Puppy classes can be good or bad, as well-meaning puppy parents we can stumble across a bad one, which is why the following information is so important.
This post is designed to help you understand that not all puppy advice may be helpful to your own dog. Watch out for the expert at the park and don’t buy into the idea that all puppy training classes are quality ones.
Puppy classes are wonderful when properly managed by qualified professionals. Yet if chaotic they can be a nightmare for some dogs. Even worse if the trainer is a dominance advocate.
The reason to be wary is this lack of regulation in the dog training industry.
Puppy training is unregulated, which means anyone can run a puppy class. The reason that this is so very dangerous is that puppies go to class in critical learning periods. So if not managed well your puppy could be learning fear, in a training class, that you might not know about until he reaches adolescence.
When adolescence starts to make changes to how a dog feels and sees the world, these changes can easily align with the information gathered during the first few months of the dog’s life. Then it seems to the worried dog guardian that the behaviour change has come out of nowhere.
When really it could easily be a result of attending a poorly run puppy class, catching up with the dog.
Finding The Right Puppy Class
So what can you do?
- Look for regulation, science based dog trainers and those that pledge to manage classes with kindness.
- Look for classes that enrich your puppy’s life, those that play games, dog trainers that recognise behaviours such as bullying, ganging up, stress, hiding and the act of puppy friendships forming.
- Choose training areas that have a lot of space, toys and encourage interaction between you and your dog, a good trainer will help you to interpret your dog’s body language throughout the class.
- Find the trainer’s website, see where they are listed, look at their methods and where they studied dogs. Whilst there is no regulation there is accreditation.
- Find the professional standards and ethos of the training school and look for kindness and understanding.
Puppy classes can be a wonderful start to your dogs life, yet the poor quality ones can have a devastating effect for some dogs and instil fear into their tiny hearts. So go for quality puppy classes and you will find adolescence a much nicer time for all of you.