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You can easily find classes especially set up for puppies, usually between the ages of 8 to 16 weeks, by checking out your local pet store or by looking on your veterinarian's bulletin board. However, before you take your puppy out to mingle with other puppies, it’s always a good idea to make sure the pet is up-to-date on all of his shots beforehand, so check in with your vet.
Puppy classes will cover such topics as toilet training, behavioral problems, health issues, diet, and nutrition, and they will teach you about positive reinforcement and how to use it. The classes are also designed to not only let the dog become more accustomed to socializing with other dogs, but with adults and children, too. Of course, they will learn basic commands (sit, heel, stay, drop, and come). But beyond this it gives you the opportunity to ask questions and meet other owners, and perhaps even set up doggy play dates. Classes usually run for around four weeks, one night per week, lasting about an hour.
If your local vet offers classes, we highly recommend them, as it is a great way to get your puppy to associate the vet’s office as a place of fun. There will also be more of an emphasis on health, with the vet or nurse showing you simple ways to check for eye, gum and tooth problems, or early detection methods for common illnesses.
Remember, puppy obedience classes are merely an introduction. So it’s always a good idea to continue to take your pet to classes as it grows. After all, your dog will want to keep on seeing its new buddies, too.
Image: Andrew Livingston / via Flickr