Are Puppy Kindergarten Classes Necessary? You Be The Judge (Part

Gemma | January 12th, 2006
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Are Puppy Kindergarten Classes Necessary? You Be The Judge (Part 4)

Most puppy classes show you how to physically handle your puppy, also called social handling. By handling puppies often and gently, they learn to accept being touched, including looking inside the ears, touching the teeth, and handling the paws and toenails. This gentle handling makes grooming much easier, especially combing, brushing, and checking for fleas, ticks, burrs and tangles in the hair.

A significant part of puppy class also teaches you how to prevent future problem behaviors. For example, by teaching your puppy to sit and stay at an open door or gate, you can prevent your puppy from learning to dash through that opening to the outside world, and perhaps running away or getting hit by a car. When your puppy learns to sit for petting, jumping on people is no longer a problem.

A puppy class should set up practical solutions because often, it’s everyday routines that cause the biggest problems for the pet dog owner. The class should also address problems within the family over the pup, including inconsistent training.

Finding The Perfect Puppy Class

There are many ways to find a great puppy training class. Like any business, reputation and referrals are the best. Look at dogs you admire and ask the owners where they went to class. If you and your puppy go for a walk and you see a wonderfully behaved, friendly dog, do just that. People love to talk about their dogs, and will gladly share dog training stories with you.

You can also call around to local veterinarians and ask where they recommend their clients take their puppies for training. Veterinarians and their staff see all kinds of dogs, including those that are well-trained and easy to handle, as well as dogs that have no training at all and are difficult to treat.

When you have the names and phone numbers of a few different trainers, give them a call and talk for a few minutes. Ask where they train. Is it in a public place that might be a hazard to a puppy or do they have a private, enclosed training yard? What steps have they taken for the participants’ safety, particularly for small dogs? When do they recommend puppies begin training? What vaccinations do they require?

Then ask if you can come back and watch a class. Leave your puppy at home and watch how the instructor teaches the class. How does the instructor teach the students? Are the students attentive? Are they having fun? Does the instructor relate well to the dogs in class? Is the instructor’s dog well-behaved? After watching the class, would you be comfortable in this class?

As you watch the class, keep in mind that every trainer and instructor has his or her own training style and techniques. Some trainers use clickers; others use positive methods, such as food treats but no clickers; and some trainers use other techniques. Choose something that you would feel comfortable with and that works best for you and your dog.

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