When a new puppy is brought into the home, there is generally a hope that this new family member will be an asset to the household, bringing joy and happiness. Unfortunately, many puppies never fulfill their potential as companions simply because they have not been properly trained. Dogs often end up in shelters or rescues because their behavior is out of line in some way, and often this unfortunate situation could have been prevented if the puppy had been enrolled in an obedience class, often called a puppy kindergarten class.
All puppies have an overabundance of energy Ė this is normal and to a certain degree simply has to be endured with a good will until the pup grows out of this stage. However, by the time a puppy is 3 months old, it is probably ready for a puppy obedience class. Before enrolling your puppy, however, make sure that he or she has been vaccinated properly.
Although any puppy can benefit from obedience classes, those belonging to a larger and more aggressive breeds should definitely be enrolled to help prevent problems when the dog is an adult and more difficult to manage. Classes usually run for about 2 months.
Not all dogs enjoy the company of other dogs and dog to dog aggression can result in fights, injuries, and even death. Dogs like Pit Bulls and Tosas were actually developed to fight other dogs, and early socialization with other puppies can help make these pups good canine citizens. Even breeds that are generally unreliable around other dogs can become at least tolerant if socialized early in puppy obedience.
In addition to socialization, puppy obedience classes emphasize the basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, and down. Learning these basic commands helps your pup learn how to control himself more effectively and gives him more confidence in varying situations. Puppy classes also provide tips on housebreaking, feeding, and other behavioral problems that may surface at this time.
Enjoying a beginner obedience class with your puppy is also a way to develop a stronger bond between you. As these classes generally emphasize positive reinforcement, they will be enjoyable for both of you. A competent instructor will understand that a combination of rewards and praise is the best way to achieve lasting results.
Obedience classes not only help your puppy to develop into a responsible dog, but they will also help to keep your puppy safer now and in the future. A puppy that can be stopped before wandering into the street by a spoken command, or will drop a potentially dangerous substance is more likely to be your companion for a much longer time than one who ignores commands.
Itís not unusual for owners and dogs to continue with training after the puppy has graduated from kindergarten. The next step, for pups who are 5 or 6 months old will be a continuation of training in basic commands as well as learning some more advanced instructions. Young dogs, especially, will often require numerous repetitions before they understand what is wanted from them, and a structured obedience class is the perfect way for both pup and owner to become trained.
Canine Good Citizen classes bestow a certificate on those dogs that successfully complete them. Many of these dogs are used as therapy dogs in nursing homes, hospitals, or hospices to provide affection. Both the mental and physical condition of the patients in these situations improves greatly when a dog is able to provide comfort.