The Pros and Cons of Puppy Training Classes
Hello dog lovers! Welcome back to our free dog training blog. This month, we’re talking about the pros and cons of group puppy training classes and what you can do to make the most of training your puppy.
Puppy classes are widely available in the UK and have been around for decades. That being said, are they the most beneficial training platform on the market? Let’s delve into the good the bad and the ugly of puppy classes.
Your Puppy will meet other dogs.
Pros: It’s a crucial part of socialisation to ensure your puppy meets lots of other dogs and experiences boundaries, play and bite inhibition with all kinds of breeds and ages. Group puppy classes often allow pups to meet and play at the start or end of the session.
Cons: Puppy classes are exactly that – all puppies. Pups tend to play rough and don’t know their own limits – they are all learning how to interact appropriately. Soley socialising with other puppies can = boisterousness or an inability to switch off.
While puppy play is a really great element of socialisation, adult dogs are the ones who help define manners, boundaries and the stop/start function of interaction. Without them, dogs can have poor understanding of reading signals to stop or back off. You’ll see these dogs get told off a lot by older dogs and fail to respond with calming signals or backing up. This can lead to dog fights.
Your puppy will learn in a distracting environment.
Pros: Being in a group class is full of distractions, sights, smells, sounds. There are other people, other puppies, maybe even a field with other dogs training at a higher level. To be able to learn in this format helps set puppies up to concentrate on walks or in more distracting places for example, the park, urban areas or your local pub.
Cons: Often the level of distraction is still too high for young pups to cope with. It could be seen as setting them up for failure. If your pup goes from learning commands in a nice quiet garden or living room to suddenly a large class of barking pups, nervous owners and all kinds of interesting smells, you might find they really struggle to learn anything which ca be frustrating for both of you.
Your puppy will be tired by the end.
Pros: Puppy classes are often an hour in duration. A good class will cover body language, lure positioning and general tips for socialisation with the real world. An hour of concentrating, sniffing and playing will definitely = a tired pup who will sleep well that evening and contribute to both their mental development and their night time sleeping habits.
Cons: Puppies can’t concentrate for very long. I would expect a 12/13 week old pup to be able to cope with some basic lure training for 5-10 minutes before their attention span starts to fall off a cliff edge.
Concentrating takes practice – little and often – to improve, shape and develop. Some pups get full up on treats and they don’t feel the need to chase after your high value offerings. Others will be fatigued and become frustrated (expect biting and nipping to begin). Others may be teething which can halt your progress for several weeks. If you see your pup switch off in class, let them take a break and try not to feel frustrated.
You can learn from other owners in the class.
Pros: Shared experiences like puppy classes often help owners gain a deeper perspective on their journey with a new dog. It’s enjoyable to meet other dog owners, meet up, go for walks or share the ups and downs, knowledge and tips that have been picked up along the way.
Cons: All dogs are different and dog training is not black and white. Like parenting, try not to get sucked into sweeping statements or breed-specific negatives such as “collies can never be calm” or “bull breeds are just clumsy”. Your training journey is not dictated by negative sterotypes.
The trainer can answer your questions.
Pros: Working face to face with a trainer is brilliant. Be sure to take full advantage of asking questions if you need to. A good trainer will allocate time to each owner to ensure they are making good progress.
Cons: You are sharing your trainer with possibly 7 or 8 other owners and the time you’ll have with them is limited. Some owners might be shy, or find it hard to pick the right moment to ask a question. You might feel embarrassed to do so in front of others. This is where private training tends to be a lot better.
So there you have it, some of the biggest pros and cons of puppy training classes. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you’d like to see more, we have 100s of free dog training resources on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.
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