Being a puppy parent can often be overwhelming; there are so many decisions to make! What should I feed them? When should I start introducing them to new dogs? What kind of toys should I get them to help with teething?
But one of the biggest and most important decisions to make regarding your new puppy is where to take them for puppy training. Puppy’s brains are like sponges; they soak up all the information around them which is why it is vital that the training you do with them reinforces behaviours that you want and starts them off on the right foot. But with so many different puppy training options out there, how do you choose what is best for you and your puppy? Here are 7 major things to look for when researching training for your puppy.
Class size and trainer to client ratio
- Small class size is best (7 or fewer puppies per class)
- More puppies means more excitement, which will hinder you and your puppy’s ability to focus on what is being taught
- Look for a trainer:client ratio of approximately 1:3
- More clients per trainer means less one-on-one time between you and your trainer
Cleanliness of the training environment
- Puppies are more susceptible to illness so it is important the the facility you take your puppy is properly cleaned and sterilized to ensure your puppy’s safety
The facilities ability/willingness to answer your questions beforehand and provide a tour of the facility
- It is important that any facility you are considering using for training is willing to answer any questions you have prior to signing up for their classes
- They should also be willing to give you a full tour of their facility so you can get a behind the scenes look
Do you agree with the training method and philosophy?
- It is important that you are comfortable with what you will be teaching your puppy and how
- Look on their website or email them to see what method they use (ie. positive reinforcement, dog psychology, etc.) and be sure it aligns with your beliefs
Amount of in-class practice time and hands on instruction
- Each class should provide about 20 minutes of trainer instruction/demonstration followed by AT LEAST 30 minutes of practice time for you and your puppy
- There should also be ample one-on-one time with you and the trainer to ensure you are given proper feedback on your technique
Is there additional information provided (ie. handouts, training books, etc.)
- Training shouldn’t end as soon as each class is done
- You should be sent home with additional training information on what you have learned in class to be sure you can continue practicing at home
Price isn’t everything!
- Be aware that sometimes the cheapest option isn’t the best
- You get what you pay for!
- Many times, what you are paying for is the trainers experience, so low price point may mean inexperience. If a trainer has put in the work and education, it won’t be cheap to hire them and trust me, that’s a good thing.
So now you know how to find the best training class for you and your pup. What are you waiting for? Training should start right away, so find one and sign up so you can set you and your dog up for success. And if you’re struggling finding one that fits your needs, check out our upcoming Puppy Essentials.