A good puppy training school offers so much more than obedience. It’s a great place for your puppy to socialise, learn to understand dog body language, and start to become more confident in new situations. Also, puppy training school is a great place to get rid of some of that endless energy – so they’re less of a destructive force at home.
Of all the options available, how do you find the perfect match?
What makes a good puppy training school?
Before you enroll your soon-to-be-graduate in puppy school, make sure to do your homework. After all, a good choice here could set you up for a lifetime with a happy and obedient dog.
Do some background research
Doing the right amount of research will help you find a reputable puppy training school.
A good starting point is to ask for recommendations from a vet or a friend who you trust. Look at reviews online too. Try searching Google as well as Facebook. Community groups on social media can be really helpful here and you can ask extra questions as they arise.
Make a shortlist of any puppy training schools you like the look of then visit their online channels (e.g. website, social media profiles). Find out about qualifications or certificates, like if they have an NDTF qualification or one of the many TAFE options available to dog trainers. Find out more about regulations and dog training certifications in Australia here.
If you like the look of the school, send an email or get on the phone with them to ask about their approach to puppy training.
A good puppy school will want to ask you some questions too, like about your puppy’s vaccination history, breed, and personality.
Visit your favourite puppy training schools in person
The next step is to visit the puppy training school in person. If you can do a trial class, that’s fantastic. You’ll get a feel for the instructor and the premises, and will be able to tell if your dog is enjoying it or not.
If not, you can still go and visit. Have a walk around the property to see if it’s clean and safely fenced. Watch how the other dogs behave and look for signs of contentment versus anxiety. Read Is My Dog Afraid and How To Speak Dog for some signs you can interpret to determine if a dog is happy or not.
Is puppy training school worth it?
Some dog parents opt not to go to puppy training school. If you have ample time and are experienced, you can of course train them yourself. Read our puppy training tips here.
However, most puppies (and their owners) will benefit from supervised instruction from professionals. Like we mentioned, there are also other social skills and benefits which make puppy school worthwhile.
Puppies need lots of controlled stimulation every day, and puppy school gives you a place to do this. Most dogs are highly intelligent, and have the capacity to learn heaps of commands and new skills.
But if you don’t foster this, giving your pup the opportunity to learn, then things can go sour quickly. Puppies can become frustrated, destructive, or even aggressive. And without proper, controlled exposure to a variety of social situations, dogs can end up having bad experiences with humans or other pets.
When should you start puppy training classes?
Puppies can begin training from as young as eight weeks. Just like kids, young puppies often find it easier to pick up new skills and commands. They’re naturally curious at this age too – so that desire to explore absolutely everything can be put to good use.
So, starting early can be invaluable.
That said, it’s not just puppies who benefit from dog training schools. Obedience training can be useful for older dogs with bad habits or rescue dogs who didn’t have the opportunity for puppy school when they were young. There’s no reason any age should be seen as a cut-off date.
Turns out, old dogs can learn new tricks. Some dog schools even have special classes for older dogs.
How do you keep your puppy safe at training school?
Obviously, you want to make sure all dogs attending training will be vaccinated. You’ll also make sure the property is as secure and safe as possible. And most puppy training schools will do their utmost to ensure that any interactions are kept quiet, productive, and positive for the puppies.
But dogs attending puppy training school are still learning how to behave correctly. So it may be worthwhile to take out pet insurance before you start classes. Though most classes are well controlled, there have been incidents where puppies bite each other or take a tumble while playing.
Pet insurance means you don’t have to worry about being landed with a huge vet bill. But it’s as much for other people’s protection as yours, thanks to third party liability cover. If your pup damages someone else or their property, third party cover through pet insurance means you’re covered. Phew.
Over to you
Do you have a puppy or a dog that benefited from a great puppy training school? Share your tips on how to you made your choice on our Facebook page.