Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Preventative Puppy Training

Why Preventative Puppy Training Is So Important

Dog training begins with puppy class -- and it can prevent unwanted dogs and pet homelessness.
By: Cindy Bruckart 

I am completely baffled. I have wracked my brain trying to figure out why the dog training profession can’t make more progress with the one thing that would completely change the world of dog training and pet homelessness. We have the key to stopping the inflow of unwanted dogs into shelters, preventing aggression, and creating long, happy partnerships between dogs and owners. For some reason, we just can’t get it to click with the general public.

The answer is not spaying and neutering, even though that’s a good idea for most family pets. The answer is puppy class. Even as I type that, I know that some people will be thinking, “Oh, yah. Puppy classes. Don’t you have something more dramatic?”

I would respond by saying there is nothing more dramatic, more powerful or more life-altering than a well-run puppy class. Sure it seems like nothing but fluff and fun, but it is extremely serious business and it absolutely saves lives.

What puppy classes do

All aggression is based in fear. Fear comes from a lack of positive experience. A well-run puppy class provides positive exposure to the most common doggy fears at a time when a dog is most open to those new experiences.

There are thousands of adult dogs who are totally panicked by fireworks, Halloween costumes, children, other dogs, tall men, and certain types of floor surfaces. When these things are introduced in puppyhood and paired with positive things such as food, praise, and play, the resulting comfort with these things can last a lifetime.

Add to that the all-important bite inhibition training, resource guarding prevention, and basic manners, and you’ve got a dog with a frame of reference that makes everything after puppy class much easier.

Do you see the power in that? That means that even if a puppy eventually ends up in a shelter or needs to be rehomed, that dog is easy to place and will have an easier time adjusting. Such dogs can be around kids, men, and other dogs. They will have learned to bite softly in puppy class, so that even if they find themselves in a situation where they feel the need to bite, they will not do any damage.

That skill alone could save a dog’s life. They will be house trained and know some basic manners. Even if they’re now 1.5 years old and have forgotten some of their manners, the important foundations will be in place and their retraining will be quick and easy.
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