Top of the Class: Puppy Kindergarten
Enrolling your new pup in a puppy kindergarten class is one of the best things you can do for your new best friend. The lessons learned in puppy training classes are the foundation for a harmonious future together, as well as your dog’s success in life.
However, while puppy kindergarten can be a lot of fun, it is important that you both learn as much as possible from each lesson – something that can be harder to accomplish than you might think. Hopefully, these tips will help you get the most out of your puppy kindergarten class…
It sounds like a no brainer, right? You might be surprised…
Staying focused on the lessons and your trainer can be a challenge, especially while keeping your puppy under control in a room full of other puppies. Do your best to minimize distractions and focus on what your trainer is saying and demonstrating.
Turn off your cell phone when you get to class, and keep your eyes off the other dogs while training is in session. And don’t forget to reward your puppy for sitting calmly or making eye contact with you – you’re not the only one struggling to stay focused.
Be an Active Student
During your puppy kindergarten class, your instructor will provide you and your pet with in-class practice time. Practice time is designed for you to work on the lesson the instructor has presented to the class. He or she will typically walk around the class and observe you interacting with your puppy.
If your puppy is not performing the behavior you are practicing, ask your trainer to watch you make an attempt. Often, a simple adjustment to your technique will help things click into place.
Ask Productive Questions
While you want to make sure you get your money’s worth from your puppy kindergarten class, you also should be respectful of your classmates’ time.
Most classes will have a question and answer period, and it’s best to hold off on asking questions until the time is right. If you have questions that come up between classes, prepare them in advance and be ready to ask them when the time comes. Never be afraid to ask questions in class, as it’s likely you’re not the only one who could benefit from the answer.
Likewise, do your best to avoid lengthy stories about behaviors, instead asking concise and to the point questions. If you need more attention from your instructor, stick around after class.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
You can show up for every class, but if you don’t practice what you learn every day, your puppy will not retain what he or she learns. Repetition is the key to training a puppy, and puppies learn best when training sessions are short and positive. Always end on a positive note, even if it means going back to a previous lesson to end on a high.
Don’t limit training to just your puppy kindergarten class and your home. Take your puppy outside, on walks, and to new places to reinforce the idea that what your puppy is learning should be applied in all situations. Every moment you spend together is an opportunity to practice and learn.
It is very important that everyone in your home is consistent in your puppy’s training and provides positive reinforcement. This is especially true if there are children in the home.
For example, if one family member gives your puppy table scraps, and another discourages begging from the table, your puppy is going to be confused. If possible, encourage everyone to attend a training class, or have one person bring the lesson home and teach it to the rest of the family.
Puppy kindergarten is a great opportunity for you and your puppy to learn to live in harmony. It takes more than just showing up to make puppy training successful. Paying attention in class, being an active student, asking productive questions, practicing every day, and being consistent in expectations will help your puppy grow into a well-rounded and happy member of your family.
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