Puppy Class

March 5, 2015 | By More


“A responsible way to help keep dogs in the home and out of shelters”

You just couldn’t resist getting that adorable little puppy.   He jumps up on you and licks your face and plays chase with your kids, comes running out of the bedroom with a sock hanging from his little mouth and it’s just so darn cute, isn’t it?   …Until it isn’t.

Puppy Class may seem like a silly romper room experience full of fluff and fun, but it is so, so, much more.  If you only take your dog to one class in his lifetime, it should be this one.  A well run puppy class with an experienced trainer is your puppy’s best chance for becoming a good dog.   In class, puppies should experience resource guarding prevention, basic manners, bite inhibition and proper play interaction with other pups.  Puppies learn more during the imprinting period — the first four months of age — than they can learn in a life time.  If your puppy is in a class at this critical learning period he will be gently exposed to all kinds of people, sights, situations and sounds, while carefully desensitizing him to strange things that he may otherwise find scary once he’s matured.  After four and a half months of age the window of acceptance closes…fast!  And whatever your pup experiences during that time will have a huge impact on his future personality and tendencies toward good or bad behavior.

I always urge people to enroll their pups in a puppy class as soon as possible.   And here are the two most common rebuttals.

First:  “My vet says to wait until he is fully vaccinated.”

Ah…so now you are forced to play “catch up” trying to fix the puppy’s bad behavior instead of being proactive and planning for success from the start.  While it would not be prudent to put your pup in harm’s way, a responsible facility should require proof of some immunization from every pup in class, and take care to keep the area well disinfected.  This might be one or two sets of vaccinations, depending on where the classes are being held.  By the time a puppy has received all his vaccinations, the imprinting period of learning is over.   So when considering your pup’s physical safety, please also consider the poorly socialized dogs that are surrendered to shelters or euthanized for unwanted behaviors.

Second: “I’ve had dogs my whole life and I know how to train my own dogs.”

Well, so do I.  And I also know that I cannot provide the exposure, the socialization, the desensitization, and other real life experiences found in a puppy class.  So yes, I have had many dogs of my own, and I have trained literally thousands in my 15 years as a trainer.  And still, my first priority when I get a new puppy is to find a puppy class.

Without hesitation!

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Comments (2)

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  1. natalie cullen says:

    I am interested in your puppy classes, I would love to get more info . Thank you

    • hwcdogtraining says:

      Sorry Natalie, I just saw this. My puppy classes are held at Woods Humane Society. Please go to their site for further information. Saturdays at 9:00am
      Thanks for your interest