How to select a good puppy school?

You’ve made the excellent decision to take your new puppy to puppy school, but now comes the difficult choice – how to choose one from the available options? The ideal puppy school has the right trainer, classes that are not too big, appropriate play time, a safe space for classes and is structured to stimulate learning. But what does all this mean?

The right trainer is someone who has a qualification, uses positive reinforcement training methods and makes the classes fun and enjoyable for both you and your puppy. You can check these things by asking the person, looking at the information they provide on their website or social media accounts or by asking previous attendees.

Classes that are not too big is hard to define as the trainer’s experience and the presence of assistants can influence this, but it is important that there is the opportunity for individual attention during the classes. Ask the instructor if you can attend and watch a class before enrolling your puppy.

Play time is important for puppies to learn crucial social skills but classes that rely on too much play time or where play time is not carefully supervised can be detrimental. Classes that allow play time from the get go without first briefing puppy parents in some way or another are not recommended.

A safe space for classes means somewhere that your puppy can’t escape from and where the risk of disease transmission is as low as possible. Your puppy does not yet have a fully developed immune system and public areas that cannot be cordoned off and sanitised are not appropriate places for a puppy school. Equally, puppy schools that do not insist on vaccination certificates and do not check that all the puppies are healthy before each session could be putting your puppy at risk.

Classes should consist of a mix of group play, exercises you practice with your puppy individually and information sessions where your puppy practices being calm and well-mannered while you have the opportunity to listen, make notes, ask questions and discuss concerns.

Don't be afraid to ask the Puppy School for names of previous puppy parent attendants and contact them to ask how they felt about the puppy classes.

Right, you're now equipped to choose the best Puppy School in your neighbourhood. Go out and find it. Happy learning!

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