Behavior and Training

At the Humane Society of Pinellas, we understand that one of the many reasons pets are surrendered to shelters is because of undesirable behaviors. In our efforts to end pet homelessness, HSP offers a free Behavior Helpline and low-cost behavior consultations to help your pet be successful!

We encourage you to contact the Behavior Department at (727) 692-8435 or via email at Our Behavior Technicians can assist you with preliminary evaluations, over the phone (and free!) advice, behaviorist referrals and in some cases, behavior consultations. Staff is trained to discuss and modify a range of behavior problems for both dogs and cats, including housesoiling, litter box avoidance, unruly behavior, destructive behavior, separation anxiety, leash reactivity and aggression. While the staff is highly trained and professional, we reserve the right to refuse service if we believe your pet would benefit from another program or if your pet may put the staff at serious risk.

Behavior Consultations

Behavior consultations are scheduled on-site at the shelter or in your home! Our Behavior Technicians will evaluate your pet’s behavior and needs using our behavioral questionnaire. This questionnaire will help guide us in determining how we can best help you and your pet. Consultations are typically 1-2 hours and fees are $50/hour for on-site, $75/hour in-home with an additional cost for travel if we come to your home.

Behavior Consultation Package

Schedule four one-hour on-site consultation sessions with our behavior team for only $175! Get the benefit of one-on-one training. This package is perfect for shy or reactive dogs that may be overwhelmed by group classes, but would benefit from basic or advanced obedience training! Makes a great holiday gift for that naughty dog (or owner!) you know!

Training Classes and Obedience

The Humane Society of Pinellas is excited to now offer canine obedience training classes! Both puppy and adult basic obedience classes will be offered on a rotating schedule, are six weeks and each class is one hour. All classes require pre-registration. Please call (727) 692-8435 or email for registration and availability.

All dogs 6 months and over must be spayed or neutered to attend class. Pre-registration, as well as vaccination records are required. All dogs must have a rabies vaccine (if old enough), distemper and bordatella vaccines.

Adult Basic Obedience

The Humane Society of Pinellas’ Adult Basic Obedience classes are geared towards parents of adopted adult dogs (ages 6 months and older). While teaching owners and their new pets basic manners and commands, our trainers also focus on questions new pet parents may have such as housetraining, jumping, loose leash walking, and more. Dogs also have the opportunity to play and get some energy out!

Adult Basic Obedience Class Schedule:

Saturday, March 18th at 11am hosted by our friends at the Broderick Rec Center (6101 66th Ave. N, Pinellas Park, FL)

$115 per 6-week course. Adopted from us? $95 for HSP Alumni!

Puppy Basic Obedience

Get your puppy started on the right track with our Puppy Basic Obedience classes! Using positive-reinforcement, force-free methods, our trainers teach new puppy owners about housetraining, crate training, puppy mouthing and basic manners. The classes also provide puppies with proper socialization during those early months to aid in their comfort around other animals, people and new situations. Please, dogs under 6 months only. Puppy play time included!

Puppy Basic Obedience Class Schedule:

Saturday, March 18th at 10am - hosted by our friends at the Broderick Rec Center (6101 66th Ave. N, Pinellas Park, FL)

$115 per 6-week course. Adopted from us? $95 for HSP Alumni!


Looking to fine tune your dog's obedience commands? Ready for your pup to be recognized for his or her skills? Then join us at The Humane Society of Pinellas and have your pet certified as a Canine Good Citizen through the widely recognized American Kennel Club (AKC). The Canine Good Citizen test, or CGC, is intended to promote responsible pet ownership and requires dogs to complete a series of ten tests without treats. 

$50/test. Contact the Behavior Department to schedule your CGC Test. It is recommended you bring your own 20-foot lead and brush/comb. See the AKC website for testing requirements. 


Agility classes are here! sign up today!

Rowland, Inc. has graciously sponsored HSP agility equipment. Agility is an amazing way to bond with a newly adopted pet, increase confidence in shy or fearful dogs, and to have fun!

introduction to obstacles

Want a fun course to entertain your active pooch or boost your shy dog's confidence? Then HSP's Introduction to Agility Obstacles is for you! Our Certified Pet Dog Trainer, Heather, will show you and your agile canine how to navigate through an agility course and get comfortable with competition-grade obstacles. Recommend students complete Basic Obedience prior to Agility. All participants must be physically able to perform obstacles and be friendly towards people/dogs.

HURRY! ALMOST FULL! Sunday, April 2nd at 11am - located at HSP's "Goat Yard"! Come to 3040 SR 590 and enter our Adoption Center. Course length may be longer than 6-weeks due to inclement weather.

$115 per 6-week course (weather permitting). Adopted from us? $95 for HSP Alumni!


Meet our Behavior Department!

Heather Gibbs, CPDT-KA, Lead Behavior Technician


Heather Gibbs received her training certification through the Animal Behavior College. She worked in behavior modification and animal care for several organizations including Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Animal Rescue Foundation of Texas before joining the Humane Society of Pinellas team.

Heather practices positive reinforcement training through bonding exercises, enrichment, and reward-based behavior modification. She currently owns four rescue animals; three dogs and her horse, Mike. One of her dogs has achieved service dog status through Southeastern Guide Dogs and has earned his Canine Good Citizen certification. Heather is a certified CGC Assessor, as well as a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (Knowledge Assessed) from the esteemed Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).

Danielle Nieuwkerk, Assistant Behavior Technician

Danielle Nieuwkerk received her dog training certification through Animal Behavior College and holds membership with the Pet Professional Guild. When away from the shelter, Danielle enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and slobbery Cane Corsos Kane and Titan on beach outings.

Danielle has a burning passion for shelter animals! She exercises positive-reinforcement methods in canine obedience and agility training. Danielle also offers her talent as a Canine Life and Social Skills (C.L.A.S.S.) Evaluator. With her bright smile and good humor, Danielle brings fun dynamic to the class room as the primary obedience class instructor at HSP.