Here’s What to Expect at Your First Puppy Class

Hello everyone, and welcome back to a brand new episode of Dog Sense!

Today, Sarah, Lauren, and I will be discussing a super important subject: The challenges of puppy class!

Let's say you just got a new puppy, and you need to take him to puppy class ASAP.

After all, you want him to get socialized, become comfortable around other people and dogs, AND learn how to behave. 

As you know, a polite dog is a great dog (and an amazing companion, as you'll come to find out)!

So, you might be asking yourself some questions, especially if this is your first puppy class ever.

What should I expect? What do I need to prep myself (and my pup) for? And how does this even work?

Don't worry, we're here to help!

Today, we’ll be answering all those questions (and more) for you, so, tune in now to learn everything you need to know about puppy classes!

Puppy Class, You Said?

Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your puppy for his or her first puppy class:

  • Bring three different types of treats: This means you should bring a low, medium, and high-value version. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, think of it this way: The kibble your puppy eats for breakfast and dinner is probably the lowest value (because he gets that all the time!), the cut up string cheese or freeze dried treats would probably be medium, and grilled chicken or steak might be high value. It could be any kind of treat, really, just make sure they all have different value levels. That way, you can start using the low value treat, and as class progresses (and his attention wanders….), you can upgrade to something more exciting! And if your puppy isn’t food-motivated, you can also use different levels of toys. Just make sure that the toys you use in training aren’t available to him throughout the day. That ensures that they’ll be excited because he doesn’t normally see them!
  • Teach your dog how to focus: There are a few things you can do to help your puppy focus on you during class: 1. You can skip his meal before class (or do a half meal). Doing this will keep him food-motivated, and thus, focused on getting his favorite treats. 2. Make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom before class, so he’s not thinking “I need to GO!” or potentially having an accident. There are other things you can do if this doesn’t work, which we mention in the episode above, so give it a listen!
  • Manage your expectations: Your puppy won’t be fully-trained after a few months at puppy class. In fact, it takes a year to two years to have a fully-trained dog, and even after that period of time, you’ll have to keep up with the training. So, once your puppy completes puppy classes, make sure you move up to Puppy 2 and beyond!

We discuss this subject in more depth in today’s episode of Dog Sense, so make sure to tune in to learn more!