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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Puppy Graduation

One of my regular readers posted this comment on my entry about Training Techniques...

I would really urge you to find a good trainer rather than rely on books.
The reason for this is because it takes allot of time and patients to really help a dog learn. A good trainer creates a plan and then re-enforces your training again and again and again. ( notice I said your training)Most of this is about training you and you pass that onto the dog.

I think that's an excellent point, and one I also believe in.  In my own practice I always recommend group training classes rather than books.  First, socialization is vitally important to a dog's development.  You need to do this in a controlled setting with proper guidance and training.  Failure to socialize your puppy by four months old (yes, studies have shown it needs to be by this young) then you could risk behavioral issues for the rest of the dog's life.  Also, as Rockjdog pointed out, learning proper training can take a lot of time and the classes are as much about training the owner as about training the dog.  So yes, I firmly believe that if given a choice someone should pick a class rather than a book.

And I try to practice what I preach.  My own puppy, Yvaine, has been in a group puppy class for the last eight weeks.  I started her at 10 weeks old, and this past weekend she graduated.

My wife went to the classes with her and continued the training at home.  Yes, I know the basics of dog training and could do much of it myself.  But we really wanted to give Yvaine the best chance for great behavior, and knowing what I know of mental development in dogs we decided to enroll her.  It's been a great bonding experience for Yvaine and my wife and a great start in good behavior.


  1. Yvaine is a beautiful dog. While I am firmly opposed to dressing animals in clothes - she doesn't seem to be unhappy in her graduation gear! I've actually never been to a training class - but I can see how it may be beneficial to a dog's development.

  2. It's very hard to get people to send their puppies to trainiing classes by that age when vets are telling them not to take them out until all the jabs are completed. :(

    One of my clients had misunderstood the instructions and wouldn't even let the dog out into the garden.

    congrats on the graduation!

  3. Excellent advice and your pup looks adorable!

  4. Linda, I understand the frustration. There have been several articles published in veterinary journals on this topic within the last 12-18 months. Board-certified behavioral specialists are recommending starting into puppy classes as early as 10 weeks old, even though they are not fully vaccinated. The consensus is that in a controlled setting any risks of disease are very low, so the benefits of early training outweigh other considerations.

  5. I agree, we used books to train our terrier before taking him to classes - the classes were much much better.

    I would also like to say, there are a lot of vets in kent where I live, and I have tried a few, but there is one in Bekesbourne which is by far the best. In case anyone is reading this I highly recommend them!

  6. I was looking for Veterinary Technician Schools and I landed in this post. Had fun reading, I'll be visiting for more for sure


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