Unfortunately, despite the importance, many people are not providing enough socialization to their young canine companions. New research from the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College shows that puppy classes are an important part of ensuring your dog is properly socialized. Puppy classes are mostly for socializing, so yeah, I think you should. It will expose your puppy to many different types of dogs and people you wouldn't normally be around.
A puppy training class is a great place to learn how to teach your dog the most basic skills, such as sitting at a command. New research shows that taking your puppy to a puppy training class even once a week will help ease the feelings of fear or aggression they may have in their new environment. Angela Gonzales-Martinez, from the University of Santiago de Compostela, explored the benefits of training puppies in 80 pups. Classes that focus only on obedience training are a good start.
However, puppy play and socialization classes are also important, especially when your puppy is still small and learning to interact with other dogs. Ideally, your puppy class will be a combination of training and play. You want to make sure your puppy learns to interact properly with dogs and people, and group classes provide a great environment to do so. So what are you looking for in a good puppy class, how do you find a reputable one near you, and how do you make sure the class goes according to plan? A good puppy class, if they choose to include playtime, must match the puppies by size, age and play style so that appropriate interactions can take place.
Most importantly, attending a group dog training class helps build the bond between you and your puppy. When choosing a puppy class, look for a training location that requires all canine participants to be up to date on vaccinations. Some classes even encourage pet parents to take turns training or manipulating each other's puppies to get the puppies used to other people. Other safety precautions may include sanitizing the room before classes, taking puppies to class from the car, and having parents of puppies sanitize their shoes or wear protective shoe covers in the classroom.
A good positive reinforcement coach will also use what is called negative punishment when necessary, which means that a puppy loses something he wants when he performs unwanted behavior, such as jumping, barking, or nibbling. You'll also want to introduce training skills that encourage impulse control and create a solid foundation for the relationship between you and your pup. As a trainer who had experience teaching off-leash obedience, when I took River home, I immediately looked for a puppy class that I could attend with her. Each puppy is an individual, and some need a little extra help to facilitate playtime, training, exploration or installation.
To find out what I recommend, I invite you to download my FREE guide, 5 key things to ask a dog handler before signing up for a training program.