Choosing A Good Puppy Training Class
It is worth taking some time and effort to find a good one. There are usually many to choose from, but they vary considerably in quality. At worst, bad ones can be upsetting and damaging for both you and your puppy. The best classes will make you feel good, help you learn easily, and will be successful and rewarding for both of you. A good puppy training class will help to motivate you, help you solve problems, and work with you to raise your puppy to be a well-behaved and well-balanced adult dog.
Where do I find out about them?
Try the following:
- local internet search
- dog owners with well-behaved dogs
- veterinary surgeries
- dog warden
- dog rescue charities
- pet shops
- boarding kennel
Word of mouth
Personal recommendation is usually a good way to find a good class. Ask as many people as you can and you will gradually begin to get an idea of which are the best classes in your area and which are not so good.
Visting without your puppy
An essential part of finding a good class is to visit several without your puppy. This gives you time to assess the classes properly and find out which is the one you want to go to. If you take your puppy, you will be asked to get involved and, as a consequence, be less able to be objective about whether it is a good class or not
What to look for
- Positive training methods for training puppies and humans, using praise, food treats, and games with toys
- Training is effective for both people and puppies so that all are learning and progressing
- Calm, ordered class
- Any off-lead play is carefully managed and supervised with just a few puppies off lead for short periods of time
- People and puppies are having fun
- Puppies and adult dogs are in separate classes. Puppies under 20 weeks are kept separate from adult dogs
- Classes are structured and progressive week on week, rather than being run on a roll-on, roll-off basis
- Small class sizes (8 puppies maximum per trainer/assistant)
- No stress and tension
- No check chains, prong collars or electric collars
- No rough treatment of, grabbing, shaking, shouting at puppies or pinning them to the floor
- No spraying with water pistols/air sprays
- No throwing of noise makers
- No humiliation or shaming of owners
- Ask yourself "would my puppy and I look forward to coming to this class"?
- The best classes get booked up early, and may even have a waiting list, so it is best to start working on this as soon as you get your puppy, or even before!
One of the most damaging things for young puppies in unsupervised play with other puppies or adult dogs that may scare or frighten them. Make sure all play at the classes is carefully supervised. The classes should only admit puppies of a similar age (no adult dogs or adolescent puppies), and puppies should be carefully chosen so that those of a similar age, size, and temperament play together (don't go to a class where there is a free-for-all with all puppies being let off the lead at once). All puppies should be enjoying playtimes, which should be short (less than 5 minutes) and interspersed with interactions with the owner
Puppy School is a UK and Irish network of professional puppy class tutors. All Puppy School classes conform to the criteria listed above. For further information on Puppy School classes, go to www.puppyschool.co.uk