MemberAugust 1, 2018 at 11:32 pm2940
Whenever we have had puppy classes we would generally only have puppies with puppy teeth still. Usually around 5 or 6 months we would age them out.
Puppy play is practice fighting, practice hunting.. as a general rule of thumb if you take the puppy you think is getting “bullied” away and that puppy WANTS to go back then that’s ok. You will see the roles constantly changing throughout the play. Growling and noises are normal, it’s how they learn to communicate and respond to signals from each other. If there is any dog that seems like it is just too timid and wants no part of it it’s ok to scoop the dog up and see if there is a better match for the dog.
Typically we would let’s the dogs tire themselves out the first half of class while the second half consisted of everyone leashing their dogs up and spreading out in a circle. At that point we would do a little bit of education for the owners. Typically on leadership. You can see that section on this site. This is really the most important things to teach the owners I believe. Even over obedience. You can’t teach successful obedience if there is conflict between the role of the dog and theor owner.
I wouldn’t try to excpect obedience during a puppy class while the puppies are in the middle of enjoying “sparing” with each other but it is a good idea to demo and have everyone practice some phase one positive treat training. You can see how we do this in some of the phase 1 videos. It’s good to start teaching these things and it’s fun for the owners and gives something fun for them to practice with their dogs. It’ll give them something to practice till next puppy class. But remember it’s about competing motivators and it can’t be expected if a dog may not listen during puppy play. Always teach in a teaching environment and build from there. Always set the dogs up for success. Once the dogs understand why it’s good to do things and understand the behavior you wabt from then, you can then progress the training.
If there is anything that the owners feel uncomfortable with just reassure them that it is ok to always scoop up or move their puppy. Sometimes there aren’t good matches and it is good to divide innthe class if needed. That’s ok. To keep clients coming back they just need reassurance that things are normal for dogs. A lot of times people get worried about normal puppy play when they hear growling and they get loud. As long as both puppies want to interact and they have puppy teeth it’s normal. A lot of times the timid dogs start to warm up to the others.
Another thing we would sometime do was after we leashed up the puppies and took them out for a short break to relieve themselves, was pass the puppy. It’s was simply pass the puppy to the person next to you while we would teach leadership and answer questions. Just remember to have everyone respect each other’s puppys. Some are super friendly and some are timid. Most important was to never do anything that others are uncomfortable with but usually people like it.
For those that feel “ashamed” of overly confident dogs or overly fearful dogs the best thing to do is during your teaching half of the session reassure them. Talk about what normal dog behavior is and explain to them a little bit about what they are seeing. People get embraased when they don’t have what they think is the perfect dog in class. Get each one to realize the good about their dog. Repeat clients just need to know and feel like they are in a place where they are accepted and not judged and where they can learn something. Even if they are sitting with their scared dog under the chair in the corner that’s ok….give them something they can take home. Give them info, give them something they can do at home. Not every dog will want to interact …and that’s ok. It sounds like the classes are on the right track so that’s great.
What types of dogs do you have. Explain the breed to the owners helps too. Different breeds will interact differently. Teach the owners about body language so they can learn to recognize the signs the dogs are giving to each other. Once people understand more about their dog and the other dogs it becomes a better experience for them.
This site has so much great info! Take a look at some of the phase 1 videos, Def look at the canine behavior section which is the first layer of the triangle and def look at the leadership section. These are all great pieces of information to provide in a class. Keep it simple for them this way even the ones with the timid dogs feel as though they left and still gained something from the class.
Puppy classes are great to watch! You can learn so much from simply paying attention 🙂