Should my dog go to school?

My answer of course is a resounding, “Yes”!

Obedience training is usually a 6-8 week class where your dog will learn basic commands and behaviors (sit, stay, come, down, leave it, etc). These are all things that will make him/her a nicer pet to live with. And the bonding and fun you will have in the process is priceless!

Obedience class should start when a puppy is through with all his/her puppy vaccinations and fully protected from communicable diseases. Around six months of age is good, because they have a bit better attention span, although remember they are still babies. Be patient and make training sessions short and fun.

But you ask, “Can I do anything with my puppy before that time?” Yes, you can. Search locally for reputable puppy kindergarten classes. These can usually be started soon after puppy arrives home to you and is settled in. A word of caution; since puppy is not thoroughly protected from things such as parvo and distemper, find a contained class for instance at a pet store or a private trainer’s facility. This is not a class you want to take at a local park, where who-knows-what stray dog may have wandered through and left germs. A contained puppy class will have other young puppies that are just starting their vaccinations also and a good trainer will ask for proof of those. These classes may teach some basic obedience and also some socializing skills. It’s a great place for puppy to meet new people and dogs of all shapes and sizes. Just make sure it’s a reputable class and it’s a happy experience for your puppy. Remember he/she is still very young and will tire out easily. And his brain needs to rest to process all he’s learning. Take his crate if you need to and let him take breaks if you think too much is being asked continually. Also see if you can meet the trainer ahead of time and sit in on a class before you start or even before puppy gets home.

After you’ve conquered puppy kindergarten, and later graduated from basic obedience; you can look into other fun activities to do with your puppy. For instance, an advanced obedience class or something fun like agility!

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