It's that time of year again. I know most of you are thinking of the Super Bowl, but I'm talking about the Puppy Bowl. Why on earth am I talking about the Puppy Bowl when the title of this post refers to the best class I've ever taught? Because the best class I've ever taught is pretty much every Puppy Kindergarten that I teach. Puppy Kindergarten is basically the Puppy Bowl, but in real life with a few commands thrown in.
First, lets go over what my PK classes are:
-a five week course, with class meeting once a week for about an hour
-open to puppies 10-16 weeks of age at the start of class (as long as they meet minimum vaccination and deworming requirements)
-a great socialization opportunity
-a super learning experience
-a ton of fun for everyone in attendance
-safe for everyone in attendance
-80-90% off leash play between puppies and owners
Back to the Puppy Bowl, because I want to paint a clear picture of this for you so you can love it as much as I do. The PB is a group of puppies running around, playing, wrestling and tossing toys everywhere. There is a referee to make sure everyone follows the rules and nobody gets hurt. If you've never watched it before the Super Bowl, do yourself a favor and watch it today. I guarantee you will smile and your blood pressure may even drop a little. It's that cute.
You still with me? Bundles of cuteness and fuzziness running all over in their perfectly sweet innocence... Now add in a certified trainer who is helping you to teach your puppy simple commands like come, sit, down, wait, and leave it. We only tackle one new command a week, so there no added pressure to learn multiple commands in an hour like more advanced classes (you have enough to worry about with trying to keep track of an excited puppy).
My favorite thing about PK? Puppies learn to listen to their owners amidst distractions!! That's right. I will make you practice recall while your puppy is playing with his friends. I will help you teach him some self control with 'wait' and 'leave it'. The other puppies will help him learn some bit inhibition. The other puppy parents in class will help to reinforce no jumping and no biting rules. I'll admit it is pretty tough to get a 12 week old puppy to choose you over his new friends but with practice it will happen, and it's freaking amazing when it does. Puppies who develop a strong recall in a super distracting environment like that will retain it down the road (as long as puppy parents practice).
Puppy parents are told to not give any attention when puppies come up and jump they are to turn around or walk away, so puppies learn not to do these things.
Puppies are introduced to different people- tall, short, male, female, kids, elderly, people with hats, coats, and gloves... and people with treats and love. Puppies learn that the people they meet in class are trustworthy, that people that their parents hang out with are pretty cool and that if they sit or lay down, they may get a treat and they will definitely get attention and verbal praise! I introduce puppies to a vacuum cleaner, mop and nail trimmers (among other new stimuli).
Man, doesn't that sound like fun? It does to me, and that's why I love teaching it!
Now that you're hooked on the idea of Puppy Kindergarten, check back next week for why (properly run) puppy classes are perfectly safe for everyone.