Considering Puppy Kindergarten?

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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.

If You Dont Have Those Down Yet I Strongly Suggest You Start With This

This is a disservice to them, their dogs or puppies and their money.

And, some people, who need to take a puppy kindergarten class or an obedience class, don’t because they are afraid their dog will embarrass them; this is also a top reason for high dropout rates!

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?

Puppy Preschool Pros

Socialization:

  •  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!

Distractions:

  • 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.

Even Little Puppies Can Learn Good Behavior and Obedience Skills!

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.

There are 15 Comments

  1. anne- says:

    Help!!! I am having great difficulty getting my puppy who is 5 months old to go potty out the house, please help me train him to go out by himself!! Desperate

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Check out our puppy programming it will give you lots of puppy potty training and crate training advice.

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/PuppyProgramming

    [Reply]

  2. Adelieu Young says:

    I entered my puppy in a class at Petsmart. Not enough time gets spent to drive a behavior home. We go to these classes because we 1. Are short on at home time to spend the many hrs. needed to train certain behaviors and 2. If the puppy is not doing the none training behavior, when the time is up, lesson stops.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I am not sure I understand.

    If you have time for a 1 hour training class, you have time for at home training. Even if you take a class there is homework required. Dogs don’t learn if you only work them once a week.

    I like doing my training at home, then going to class to perfect it!

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  3. Nelly Boets says:

    Very good advise. I like it. I trained my dogs myself at home. I still have a couple of things to do. It’s up to me to take the time.

    Surprise or not.
    My male cocker who is not a liker, just started to lick my mouth at night. I couldn’t figure out why he is doing that.
    Last night it downed on me. We were watching the debate, time had past their feeding time.(He is my alarm clock) That’s how he decided to tell me he needs to eat. Very smart.

    Nelly

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  4. Jenina Rose says:

    I too am a Professional dog trainer and believe its important for your puppy to have the basics down. Puppy kindergarten is great, however there are folks out there without a clue on where to start with just the basics. Great information!

    Jenina

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  5. Gai Speirs says:

    I’d love to go to puppy school but too busy with obedience training others and their furry friends. But I take my puppy big dog class so she can socialise with various ages and sizes for short sessions before and after class. She is doing well with tranfering home knowledge to a busy public ground.
    I like the idea of puppy school as most pups would miss out on socialisation without the regular class comitment and I see a lot of those.
    Gai

    [Reply]

  6. Most of you know that an education is necessary to get along better in this woerld. The same goes for your pup. Unfortunately they don’t come into this world trained to perform what it is that you expect from them. Most parents do a lot of planning before having their first. Planning for your first puppy is as important. Teaching your puppy is easily done. His brain is like a spunge. All you have to do is communicate and communicating is having his attentiom. There are books out there that teach how you develop attention on you and thus communication. Once your puppy develops attention, training exercises are a snap. Training classes are fun as well as productive. All exhibitors in the various dog sports had to begin with basic obedience in order to inhance attention from their dog. Once you have attention you will have education with a curriculum to teach and achievement titles are many. Your dog is the most devoted of all your friends. After a period of attention training you will be able to teach him just about anything you want. Just give him the idea and he will take it from there. So provide him with the opportunities to learn and you start with the teaching of the meaning of basic commands and developing his undivided attention. And yes, dogs can develop abstract thought processes to solve problems. Your first step is developing attention on you and you may get this from the multitudes of training literature and your second step is KINDERGARTEN AND FROM THEN ON THE SKY IS THE LIMIT.

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  7. carla brown says:

    Hi,

    I have adopted a jack russell mix in March. Normally he is a good dog, knowing most of the basic commands; am currently working on the ones he doesn’t have a good grasp on. However I am having a hard time with his dog aggression. Would you have any videos on how to desensitize dogs such as this? Or more importantly, is there any hope for the animal?
    He is okay with my 4 cats and 3 dogs and to his friends (yes he has a few) but I cannot bring him to any classes for….. agility, flyball, obedience, etc. until I can get a grip on his silliness.
    Hoping against hope somewhere is the answer.
    With thanks, Carla

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Read these articles

    Each dog is different as far as how close they can get to a dog before they lose control. One dog may be okay at 20 feet, while another needs 50 yards. You will have to figure out your dog and how close you can get while still maintaining eye contact and focus.

    And don’t let him stare or look at other dogs, or you have already lost the battle. Instead teach him to watch you!

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/dont-tone-voice/
    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/understanding-desensitization-dog-training/

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/eye-contact-focus-behavior-broken/

    [Reply]

  8. Wendy says:

    I thought puppy school was for the new dog OWNER to learn how to train a dog. When I got my first dog, I had no experience in training. Books are great, but to have a human tell you – and SHOW you – is invaluable. I was surrounded by other like-minded first time dog owners too – always nice to learn with other students. For me puppy school is about training ME so I can train my dog.

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  9. Sonia Freer says:

    I would just like to say that I was extremely disappointed in what I was told was ‘Puppy School’ for my new Miniature Schnauzer. We paid in advance and attended ‘classes; run by a vetinary nurse who gave us heaps of helpful info on health issues, tics, worms and the like but spent only 5 minutes each 1 hour class assisting us to teach our puppies anything of value. I had already socialised and trained my pup to sit and toilet training was well underway (we had one accident but was on his own mat!)
    One lesson was even taken up with a ‘pet photographer’ who was there as we arrived and even took awful pictures!
    I have pursued my own training with my pup at home, take him on social visits to friends with dogs, take him to the dog park etc and he is growing into a wonderful pet.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You have to be careful to find a good trainer… there are bad ones out there 😉

    [Reply]

  10. Annie says:

    I made a mistake, I have been following your training techniques with my Newfi puppy (now 7 mo. old and 89 lbs), most of it has been good. She comes to me and will sit and lay with quiet command or hand signals. However, it was very hard to break her from jumping towards my face with her snout (hurts with a dog her size), I finally broke her of it, but I ended up yelling loudly with a no! and smacking her, it only took two times. Problem is I was devastated that I hit her, but as most beloved friends do, she forgave me and no major rift occured But I also have a problem with her running after “cats” or other animals, and although she returns I felt I needed some help to train her. I enrolled in an obedience class with a recommended trainer. He insisted that she have a choker collar on and proceeded to give her a jerk with a command to comply with commands. She looked at me the entire time and even threw a “tantrum”. We did not go back. I am so sad that I allowed so this to occure and I had never seen “fear” or sadness in her until that time. We are back to normal and I am continuing to work with the positive training that I recieved from Chet and Minnet. I still need help to stop her from pulling on the leash and running after other animals. Soon she will be too big for me to hold.Suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    you need to teach her about her leash and keep her on one so she doesn’t chase.

    Chasing is addictive and builds their prey drive, so allowing her to even sometimes will make the behavior harder to break.

    Instead teach her eye contact http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/eye-contact-focus-behavior-broken/

    and leash manners; there are 4 articles highlighted in this article and I want you to read them all http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/leash-manners-final-step/

    And if you need more help check out our puppy programming

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/PuppyProgramming

    Even though she is older and bigger than most, the ideals are still the same and there are 60 videos to help you get control and higher obedience!!

    [Reply]

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