Is puppy training necessary?
You’ve just brought home your little ball of fluff and your puppy is full of beans – and barks, bites, and other pretty normal puppy behaviours. Does this mean that it’s time to enrol in puppy classes? The short answer is yes, probably. There are plenty of good reasons to take your furbaby to puppy school, and we cover some of the top reasons below.
What are the main reasons to take my puppy to training classes?
Classes teach you all the things you need to know to help you raise your pup to be a confident, manageable and well-socialised animal. They help your doggie to learn how to communicate, and they can help you with house training, establishing hierarchies, disciplining, grooming and bathing, socialising and generally handling your puppy effectively. Classes may also cover common puppy behaviours like digging, biting and others, and will also help your puppy to learn various obedience exercises like sitting, staying, leaving, going to bed, and so on.
Classes also allow your pooch to run around freely, meeting other dogs and people, and be handled by various different people - all things that are important to proper socialisation. According to studies, dogs should meet many different people and pooches during their first month at home, and they should meet a varied mix of people - think different genders, ages, heights, races, abilities (ie: people with walking sticks, wheelchairs, glasses, etc). Even things like wearing hats!
And of course, puppies will be given the opportunity to play and interact with various puppy-size obstacles and toys, helping them to get much-needed exercise and learn to use their floppy little limbs more effectively.
Lastly, attending puppy classes together gives you a special opportunity to develop your bond with your new furbaby.
When are puppy classes not a good idea?
Because the focus of classes is to help your new furbaby to interact with other dogs and people, classes are not always ideal for very timid puppies - often, classes include several dogs and owners, and can be quite full-on. If you're worried that your dog may be too nervous to attend a general puppy class, chat to your vet for a recommendation on a class that is less intimidating.
Puppy classes need to be supplemented with daily training by you, so if you don't have time to train your pooch every day (around 15 minutes per day), then the work you do in class will probably go to waste - or at the very least, take much longer to stick.
When is the best time to start puppy training?
You can start taking your new baby to classes as soon as he or she comes home - as early as eight weeks (bear in mind that a puppy should never be separated from its mother and litter earlier than eight weeks, as its mom teaches it many important lessons, including how to not bite too hard). According to expert dog handlers, you don't need to wait until your puppy's vaccinations are complete before starting training - the sooner you begin, the better.
The bottom line is that if you're wanting to bring a pooch into your family, you want him or her to integrate effectively and be a well-socialised member of your pack, following your rules. So the sooner you start training your puppy, the better.
While puppy classes aren’t essential, they’re a good idea for anyone raising a puppy for the first time, as well as anyone who wants their dog to be sociable and good with other pooches and people.
It’s important to remember that taking your puppy to classes won’t automatically rule out bad behaviour, but it can help you to prevent bad habits setting in early, and help you to raise a well-adjusted pup. Remember that dogs that are well-socialised are less likely to develop behavioural problems later on.
Enjoy your new puppy, and enjoy this special time of bonding and learning.
Disclaimer: Always consult your vet for professional advice. The Zuki.co.za blog is provided as an educational tool and should not be used to diagnose illness or treat an animal.