Find the right puppy school

Specifics to look out for

If you want to get off to the right start with your new puppy, consider enrolling at puppy school. Classes are crucial to ensure proper socialisation of your puppy, a key to holistic development.

Find the right puppy school

April 26, 2019

Spot a good puppy school

It’s a good idea to go and watch a class before you enrol. Check the points indicated below and make sure everyone is having fun!

1. Is the environment safe?

The premises must be clean and safe for the puppies as they will be off-lead at times. Vaccination certificates must be checked at the start of the course. The area shouldn’t be too big, but it should be comfortable for the number of puppies in the class.

2. Are the instructors qualified?

Ask about the qualifications of the instructors. “You are quite within your rights to ask what qualifications they hold, and then you can do some investigation as to the training methods they are following,” says senior lecturer Wendy Wilson of COAPE SA. “Be aware that because dog training is an unregulated field, anyone can say they are a dog trainer and open a school.”

Look for reputable organisations like COAPE SA, COAPE Association of Applied Pet Behaviourists and Trainers SA (CAPBT SA), ThinkingPets or a practitioner member of the Animal Behaviour Consultants (ABC) of SA.

3. How are classes structured?

Ideally, classes should only comprise four to six puppies under the care of one instructor so that they are able to give everyone the correct attention. Structure and control are important.

 Classes should:

  • Include puppies under 16 weeks.
  • Include dogs of all breeds – your puppy needs to meet dogs of different shapes and sizes.
  • Use positive reinforcement and reward-based training methods.
  • Teach basic obedience, including simple commands like ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘stay’ and how to walk on a loose lead.
  • Provide safe socialisation for puppies – with each other, other animals and people from different walks of life.
  • Include owner education.

 Warning signs:

  • You are never asked to present your vet card.
  • The environment looks unkempt or unsafe – faeces are not picked up or the area is open.
  • One or two instructors for a class of 15+ puppies (no control).
  • Classes comprise only basic obedience or free play.
  • Outdated methods are used – choke chains, spray bottles (water) or rolled-up newspaper.
  • Dogs up to the age of six months are in the ‘puppy’ class.

Source: contentUtrust

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.