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.
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.
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