How To Get The Most Out Of Puppy Classes
I LOVE puppy classes!
Its my favourite time of the week when my puppies come for training. Every dog is so different, bringing their own personalities, and challenges. With 11+ classes per week, its certainly fun getting to know each and every one of you!
What do you actually learn in class?
Week 1 – Is all about focus, eye contact, taking treats nicely, as well as learning sit, down, and stay. You will also get a copy of our socialisation handbook.
Week 2 – We tackle ‘leave it,’ on thing that many dogs struggle with.
Week 3 – Greeting people. Most dogs get rather excited when their new family members return home. We like to make sure that greetings are calm and on the floor.
Week 4 – Walking on the lead. Whether your dog loves walking so much that they pull, or is not too enthusiastic about being outside, walking nicely is a must.
Week 5 – Recall! Recall week gives you an introduction to building better recall response with your dog.
Week 6 – Everything comes together. Plus its rosette and certificate day!
Why is training important?
Dog’s need to learn how to navigate the human world. Behaviours that are appropriate to dogs, like stealing food, playing with other dogs, pulling to sniff things, do not always fit well with owner expectations. Dogs need to be trained to behave appropriately, and be rewarded for doing so.
If we don’t reward our dogs good behaviour, they will find reward elsewhere by sniffing, chasing, or playing.
Getting the most out of classes
Our classes require 6 weeks of commitment, but dog training goes on for life. Our puppy classes are designed to give you all the training you need for a well behaved pup, however, training does take work and practise in between sessions is vital to your success.
Train in class!
Puppy class time is training time! Make the most of all of the dogs, people, and distractions, to do the training!
What better opportunity can you get to teach your dog to focus around other dogs???
Your puppy can meet and play with others anywhere, but training classes are great for teaching your dog to listen around distractions. If you always allow your dog to go to a distraction, they will never learn to focus on you while the distraction is present.
There is limited time in class, so get practising! Use the distractions as practise.
Bring more than enough treats
Yes, you will use a lot of treats in puppy class. Once per week is not a bad thing. Make sure you bring enough treats so that you can practise everything we do in class.
Treats should be highly valuable to your dog, to get the most focus during class. How much work would you do for 1p per hour compared to £10????
Soft, moist, and smelly are generally most appealing to dogs, but most of all, it should be quick to eat.
Practise at home
Although puppy classes are 45 mins, you actually only need to do 2-3 minutes at least once per day. It makes a world of difference.
Puppies attention spans are very short, we want to keep it fun for them.
Train everywhere else
Your dog can probably sit in the living room, but can they sit in the park? While other dogs are around? At the beach?
If the answer is no, then your dog just needs more practise in these areas, that’s all. Dogs are not great at generalising behaviour, sometimes we need to go back to step one and teach them from the beginning.
Don’t be scared to help your dog out!
Introduce distractions slowly
As above, we really can’t expect our dog to respond to cues perfectly without training for the situation first. And we certainly cannot go from training at home, to training at the park on a red hot bank holiday! That’s why we have puppy classes in the first place!
Often we cannot control distractions, but we can control how close we are to the distractions. First begin training your dog as far away as possible, slowly working your way towards.
Make sure that your dog is fully focused on you! If he isn’t, its time to step back, or train another day!
Treats at the ready!
When teaching something new, make sure you have the treats at the ready. If your dog does a fantastic stay, by the time you have scrambled around in your pocket and found the treats, your puppy has already forgotten about it!
There is often such a small window of opportunity to reward your dog, that slight glance when walking nicely should be rewarded, and quickly!
The more you reward it, the more they do it!
Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Time, practise, consistency, and if you haven’t guessed already… patience!
Dogs can learn simple behaviours fairly quickly (sit, give paw). Other cues are harder and need more practise (recall, lead walking, stay).
Stick with the training and you will get there.
Puppy classes are a fantastic opportunity to train your dog. Use the time wisely!