Considering Puppy Kindergarten?
I love puppy kindergarten, love, love, love it!
Of course I do, I am a dog trainer after all! But the nice thing is that I can also see the pros and cons of such an establishment.
At some point I always take my puppies to a puppy kindergarten class, but I have some helpful hints to help you and your puppy succeed BEFORE you ever invest in a group class together!
You see, I think that puppy kindergarten classes and dog obedience classes are an opportunity to “proof” your dog with the distraction of other dogs and people AFTER you have given him the foundation he needs to succeed.
The problem is that most people take a puppy kindergarten or basic obedience class BEFORE they have a handle on potty training, or crate training much less obedience skills.
This is a disservice to them, their dogs or puppies and their money.
Dogs and puppies don’t LEARN in a crowded building stuffed full of other unknown dogs and people.
Puppies have a hard enough time learning in the solitude of their home, with very few distractions.
But, I believe in order to be successful and to make your money count your dog should know the behaviors PRIOR to enrolling in a class.
This not only makes your dog look like a “super star” because he knows all the moves; but it also gives you and your dog the confidence to work around other dogs!
I begin planning my puppy training regimen prior to even bringing my dog home by puppy proofing my house, getting lots of toys, and figuring out what behaviors to reward, what behaviors to ignore and what behaviors to correct if you need help with any of those things click here.
And I NEVER take a class without training my dog first. Otherwise we are set up for frustration and failure.
Frustration and failure lead to bad relationships and sometimes a trip to the shelter.
Instead, my dogs learn how to deal with the distraction while the rest of the class is misbehaving and the owners are trying in vain to TEACH their puppies the skills that they will need for a lifetime.
So What Are the Pros and Cons of Puppy Kindergarten?
- Your dog will learn how to interact with other puppies of his age.
- Your puppy will learn what puppies of all sizes look like.
- Your puppy will learn what people of all types and sizes look like.
- Your puppy will likely learn to play (many puppy kindergarten programs allow pups to play after class) which is a crucial thing for puppies to learn and something YOU can’t teach him!
- Your puppy will learn how to deal with the distraction of other people and dogs and still have to listen to you!
Puppy Preschool Cons:
- Your puppy will not “learn” at class. Learning takes place in the privacy of your own home.
- Your puppy will pretend you haven’t taught him anything for the first week or two, he will then begin to understand that he can listen to you even when exciting things are going on in his environment.
- Puppy classes don’t usually cover essential training like potty training, crate training, nipping, chewing and other problems you might encounter at home.
- Puppy classes focus on basic obedience and are “generic” for the masses.
- It is expensive; especially if you and your dog are getting frustrated instead of learning to work through distractions.
How do You Get Your Puppy Ready to Take Puppy Kindergarten Classes?
Make sure your puppy can sit, lay down, stay, come, heel, and give you eye contact.
If that sounds overwhelming check out our Puppy Programming Course here.
We teach you all the basics, plus intermediate and advanced skills.
Plus in our Puppy Programming Course we talk about potty training, crate training, crate games, nipping, chewing and we even talk about WHY your puppy will refuse to listen at certain growth stages.
And, you can take your time working through the videos at your pace, faster for some puppies and slower for others.
And you can focus on the videos you might be struggling with at the time that you need them.
These are all the things I would and do teach my puppy before I start a puppy kindergarten class.
So if you are having puppy questions or problems, even if you have an older puppy come and learn how to teach your puppy first, and then take a class together to get you ready for a life of fun and enjoyment.