Are you ready to start training your puppy? Dog training is a fun but challenging task that’s necessary for your furry friend’s development.
Although it may not seem like a huge deal, teaching your puppy how to sit, come, stay, lay down, and perform other commands helps them get used to your rules.
And if you have a few hours to spare each day, training is an activity you can do as a beginner.
While many puppy parents choose to train their puppies on their own, it isn’t an option for others. What if you aren’t great at training your puppy? What if you aren’t sure how firm you need to be or which commands to start with?
Sometimes, there just aren’t many hours in the day to dedicate to training. If you aren’t consistent or patient, you could end up raising an ill-mannered, aggressive adult dog (not something you want!).
Fortunately, you don’t have to train your puppy by yourself. Dog training classes are a great alternative for any puppy parent who doesn’t have the time or energy to train their furry friends on their own.
What can you expect from a dog training class?
Most dog training classes are set up with a professional dog trainer. This trainer may teach your fur-baby basic commands, tricks, and other training-related lessons that’ll help them grow into obedient, well-mannered dogs.
These classes aren’t designed to address any underlying behavioral issues your puppy may have. Instead, they provide a roadmap of how you can bond and grow with your furry friend.
Your dog training class may also involve other people with their puppies. This gives your puppy the opportunity to learn social skills by interacting with new people and other puppies.
The key goal of a dog training class is to learn how to communicate with your puppy. Your classes will teach your puppy what behaviors you expect from them and in turn, you’ll learn how your buddy communicates with you.
This knowledge strengthens your bond with your puppy because you will understand them better. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t pros and cons with dog training classes.
Here are a few pros and cons of dog training classes.
Pro #1: Your puppy learns socialization skills.
Puppy socialization is an essential part of your puppy’s growth. It’s highly recommended that you start socializing your puppy early to avoid emotional or behavioral issues.
Countless dogs with aggressive or skittish personalities weren’t properly socialized as puppies. You can avoid this problem by introducing your puppy to new people, pets, sights, sounds, smells, and situations gradually over time.
You can socialize your puppy in any location. However, if you want a controlled environment, dog training classes are the way to go. Most dog training classes are located inside a pet store or a building, where owners can chat while their puppies play together.
This type of setting is less intimidating than a dog park. It’s also a place where puppies can run around and play without needing to be on a leash. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?
Pro #2: You learn more about pet care.
Dog training classes aren’t just for puppies! Most programs are designed to provide you with crucial information about caring for your fur-baby like:
Whether you’re a new puppy parent or a seasoned expert, having extra knowledge about pet care never hurts! This information is invaluable to you if done correctly.
Pro #3: Your puppy will learn the basic commands.
Sit, lay down, come, stay—these powerful words are part of the “basic commands” that every puppy must learn. Of course, training a puppy goes beyond the basic commands, but these words form the foundation of their overall training.
It’s important that your puppy learns the basic commands as soon as possible. Dog training classes usually teach puppies these tricks early on. They’ll also learn variations of each command, such as “come” when their name is called or “sit and roll over”.
Con #1: Your puppy may meet aggressive or misbehaved puppies.
There is no such thing as a bad dog, only poor social skills. Some unruly or aggressive puppies haven’t learned how to correctly interact with other dogs. They might bully docile or even-tempered puppies into a fight.
Think of puppies as young children. Some kids are shy, others are the class clown, and some are bullies. Keep an eye on the other puppies in their room to get a feel of their personalities.
You’ll notice that things can get distracting when all of these personalities come together like a kindergarten class. And if more than one puppy is a bully, there’s potential for fighting or aggressive playing.
Like children, puppies do not have a big attention span so if one puppy misbehaves, then it’s likely your puppy will have a hard time focusing on the lessons at hand.
Con #2: Classes may overemphasize food as a training aid.
A common tool used in dog training classes is clickers or treats. There’s nothing wrong with using food or clickers as a training method. In fact, we recommend using positive reinforcement techniques to encourage your puppy to associate commands with good feelings.
However, many puppy parents make the mistake of overemphasizing treats during a training session. Food is a helpful training aid but it’s never a good idea to rely on it every time you want your puppy to pay attention to you.
Why? Well, your furry may become completely food-motivated whenever you need them to perform a command. This means they’ll avoid obeying you unless you have a yummy snack in your hand.
Since many dog training classes use food and treats as a training tool, you may experience some conflicts with obedience training.
Con #3: Your puppy might catch a disease from unvaccinated puppies.
From rabies to canine distemper, puppies have the potential to catch debilitating diseases as they develop their immune systems.
Nearly all vets recommend placing puppies under a vaccination schedule and keeping them away from other puppies in the meantime.
Some puppy parents do not understand puppy vaccinations and/or protecting their puppies from exposure to diseases. As such, an unvaccinated puppy may show up to a dog training class, either catching or exposing other puppies to diseases.
If your puppy gets sick with any of the common canine illnesses, you could have a pile of vet bills waiting for you.
No matter your stance on vaccinations, it’s always crucial to think about your puppy’s health wherever you go. There’s a reason why vets advise against taking your puppy to a dog park. Dog parks are notorious for carrying diseases from the wastes of other dogs who’ve been there.
Consider your puppy’s age and vulnerability before rushing them to a dog training class or park. Make sure you join a training program that requires owners to show proof they’ve vaccinated their puppies.
As you can see, there are numerous pros and cons to dog training classes. In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether you think they’re worth the time and money. Many dog training classes are exceptional while others are subpar at best.
Look into classes or trainers in your area. Talk to these instructors and ask how they run their classes. You could also ask to observe a class to see if your furry friend would be comfortable in such an environment.
Review online feedback and base your decision on these factors. You can also check out our blog, How to Stop Your Puppy’s Excessive Barking to learn our tips on preventing your furbaby’s annoying habit!