So, what do I do in puppy class?
Oftentimes, our puppy raisers feel pressured to do their best and show us what their puppy is capable in class. This often leads to frustration with the puppy when they are not meeting the expectations the raiser has set. Because puppy class is stimulating and oftentimes overwhelming remember to take a step back and offer your pup more support than you would in a quieter environment or your home.
We frequently hear, “But they’re so good and know how to do this at home!” We understand that the class environment is exciting and distracting. Obedience skill level should be based on the age and maturity of your puppy. Don’t feel disappointed if your pup can complete a verbal cue at home and can’t in puppy class.
- Never base what obedience you are practicing on what the other pups are practicing.
- Different ages and maturity are capable of practicing different obedience
- Set your puppy up for success
- Don’t stand too close to other pups
- Bring food for reward and their favorite toy to redirect their attention
- Give your pup playtime before class so they’re ready to learn and focus on you.
- Praise, praise, praise!
- Successfully attending class is an achievement alone!
- Reward any and every good or desirable behavior-your puppy’s belly should be full by the end of puppy class!
- Redirect instead of correct
- Instead of correcting the pup for every little misdemeanor redirect them
- Say their name
- Pat your thigh
- Gently tap their hind end or side
- Redirection keeps your relationship positive and they will be more eager to engage with you
As your puppy matures and your bond and communication is a solid foundation obedience in public will become easier and easier! Until then, focus on having a happy, confident puppy that engages with you and is comfortable in public.