Obedience Training for Puppies
I remember very clearly the day we went to get our little puppy, Jersey. When I held our small bundle of fur in my arms, I knew she was “the one”. I was so happy that I sat next her to in the backseat of our car (her safely stored in her crate that was secured by seatbelts) the entire ride home.
Fast forward three months. Our little bundle of fluff was turning into a little bundle of terror as she chewed things, dug up the lawn and left us little “presents”. I knew it was time for her to start puppy school, also known as obedience training. I got the names of several places in our area that offered obedience classes for puppies through other dog owners at the nearby dog park. We talked to our vet to ensure Jersey was up-to-date on any necessary shots before joining a class with a variety of the puppies, and selected a program that was within our price point and the instructors had extensive years of experience and education in dealing with dogs.
I remember being very nervous for that first class, completely full of trepidation (which my husband may have termed neuroticism). Would Jersey do well? Would she be up to par with the other puppies? What if it turned out I was the clueless one, and had missed something along the way in her early puppy months?
We entered the building, and were confronted with the yelps, squeals and barks of other puppies. I was somewhat relieve to see their equally-muddled owners, trying to control their puppies and some trying to untangle the mess of leashes from enthusiastic hellos.
Urged to find a seat on one of the many benches that lined the room, we sat down and I attempted to keep a hold on Jersey as she jumped and pranced around at the end of her leash in her attempts to play with the Shih Tzu next to her. The instructors called for everyone’s attention and introduced themselves, as we began the class.
While I was elated to find Jersey was actually ahead of the curve (due to early practicing of “sit” and walking on a leash) it was hard to keep her focused as puppies barked and occasionally got loose, running around the room being chased by their owners.
The trainers themselves were very helpful and knowledgeable, and focused on the puppy attempting the correct behavior instead of only rewarding them when they perfectly performed. They were very understanding that puppies have shorter attention spans, and the hour went by very quickly!
We continued on through the six-week course, and by the end Jersey could sit, stay, and walk without tugging or trying to chew on the leash. I was really happy with her puppy training, and was glad we did the class.
There are a variety of programs in the Greater Toronto Area that offer obedience classes for both dogs and puppies. Most programs would like to you to specify the age of your puppy so they can fit you and your pet into the most appropriate group. While it may be cute to have your puppy chew on your fingers, many little puppies grow into big, strong dogs. It is important to instill proper manners and teach your puppy about the sort of behavior you expect from him or her, so that they will fit into your family. Even something as common as jumping up on visitors or small children can suddenly become a “large” problem if you dog hits 80 lbs or more!
Now, whenever I look outside and see her sitting comfortably on top of our patio table in the backyard (which she knows very well she’s not supposed to do), I often think back to her early days as a puppy and think “wasn’t she SO well behaved”!
Hats off to you
To all kind-hearted and hard-working people at SPCA: hats off to you. I love animals and admire the work you do.