Puppies are wonderful little bundles of joy. They provide entertainment, companionship, and grow up to be faithful friends. However, not everyone acknowledges the importance of puppy training. Consider that many puppies are surrendered to shelters between the ages of six months and a year. Puppies given as Christmas gifts are likely to wind up in a shelter by the time summer comes around. Why would someone who took on the responsibility of a living being decide to give up? Many use excuses like “he got too big” or “she’s too much to handle.” Size and strength, while definitely important factors in owning a dog, are only minor problems. Puppies bark, whine, chew, nip, run, and need to be taught basic commands before being able to respond properly. Unfortunately, when some people adopt a puppy, they do not realize the time and effort required to train a dog, and that without proper training, the cute antics of a puppy become huge problems in an adult dog.
You’re not alone when it comes to training a puppy. Many dog parents have similar concerns and seek outside help. Chain pet supply stores like Petco and PetSmart offer training classes, and shelters or veterinarian offices can suggest other options. There are many different classes for your puppy, and you get to choose what will work best for your schedule and your puppy’s training needs. You can choose between individual classes and group classes. Individual classes reduce the number of distractions, while group classes give your puppy the opportunity to socialize with other dogs early in life. How often will you be able to take your pup in for training? Since consistency is key with puppies, weekly or bi-weekly classes will give you time in between classes to practice with your dog at home. Dog training classes are not meant to teach your dog everything he or she needs to know in life; that’s your job as a puppy parent. Dog trainers can provide tips, give examples, and help you figure out what you want your dog to do and how to achieve those goals. You are truly the only person able to train your puppy because you will be the one who spends the most time with the canine.
When considering obedience or training classes, your dog’s age and temperament may narrow down your options. Most classes are grouped by age to focus on specific concerns. Puppies will be easily distracted, but catch on very quickly. They have a lot to learn, but puppies usually need to learn the same kind of things such as “sit” and walking on a leash. As a dog ages, other commands may come into play and specialized training may be required. A dog trainer will be able to suggest if further training will benefit your dog and help you learn more about teaching your dog. Further training may be necessary if you find your dog becomes easily distracted on walks or displays possessive or aggressive behavior. When you take on the responsibility of a dog owner, you don’t need to work alone. Trainers will be happy to help you as long as you realize that they are your partner in dog training. They aren’t miracle workers, and the only way to actually train a dog is through consistency and patience.