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Is a class right for my puppy?

We sometimes think that classes are where all dogs and puppies ought to learn how to get along with each other and people. In times gone by, that was indeed perhaps the only option.

Well, if you looked at this dog, would you think he'd be happy mixing with dogs and people in a class? At all? Your answer is most likely - probably not. Ofcourse, each situation is different. But here are some facts...
  • Stress inhibits learning
  • Stress potentially creates more fear
  • An overly excited dog will have difficulty learning.

So, why make things difficult for your dog? Why make things difficult for yourself? Why bring your distruptive dog into a room with others? Learning happens best in a calm, quiet environment. Even 12 week old puppies are best taught when they are on their own. Once they know the basics of sit and come and heel, then that knowledge can be practised in a more distracting environment.

A good training plan would be to:
  • Create a calm environment
  • Teach your dog or puppy one simple task, like sit.
  • Then teach then to sit for a few seconds.
  • Then move to a different room in your house or place in the garden
  • And teach sit again.
  • Repeat 4 and 5 a few times.
  • Now choose a different task like - come to me and Go-To-1.
  • Once your puppy has a few basics under their paws, then increase the environmental distraction ever so slightly and start again. And repeat.

Throwing your emotionally challenged dog or puppy in at the deep end - into a room with lots of people and other dogs - makes learning very difficult. It leads to confusing and frustration for both of you.

So, if your puppy seems to be afraid, stubborn, excitable or aggressive, please arrange 1-1 help first.

If your puppy is generally friendly, and doesn't run at 100mph ALL the time, or bark alot, then classes will probably work for you. Read more about choosing a good class here.

Read more free puppy training notes, hints and tips here