Are Puppy Training Classes Necessary?

One of the most significant responsibilities of a new puppy parent is to ensure that their puppy receives the training they need to grow into a mature and well-adjusted adult dog. Of course, that’s much easier said than done. 

If you’re a fledgling puppy parent, the good news is that there are several different methods you can use to train a puppy successfully. Crate training, for example, is favored by many dog experts. Treat training is almost universally accepted as an excellent puppy training method. There’s leash training, also, and several others.

However, here’s the thing about training; it takes a lot of time and effort. It also takes a lot of patience, especially for more hyperactive dog breeds. If you’re a stay-at-home puppy parent, that might be just fine. If you’re not, though, training your new puppy might be a whole different and more difficult ball game. (You can’t train them when you’re not home, obviously.)

I was thinking about this the other day after receiving a question from one of my readers. They explained how, with a full-time job, they were too exhausted to train their precious puppy. Their question was one I hear all the time; are puppy training classes necessary?

The answer is that, no, training classes aren’t necessary if you have the time, patience, and persistence to train your puppy. However, if you don’t have them (for whatever reason, no judgment), training classes for your puppy are an outstanding idea. 

Indeed, research shows that puppy training classes are effective on many levels, especially when developing good social skills. Many dog experts recommend puppy training classes even if you have the time and experience to train your puppy yourself. They say it’s constructive for both puppies and their new parents.

Now that you know about the necessity of puppy training classes, I’m betting you have several more questions on the subject. If you do, please read on. I’ve got a lot more facts and info for you below. It’s real-world stuff that can help you raise your precious puppy into a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted dog.

Pros of Puppy Training Classes

The thing about puppy training classes that you need to understand is that, like tutoring for a child, it helps them learn things better and faster. Sure, you can train a puppy on your own but taking them to puppy training classes will cut your training time down significantly. It can also improve your puppy’s relationship with you, other members of your family, and other dogs. Some of the benefits of puppy training include:

Improved Socialization Skills

Dog experts agree that you should start attending classes with your puppy as soon as possible. The reason is that, like humans, the experiences a dog goes through as a puppy will significantly shape its personality. Positive experiences as a puppy will help them remain calm around other people and dogs in the future.

Understanding their Personality

Like humans, dogs have individual personalities. Most puppies are exuberant and excitable, it’s true. However, during puppy training classes, you might find out that they are shy, aggressive, timid and have different personality traits.

Seeing Dog Training Experts in Action

 If this is your first time as a puppy parent, there’s nothing better than seeing dog training experts in action. These are people who have been training dogs for years and know the best methods for excellent results. They can give you many advice and tips that will help you when you’re not in class. That, in turn, can help you get better results when you teach them new things in the future.

One other benefit dog training experts bring to the table is that if your puppy has potential behavior problems or concerns, they can help identify them. They can also tell you if your puppy might need other types of dog training classes, including individual training sessions.

Stronger Bonds with your Puppy

Another significant benefit of attending puppy training classes with your puppy is that you and your pup will have a much stronger physical and mental bond. It will also show your puppy that you are the leader of the pack, so to speak. That’s a critical designation for dogs and one that will help your relationship significantly. 

Best Age for Puppy Training Classes

Puppies, like children, have very short attention spans. However, they can start learning socialization skills at a young age and respond to basic obedience training, including “stay” and “sit.” That’s why most talk experts recommend you begin puppy training classes around 7 to 12 weeks of age.

One slightly controversial recommendation that some dog trainers have is to wait until a puppy is fully vaccinated before enrolling them and puppy training classes. The controversy is that trainers miss a critical developmental period in your puppy’s life by waiting until they are fully vaccinated, typically between 4 and 6 months of age. 

That’s when puppy behaviors and habits are forming, some positive and some negative. The negative include phobias and aggression, which is easier to prevent if a puppy starts puppy training classes sooner rather than later.

Experts recommend that if you decide to bring your puppy to training classes before they are fully vaccinated, they at least have their first vaccines and the warming. And, of course, you should keep up with their vaccinations throughout their puppy training classes. One good bit of advice is to find a trainer who requires all of the puppies in their class to be up to date on all of their vaccines.

What Happens at Puppy Training Classes?

Here’s a surprising and sad fact; hundreds of thousands of dogs are abandoned every year because, as puppies, they weren’t taught correctly. Due to that lack of training, they grow into unruly, aggressive, and confused adult dogs who cannot socialize with other humans and dogs correctly.

At puppy training classes, any negative or “bad”  behaviors are trained out of puppies while good behavior and socialization skills are taught. Some of those skills include:

Socialization

Teaching a puppy how to socialize at a young age will ensure that, as an adult, they get along with other animals, including dogs, cats, and people. Good socialization skills are crucial to ensuring that life with your puppy (and then your dog) is fun, joyful, and low-stress.

Obedience

Trainers will teach your puppy to obey commands like sit, lie down, stay and come. They will also help them learn how to walk on a leash without pulling your arm off. Obedience training is crucial for a puppy so that, as an adult dog, you can rest assured that they will not harm other people or pets.

Handling Tolerance

Within a few days of being adopted, your new puppy will get used to you handling them, as well as other people in the family. However, the way they react around other people needs to be trained. This is called handling tolerance and is essential when you bring your puppy to, for example, the veterinarian, a groomer, or around friends and family. 

Bite Inhibition

While it’s impossible to train a dog never to bite, teaching them they don’t need to clamp down hard is vital. The fact is, by about six months of age, most puppies have jaws and teeth that can cause severe damage. At puppy training classes, the trainers will teach them that biting down hard and clamping their jaw is not OK.

Final Thoughts

Are puppy training classes necessary? If you have the time, patience, and expertise to train your puppy on your own, no, they aren’t 100% necessary. That being said, most dog experts would say that, yes, puppy training classes are necessary.  Even if you have experience training a puppy, dog experts say that letting a training expert teach your puppy is still an excellent idea.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and that it answered all your questions about puppy training classes and their importance. If you have more or would like to learn more about your new puppy, please see my many other blogs on the subject!