Often puppy preschool groups are socialisation only classes, where (hopefully) small groups of puppies are interacting together. Often, for some, these classes can be stressful and chaotic for both pup and owner. Because of their age and limited mental capabilities and lack of impulse control, they are often put into situations where they are set up to fail. Calling a single puppy away from a seething mass of squirming excitable moving puppies is no mean feat, even if you have a highly food motivated puppy.
My belief, is that initially a few weeks bonding and learning family/house rules can make all the difference. Once you have these basics in place, depending on your puppy’s level of mental maturity start looking for recommended and experienced trainers who run their own courses.
Many of my clients who attend my six week course’s have previously attended a puppy preschool course run by a vet practice or pet store. I am regularly told by these clients who attend early puppy training classes that they feel these classes were really a waste of time and that they don’t feel they benefited from the experience.
I believe the problem is that the organisers of these classes tend to forget about one very important step. Building a bond and relationship between dog/owner while having a dog who is friendly with other dogs it’s important that it’s not at the expense of your dog completely ignoring you and trying to drag you across the road to greet another dog.
In my opinion it appears that most puppy owners are not getting their real needs met and I feel that some of the advice given is questionable.
How experienced is the trainer? I believe that these classes should be run by the most experienced trainers as during this period puppies are in one of the most crucial developmental periods.
Not all puppies are the same so it’s important that a trainer can and will balance the needs of the group but at the same time meet the needs of the individual puppy and analyse both their breed traits and individual personality.
If you do decide to attend early puppy training classes (puppy pre-school) have a clear understanding of your expectations from these classes and what the instructor can and will deliver. If this is not your first experience with a dog it’s likely you may have more knowledge and experience that the person giving the advice. So ….. If you want a deeper understanding of dog behaviour, relationship and communication I suggest you explore a few options.