Achieve Success in Puppy Classes

By Neil Copeland

Special to Seven Lakes Insider

Once you get a puppy and have established you need some help, there are many options available.

Most new owners reach out to social media, friends or Google for local trainers. Most trainers offer a class for a new puppy. Classes can be good, but let us go over some ideas that can help you be more successful. 

Puppies have a short attention span. Placing the puppy in a highly distracted environment can be more of a problem than good.

Puppies want to play with each other, run around and say hello. In the class, the trainer will be using treats or something of high value to capture that distracted brain and call it “focus.”

Yes, focus is important and helps give attention for the behavior you are working on. Many owners have told me that they had to change treats in the class because the original was not of a high enough value. Yes, that is normal. Sound familiar? 

I would like to go over something that would help you be more successful. Talk with your trainer about doing some individual sessions before jumping into class. This will help you understand the timing of your treats, learning to read your puppy and understanding free shaping.

If you enter your class with these understandings, you are so far ahead of the training process. 

Take some individual sessions before jumping into a high-distraction environment. Try not to teach your puppy to ignore you straight from the start.

Spending time in a class where your puppy never develops great focus could be a bigger problem down the road. Good luck and happy training.

Neil Copeland is owner of Seven Lakes Kennels.