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Are Puppy Kindergarten Classes Necessary? You Be The Judge (Part 6)
Once Puppy School Is Finished
The typical puppy class is one hour per week for for, six or eight weeks. When you and your puppy graduate from puppy class, are you done with training? No way!
Training has really just begun. Just as a child who graduates from kindergarten has only started his or her education, so has your puppy's education just begun, and you should continue teaching your dog during adulthood.
Now that doesn't mean you must continue with group classes there are other variables to consider. If you've owned and trained a dog successfully in the past, you may be able to continue your new puppy's education on your own. But many dog owners find that it's beneficial to work with a trainer and a group class, or a dog training club. When problems pop up, and they always do (no puppy is good all the time), someone is available to talk to you about it.
It's important that you follow through with your training, as much or as little as you and your puppy need. But no matter what you decide to do with your puppy in the future, whether your dog is going to be a search-and-rescue dog, a competitive obedience dog, an agility star or just a treasured family companion, it all begins right here at the beginning with puppy training.
Final Tip: Resources To Help You Find A Trainer
Several parent organizations for dog trainers and dog obedience instructors exist, each with its own mission statement and guidelines. Most trainers and instructors belong to one or more of these organizations, so that he or she can keep up with new techniques and tools within the profession, and so he or she can communicate with other professionals.
The ideal puppy class instructor is able to communicate well with people. He or she should have a well-trained dog of their own that can demonstrate what the instructor is teaching. Additionally, the instructor should be gentle, yet effective, when teaching the puppies in his or her class. Students should be excited to come to class, feel that they learn something worthwhile each time they come, and should be eager to teach their own puppies.
Dog owners can also contact these organizations for referrals to members of their community. The predominant organizations include:
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
150 Executive Center Dr.
Greenville, SC 29615
International Association of Canine Professionals
P.O. Box 560156
Montverde, FL 34756
National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors
729 Grapevine Hwy.
Hurst, TX 76054
BONUS : Attention All Lazy Puppy Owners: Yes, That Means YOU!
The day your puppy was taken away from its mother and placed in your care is the day you became 100% responsible for the young pup. Accept your role as leader responsibly by training the four basic obedience commands necessary to every civilized dog's schooling.
Though your work schedule or distance from a qualified dog instructor often preclude working with an experienced trainer, teaching your puppy to sit, lie down, come and stay falls well within the average owner's capabilities. Combined with frequent outings to assure proper socialization, suitable at-home training turns your little rascal into the dog that other dog owners wish for.
Most new owners agree that teaching critical lessons, such as not pottying in the house, destroying couch cushions or raiding the garbage, to name just a few, leaves precious little time for anything else. How then, do top trainers who work full-time, raise a family and compete in various canine sports, manage to do it all?
For one thing, you don't need to spend an hour per lesson teaching basic commands. Puppies have an extremely short attention span, which is best worked within 5 to 10 minute sessions. That's only one or two sets of television commercials!
Use whatever time you have to your advantage. A favorite technique amongst many trainers is for you to let your puppy follow you around while you do light housework by putting it on a leash and tying the other end to your belt. This gets the puppy in the habit of staying with you without the worry of it wandering off into mischief. Plus, it presents an easy opportunity to periodically stop what you're doing to interact and get in a bit of training.
Realize that consistency is key in any level of training. Everyone in the home should be on the same page concerning the puppy's guidelines so the puppy doesn't get mixed signals about acceptable behaviors from different family members.
Additionally, don't be a nag. Avoid repeating the same command over and over. If sometimes you say something once and expect compliance, but on other occasions you repeat the command five times before getting the behavior, this lack of clarity creates confusion for a young dog. Be willing to wait and allow the puppy to think for itself about what you just asked for. You might be happily surprised at what you see.