with them. 

A healthy relationship between people and dogs is built on mutual respect.  This has to be learned and earned by both parties.

People consider dogs as smart when they understand "sit", "stay", "come", but the dog understands so much more – the heart, the soul.

We don’t “own” animals.  Equally, animals should not be allowed to “own” us by “running” our lives.

Most people expect far too little from their dogs, and give far too little of themselves even if they may provide plenty of good food, nice dog beds, excellent veterinary care and a comfortable home.

Walking with your dog is the most important thing you can do for your dog (it’s good for you too and essential for your relationship with your dog).

Our use of words (or “commands” as they are sometimes known) to communicate our intent reflects our perspective.  I prefer to ask “walk with me” rather than “heel”.

Treats have a purpose, but many people overuse or misuse them.   One can only get so far with treats.  Mutual respect allows you to go much farther.

A “nice big back yard” is nothing to a dog alone in that yard if s/he doesn’t get out (i.e., off the property) every day.  In this case, s/he may as well be in a “not so nice, tiny back yard”, as a big yard only helps the person to more easily forgive their own lack of responsibility.  A dog needs to get out every day, exploring new areas often and routinely meeting new dogs and people.

If your dog pulls on the leash, before you contact a dog trainer to fix "the problem", consider what the real issue may be.  Pulling on the leash is often a sign that your dog is not getting enough daily exercise and mental stimulation.  Once you solve that problem by ensuring your dog gets enough daily exercise and mental stimulation, you may not even need the help of a dog trainer -- maybe just a fitness trainer to ensure you are fit enough to provide the right exercise for your dog.  The starting point is always to ensure we are being fair to our dogs.  

A dog must have some time off leash everyday to explore on her/his own, to take time to smell where s/he wants to, to make decisions on her/his own.  If you make all decisions for your dog, neither your dog or your relationship with your dog can fully flourish.  You may never know your dog fully. 

People sometimes inadvertently create addiction in their dogs.  A ball/frisbee can be fun, but should not be used to replace walks. 

Dogs tend to make much more effort to understand us compared to the effort we make to understand them.  The average dog strives to learn all the English words and phrases we care to teach them.  They pay careful attention to our body language and energy.  They learn what our smiles or frowns or shrugged shoulders mean.  How many people know what it means when a dog licks her lips or when she lifts a paw?  We tend not to bother to learn much about a dog’s verbal or body language.  We seem to think so little of their capabilities even though we are asking them to learn a foreign language and foreign cultural norms -- and often to do this when they have only been on the planet a few months. 


How patient and understanding dogs are!  And, despite our shortcomings --  they still want to follow us.    

Crates are cages unless the door is open.  Let's call a spade a spade.  There are occassions when it is fine to use one, but they tend to be overused and used for the wrong purpose.  There are more humane ways of potty training and of ensuring your pup is safe when left alone.    

The primary purpose of a leash is to prevent you from getting a ticket.  If the main way you communicate with your dog is through the leash, your relationship is lacking.

It is important for cities such as Fort Collins and others in Larimer County and elsewhere to offer certification programs that allow well-behaved dogs to be off leash in public places.  Cities contribute to unsocialized dogs when they do not offer off leash opportunities for dogs other than “dog parks”.  

People come from near and far to The Puppy School of Fort Collins.  Naturally, we have many clients from Fort Collins, Loveland, Wellington, Windsor, and Greeley, but we also have regular clients from Estes Park, Boulder, Cheyenne, Denver, and even as far away as California!  We strive to make everyone, no matter where they come from, no matter what their background or orientation, feel at home here at The Puppy School.  We welcome one and all!

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Puppy pupils learning how to wait patiently at "treat circle" while Canine Mentors, Wags and Charlie, supervise.  Great job everyone!
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  Charlie and Wags waiting to welcome you at The Puppy School in Fort Collins

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"Very attentive!  Excellent one-on-one instruction specifically tailored to what you and your fur child need."

Amy B. & Puppy Pupil, Olive

More on our Philosophy and Perspective on Dogs

We all have different philosophies and perspectives on animals, including dogs.  I have outlined some points regarding my own philosophy and perspectives on dogs (and how humans see and treat them).  Overall, I consider a dog (or any animal that lives with me) as a family member.  My commitment to them is no less and no greater than it is to any other family member. 


One of the (many) great things about having a dog as a family member is that family member is also always a great friend.  In my own case, although I have had and continue to have many great friends, none has ever been greater than the dogs who have shared my life.  I am so very thankful for the friendship, companionship, love, loyalty, protection, and patience gifted to me by my own dogs and others over the years. 

Unlike some animal behaviorist who persist in asking questions such as “do animals have emotions” or “are animals intelligent”, most people who have lived with a dog (or any animal) don’t have to ask such questions as the answers are abundantly obvious.  In my own way of thinking, animals experience the range of emotions that we do as people (and who knows, maybe even other emotions we haven’t even felt), and may often feel these emotions even more deeply than we do as they have fewer inhibitions and fewer distractions.  And, as for intelligence, I consider the most subtle and simplest to be the most sophisticated.  In this way, animals, including, but not limited to dogs, are so clearly extremely intelligent. 

The vast majority of dogs are happiest living with at least one other animal in the house, preferably another dog.  If they are of similar age, even better, as their interests and energy level will tend to be similar.  Would you be happy living in a household of only pets and no other humans?  Some people are, but for the most part, we also regularly seek other human companionship.  Dogs are no different.  So, even though it is more expensive (in food and vet bills), I strongly encourage everyone to consider adopting two dogs instead of one.  Naturally there are circumstances where one dog is best for a variety of reasons, but a lone dog shouldn’t be the automatic default.  And, if you do only have one, then it is important to let your dog get together with other dog friends everyday (not just once a week).

Walking with our dogs is one of the most important things we can do for our dog’s overall health and happiness (and for the health of our relationship with our dogs).  No matter how big your yard is, it can never replace a walk.  And, a walk on a leash can never replace a walk off leash.


We encourage cities all over the country to open at least some areas (other than fenced in dog parks) to welcome dogs off leash.  Many cities have successful programs that allow a dog to get a permit to be off leash once they pass a test showing that they are friendly with people and other dogs, well-behaved, and under excellent voice control.  


Dogs don’t judge their person, but might wonder about their leadership skills/choices. "Why did s/he just pass all that wonderful wildlife habitat so we could walk in this desolate, wildlife-free place?" "S/he takes the most special finds out of my mouth and just tosses them away!"  "I discover and roll in wonderful smells and s/he washes them off first chance s/he gets!"  Despite our "poor" choices, they choose to follow us and respect our choices. 😊


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