Now that you have brought your puppy home, you want to form a bond. After all, hopefully, you have 10 to 17 years together. It is important to remember that puppies are like sponges and want to learn. There are plenty of fun games and exercises you can do together. Investing in their behaviour now will save you a great deal of stress and challenges over the next 10 to 17 years – or something…
Remember that the first 4 months or so are some of the most important months in your puppy learning and developing its own personality. This is the best time for them to socialise *and not just down the park. The perfect time to meet new people, new animals and; learn about the world – just like a baby.
Without this initial bonding and being introduced to new things in a controlled manner, the chances of them becoming unpredictable increases and will need much more specialist work from a behaviourist to become a good-natured citizen.
As a dog walker, I am often asked should I take them to dog training classes or do it myself. My view is that whilst socialising in the park helps to teach them good manners and how to socialise and behave, it is important to attend puppy classes run by a good trainer – remember a badly run puppy class is worst than no class at all.
So why should I attend puppy Classes?
Puppy classes are like sending your child to life school and teaches them lifelong lessons. They help teach your dog manners and how to become a good citizen by providing the training and socialising they need. As well as helping your puppy become a good citizen, they also provide a good opportunity for you and your dog to perform lifelong bonds.
Another advantage of going to well-run puppy schools is that you will feel more confident in training your dog properly and preventing them from jumping up at people play-biting your hands, pulling on a lead and generally being a hooligan.
Dog Training is great for helping with dog etiquette and
This is probably the most important and biggest part of joining a puppy class. Your puppy will get exposed to other dogs’ and strangers as well as help them to bond with you. Many puppy classes will also have people dress up in strange clothing. Ride a skateboard or scooter etc., so they do not feel as scared when they come across them outside. This vital socialisation also helps them be less aggressive to strangers and other dogs. Overall, the socialisation part of the puppy class helps them become a calm and relaxed citizen.
One of the other important things that your puppy will learn is not to jump up people. Even dog owners don’t like dogs jumping up them, especially if they are dressed for work or going out somewhere. Jumping up is one of the common reasons people don’t enjoy their dog walks. These puppy classes will help you combat it.
This is another very important command for your dog to learn as a poor recall can lead to all sorts of problems and make your walk very stressful. Many people live with a dog that has poor recall because they never went to classes or they did and just never put the work in. This is important when around other dogs, wild animals and picnics etc.
As previously mentioned attending puppy schools regularly will help you become more confident and be able to take away tips and tricks to teach the appropriate behaviour on walks such as sit-stay wait (Stay and wait are different)
No, I don’t mean you go around the neighbourhood and get your dog to break in and take all things shiny (leave that to the magpies). This is essentially how to house train your dog the best way. Trying to house train your dog without support is not an easy task.
Crate training not only limits what damage he can do when your back is turned but will also keep him out of trouble at night. The advantage of Crate training means your puppy has somewhere that your puppy can feel safe and secure when thunder or fireworks are around.
Dealing with Problems:
Many problems can be squashed before they begin as the trainer is on hand to help with bad behaviours, such as acting up or aggression. It also means that you will be more confident and learn how to handle such problems in the correct way on a long term scale, so your life contract with each other is a happy one.
Remember, that training is a full-time contract that you make with your dog and not just for an hour on Wednesdays evening or Sunday afternoon. It needs to be constant with you, your family members and any dog walker you may choose to walk your dog using the same methods and hand signals.
How old should my puppy be to attend puppy classes?
Most classes that are run by professional trainers will offer different levels of schooling. Thinking of it in child terms as
Kindergarten – reception – This is for young puppies who are around 8 to 12 weeks old. The puppies have had their first vaccination but are unable to go to the park and socialise.
Socialising is an important part of a dog’s life and must be done correctly to avoid issues. Kindergarten is the first step in helping to socialise your dog and making them an all-round social dog. These classes generally also look into handling and preventing puppy biting, along with providing house training advice.
Puppy Classes – This is the junior school for dogs. By now, your puppy is allowed out and so needs to learn new things. Your puppy will continue socialising and learning basic sit down. Wait, watch me. Leave it and basic recall.
Adult classes – the senior school for dogs – This is the time to start teaching more advanced stuff. A lot of dog training schools will start to teach exercises that will help your dog go for the Good Citizen scheme should they wish
This includes good food manners, stay, loose lead walking, goto bed, walking amongst people, to name just a few of them.
How Long are puppy training classes?
Classes generally last around 6 weeks per age bracket and are run by a professional. However, like choosing a good dog walker or pet sitter, it is important that you do homework to ensure the trainers use updated positive methods and also do ongoing CPD training rather than outdated “Barbera Woodhouse” type methods.
Mealtimes can be used for training as well as when you are out on a walk etc. Essentially mix it up. After all, you don want your dog just being able to do a sit and stay in the kitchen but anywhere it is required for his and your safety.
As a bonus, should you decide to go for the Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold, you will often find this opens doors to hotels etc., as they know the dog is well trained and well behaved.
We also recommend doing the Good Guardianship online course.
You may also like to read our other puppy related articles
- Pet Proofing your home
- tips on walking your new dog
- Importance of dog training classes
- Top Tips for walking your puppy
- Dog Walking Etiquette
- 7 tips for proper care and feedings your puppy