Why Puppy Classes?
So, now you have a puppy what do you do next? Your new member of the family is cuddly, pretty and being spoilt! Your puppy is making toilet mistakes and possibly started to chew up anything in sight!
The main problem is that if the truth be known you really do not know anything about your new member of the family. It is well recorded that one of the most attentive times is when you buy your puppy. You will listen and remember what was told to you by the “breeder” (you did get your puppy from a registered breeder?) who often will not know much about other dog activities other than showing.
Your first outing together with your new puppy should be your first visit to the vet for inoculations and an examination. Your vet should be familiar with local training schools and should be able to recommend you to a puppy class which is vital for both you and the puppy’s future. Many vets run their own introductory puppy classes which is a good way to start training.
What is a puppy class?
Many people do not think it important to go to a puppy class, however it is vital to attend as it is good for your morale as you realise you are not alone in the challenges of rearing a dog.
There is so much you need to know, and a good class will first calm you down as well as your puppy. You will soon realise that your puppy is perfectly normal, and you will be given so much information about correct feeding, handling, advice on the correct collar and lead. In the early months toys are vital and the correct toys you will help you train and exercise your pet.
One thing you need to understand about any form of dog training class is that the objective of the trainer is to teach you how to train your dog. And whilst at puppy class every dog is going to be small eventually some might be a lot bigger. Inevitably the trainer may suggest slightly different training techniques to individuals. Some dogs are very food orientated, whilst others may prefer play. All will enjoy praise.
It is important that the class provides you with strategies to get your dog to do what you want kindly and constructively and show you what is going on in your puppy’s mind when he demonstrates unwanted behaviour. Meeting other puppies and owners you will quickly realise is good for you and your puppy.
There are now many puppy classes being run by excellent trainers but also many have no qualifications at all, but often a good trainer is a lot more than a row of qualifications. The Kennel Club runs a scheme called the Good Citizen Dog Scheme. The KCGCDS for short. Over 1700 clubs around the country run classes specifically designed to take you through the four award levels: Puppy Foundation, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
It is always a good idea to visit a puppy class and see if the puppies are being taught what you want yours to learn. People and puppies must be relaxed and happy. You must listen to how questions and concerns are addressed and whether homework is set (it should be), are there assistants to help with the class in case anyone needs one to one help?
Socialization is very important as your puppy must now learn about sounds, smells, cars, roads and, most important, to be allowed to sniff and play with other puppies and dogs which are under the control of their owner. A good trainer will also ensure that you get plenty of homework and be assured they will know if you practice it with your new member of the family.