Tips on How to Select a Good Puppy School

1. The right “trainer”

Look for someone who:

  • Has good qualifications & experience in early canine development.
  • Uses positive reinforcement training methods.
  • Makes training a fun & enjoyable experience for both you and your puppy.
  • Is approachable and encourages questions.
  • Clearly explains and demonstrates each lesson.
  • Is polite to dogs and handlers alike.
  • Gives individual attention to learners.
  • Allows sufficient opportunity for his learners to practice.

2. Classes that are not too big

Although the instructors’ experience and number of assistants affect how many puppies are appropriate in a class, it’s important to have classes that allow for some individual attention.

3. Appropriate play time

Puppies learn to socialise with others through play. Play may occur on lead or off lead. Just make sure play time is carefully supervised so that your puppy has a positive experience and becomes more confident in social interactions.

4. Class Area:

  • Secure area for puppies to have free and safe work and play sessions that are not frequented by roaming dogs.
  • The area can be indoors or outdoors or both.
  • A large enough area for puppies to play, but small enough for them to feel secure.
  • The training area should however have ample space so that the puppies don't feel cramped. Working under confined conditions causes fear in some dogs which may lead to unnecessary aggression.
  • Easy access to a grassed section.
  • There should be shade and fresh water should always be easily accessible.

5. Environment and structure that stimulates exposure and learning

Classes should be run in a relaxed but orderly way with respect for both owners and puppies. They should be broken down into short sessions suitable for puppies to learn and owners to practice their skills. Puppies and owners should be relaxed and enjoying themselves. All equipment used should be safe and puppy-friendly, including restraint equipment like collars and leads (no choke chains, prong collars etc) and training equipment like jumps, steps and tunnels (non-skip, clean and appropriate for the size of the puppies). All interactions, whether between people and animals, or between different people, should be calm and controlled. 

6. Don't be afraid to ask the Puppy School for names of previous puppy parent attendants and contact them to ask how they felt about the puppy classes. Find out if their expectations are being met.

Right, you're now equipped to choose the best Puppy School in your neighbourhood. Go out and find it. Happy learnings!