Well run puppy training classes are wonderful for both pup and owner. Both can learn so much from them, make friends and have good fun. However, poorly run classes can leave your puppy with ongoing issues, and can knock your confidence and leave you feeling totally alone.
Dog training is an unregulated industry, meaning that anyone can set up training classes, so it is important that you make sure that the puppy class you attend with your puppy is run by qualified trainers who understand canine behaviour and use force free, reward-based training methods.
What to look for
- The trainer should be qualified and accredited by a force free organisation. Check the ISCP Practitioner section of our website. The ABTC can also help you find accredited trainers and behaviourists.
- The trainer should be happy for you to observe a training class before you book. Classes should be relaxed, quiet, and everyone should be having fun.
- There should be a low puppy to trainer ratio, and classes should be small. I run classes with a maximum of six puppies and two members of staff.
- Each puppy and owner should be given lots of space. Rows of chairs and puppies jumping over each other should be avoided. Ideally, each pup and carer should have their own ‘island’ with a seat for the carer (or carers), a mat for the pup, and lots of space around their island.
- All training methods should be force free, and positive reinforcement should be used. If you see any form of punishment being used then walk away!
- The trainer should teach you to be able to understand your pup’s body language.
- Training sessions should be broken up into lots of little chunks, with plenty of down time for your pup.
- The trainer should answer any questions and help you with any concerns you may have.
- The trainer should do all they can to make sure that you and your pup are happy and stress free, and should help you and make the necessary changes if you are not comfortable with how your pup is feeling.
- Positive reinforcement is good for you too! The trainer should make sure that they communicate with you and tell you when you are doing great.
Have fun with your puppy!