Taking your puppy to a training class can be a good way to bond with your pup while simultaneously assuring he is properly socialized. A dog who is well trained and behaves appropriately in public is easier to take places, and will get to spend more time with his family. For best results, ask your vet, breeder or animal shelter for a referral to a reputable trainer.
Pick the Right Class
Many pet supply stores, animal clinics, shelters and community centers offer puppy training classes, but the class will only be beneficial if you choose the one that’s right for you and your pup. Make sure the class you pick is age and breed appropriate, and take into consideration the class size as well. If you opt for one- on-one training, you and your pup will get undivided attention. On the other hand, a larger class presents the opportunity for your puppy to learn how to behave around other animals and how to obey when presented with distractions.
Choose the Right Time
Taking a puppy class should be a positive experience for both you and your dog. If you are tired or rushed, the pup will pick up on it, and you won’t get as much as you can from the class. Select a class time that is convenient for you, like in the evening or on a weekend. Feed your pup before class and give him time to take care of his bathroom needs in advance. Following these steps will help you create a positive environment in which you can give your pup and his training your full attention.
Pick the Right Trainer
Meet the class trainer before signing up for a class to make sure you're comfortable with her. Some trainers take a very strict disciplinarian approach while others are more laid back. Take your pup for this initial meeting and watch how well he takes to the trainer. You want to work with someone both you and your pup will be comfortable around.
Work at Home
After you start your classes, work on “assignments” at home. Most classes cover basic obedience training that you can reinforce by implementing it right away at home. Make sure the entire family follows the training procedures outlined in the class. While most puppies take instruction well and want to please you, consistency and repetition is key. If your class teaches you various hand signs or verbal commands, follow the exact same procedures on your own. Any variation has the potential to confuse your pup and make his classes less effective.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.