Getting a new puppy is always an exciting time but a recent report from the PDSA found that 60% of dogs do not attend a puppy training class within their first 6 months of life, meaning that over 5 million dogs are missing out on the benefits of an early education. So why should you seek out a suitable training class and what are the benefits regardless of how experienced an owner you are?
Most people these days will know how important it is to socialise a puppy and a good training class will help you do this in a safe and appropriate way. Socialising is not only about exposing your puppy to everyday objects and situations but also about teaching a puppy how to behave when they encounter a situation, person, other dog or a novel object.
Life skills, distractions and learning how to learn
As a dog owner you will probably have a list of things you would like your puppy to do such as come back when called, sit, down and walking nicely on the lead and many puppies will start to learn these basics at home before they have completed their vaccinations. The problem comes when they start to venture out into the world coming across other dogs, people, traffic and a host of other distractions. By attending training classes your puppy learns to listen to you regardless of what else is going on and they get used to working around other dogs. An important life skill your puppy should learn at class is how to greet other dogs in suitable manner and not to rush up which can prevent them getting into trouble later on in life.
In a class the instructor will help you discover which methods, equipment and treats work best for you and your dog. This means that you will leave the course knowing not only how to help your puppy improve on what you have learnt together in class but also how to teach new behaviours and tricks at home.
Troubleshooting and Information
Many people will only seek training for their puppy or dog once they have started to experience some type of problem or issue such as chasing other dogs but by attending classes you will be teaching your puppy what is expected of them before a problem arises. If you do find you are having a concern or struggling with your pup a good class will be able to advise you what to do and maybe able to help you with additional training outside of the group.
Classes also are great for finding out what is normal for a puppy and what isn't, which can be particularly useful if you are a first time dog owner. You can pick up information about feeding, health, dog walks, websites, along with a range of other things and sometimes it is nice just to be able to talk to other puppy owners about how they are finding life with their companion - most dog owners love to talk about their pets!
Taking a training class with a new puppy has the added bonus of giving you time to connect and bond away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You should always feel comfortable with what your instructor is asking you to do and most of all training classes should always provide fun.