Puppy school plays a very important role in your puppy’s start to life. It’s the perfect place for your puppy to practice the necessary skills to become a good canine citizen and an opportunity to build the bond between you two!
Between eight and 16 weeks of age is the critical ‘imprinting’ stage of puppies – when they are most open to learning and accepting new experiences.
Puppy schools are not like obedience classes, which are for teaching obedience to dogs over 6 months of age. In puppy school, you learn how to socialise your puppy properly, as well as get information on house training, sleeping arrangements and how your children should interact with the new family member.
Puppy school also gives your pup the opportunity to interact with other dogs their age and learn how to socialise and communicate with them and people.
But how do you choose the right class for your pup? To get some advice, I asked Delta Institute qualified dog trainer and author Barbara Hodel from Good Dog Positive Dog Training.
- Puppy classes are offered by vet clinics, dog obedience clubs, pet stores and dog trainers.
- Classes that focus on obedience training is a good start, but your pup needs to be able to practice play as well.
- Help with grooming, how and where to take your puppy and vet visits should be covered in your class.
- Ask for recommendations from dog owner friends and family, and read online reviews.
- Ask to watch a class first to see how it is run. See if the dog trainer is in control of the class. Keep in mind a ratio of one trainer to five puppies is ideal.
- The trainer providing a “quiet corner” for shy and cautious puppies is also a good sign.
- Avoid classes that don’t ask for proof of the first vaccinations and are held in an unhygienic environment.
- Most importantly, choose a trainer who is qualified and accredited by a reputable dog training industry association, such as the Pet Professional Guild of Australia, and uses a positive, rewards-based training method only.
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