If you’re fortunate enough to be the parent of a new puppy, it’s never too early to enroll him in puppy classes. Young puppies from 7 weeks to 16 weeks old will learn important socialization skills they’ll need to communicate and play appropriately with other dogs throughout their lives, and will learn some basic commands like sit and down. Around 16 weeks of age your puppy will be ready to learn obedience and manners.
Here’s what you can expect your best friend to gain from attending puppy classes:
7 weeks to 16 weeks: Puppy Socialization. Classes for young puppies focus primarily on socialization skills: your puppy will learn to communicate and play appropriately with other puppies and will also have the opportunity to be handled by a number of different people (other puppy parents).
Between the ages of 7-12 weeks it’s especially important for a puppy to be exposed to as many sights, sounds, smells, textures and persons as possible, so he learns to feel comfortable in the world with the many new experiences he’ll encounter during his life.
One of the most important skills your puppy will acquire in this first class series is bite inhibition. Through play fighting with others he’ll learn how much pressure to use with his mouth so as not to hurt his canine or human playmates.
16 weeks and older: Obedience and Manners. Around 4 months of age your puppy will have developed an increased attention span and the ability to learn and retain new information. In a basic class, he will learn sit and down (if he hasn’t learned it already), stay, come and how to walk on a loose leash.
Some classes offer more in the way of basic training and include skills such as door manners, greeting a stranger politely and proper etiquette when visiting the vet or the groomer.
Before enrolling your puppy in a class, find out what training methods will be used. Positive reinforcement training is not only the kindest approach, but also the most effective.
Don’t underestimate the importance of puppy classes; these first months of life are critical in shaping your dog’s personality and behavior. At six months old he’ll enter his adolescent phase, and like human teenagers he’ll be testing limits, rebelling against authority and driving you a little crazy. Your puppy’s adolescence will last up to 18 months of age, and it will be much easier to cope with if he has a good solid foundation provided by early socialization and training.
If you’d like to find out more about puppy training or classes, please contact us.