When bringing a puppy into the home, an owner has a responsibility to make sure the puppy understands their role in their new life. Just like with human babies, young dogs need to learn what is and isn’t acceptable, and basic owner expectations. Puppy training classes can help dogs and owners learn how to communicate with one another and what is expected of them. Training classes aren’t just about structure; however, dog training classes can be fun and rewarding for human and canine.
Dog training classes for puppies are best for dogs that are between 16-18 weeks of age. In these classes, the puppy learns about walking on a leash, going to the bathroom outdoors, and that postal carriers are their friends. Owners learn about how canines and humans are different, and the types of commands people can use so that dogs will understand what is expected. In these preschool sessions for dogs, there is usually a time for the puppies to play together so they can learn how to socialize with other dogs.
The best dog training methods
There are many different schools of thought on the best way to train a dog. One method is assertive and stern so that the dog learns that the owner is the alpha of the pack. There is also the clicker training method that teaches a pet to respond to certain sounds; and positive reinforcement training, where the owner gives the canine tasty treats for good behavior. Before an owner reviews the type of training classes in their area, they need to decide how they want to train their dog. Remember, consistency is important with people and animals, so whatever method is started in puppy class should be continued throughout the life of the dog. If the owner wants the puppy to feel like they are a member of the family, positive reinforcement training or clicker training may be the better choice. If the dog will be in shows, hunting, or needs advanced training later on, traditional training methods may be helpful.
Finding the right dog training classes
Once the owner decides on the desired training methods, it is important to investigate the businesses offering dog training classes in their area. One should find out the method of training the business uses, how long they have been in business, and how previous students felt about the course. The family veterinarian, local pet store, and the area animal shelter are good places to start gathering information about area dog trainers.
With a shortlist of possibilities in hand, the owner can then contact the dog trainers and see if they can stop in and see a class in action. This will give the owner a good idea of what the class will be like, how the participants in the class feel about the lessons, and the overall behavior of the trainer. After attending a class, the owner should have an opinion of whether or not that trainer is ideal for a training class.
When reviewing pet classes, there are some things the owner should keep in mind. With puppy classes, the group should be small and interaction should be controlled. Just like with human toddlers, puppies can pick up bad habits from other animals quickly. Then, the owner is faced with breaking the learned behavior in addition to basic training skills. Another important aspect of dog training classes is that it should seem apparent that the lesson taught in that class is absorbed by the participants. While each dog may learn at a different pace, the overall group should appear to understand what is being taught, and progress should be evident.
The size and method of instruction in a good class should allow for private reinforcement when necessary. The person watching the class should note whether or not the instructor notices when students are struggling and offer additional support. The size of the class shouldn’t be so large that it is difficult to maintain order and students appear to get lost in the crowd.
Good dog training class should have an overall atmosphere that is relaxed, fun and enjoyable. If the learning environment is tense, both human and canine may end up with a negative experience. Animals are sensitive to the emotional environment of a situation, and if it is strained and stressful the dog may not learn what is required of them. Having fun while teaching a puppy the basics of their new home will help owner and dog create a strong foundation that will last the rest of their lives.