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Photo credit: Unsplash http://bit.ly/2aBkJ8c (CC0 licence)
For whom is our puppy class?
Pups between 10 and 16 weeks old at the time of their first lesson. If they are mature enough, we welcome some pups to join our obedience for the family dog class. In agreement with the owners, we may allow older pups in class if they would benefit from foundation training in socialisation, manners and resilience before starting an obedience class.
Points for attention
- No obedience training: The puppy class is not an obedience training class. During the lessons, we teach you to teach your pups life skills such as resilience, patience and socialisation. The course will not focus on exercises like ‘stay’ or ‘down’. If you strongly prefer an obedience course, mail us to see if your pup is a good candidate for our obedience for the family dog course. This training is an essential foundation to prevent the most frequent behaviour problems.
- Changing groups: The puppy class is an open-enrollment course. This means that the group may frequently change in composition and size (the group size never exceeding six students per staff member) as new pups join and veteran pups graduate. This gives every pup the chance to enroll quickly, and to meet a greater variety of classmates. We do ensure that newbie and veteran pups stay challenged at their own individual levels.
- Incomplete vaccinations: If you are worried about the health risks of enrolling your young pup in class, see the vaccination section of our FAQ.
- Avoid repeat absenteeism: We have built the curriculum around a package of eight classes, with each lesson dedicated to its own themes. It is therefore not possible to catch up on missed classes. Further, missing too many classes will jeopardize the benefits you can take from the course.
- Not a play group: We don’t use the word ‘socialisation’ to mean that the pups will play together every lesson. ‘socialisation’ is a scientific word referring to a phase in a dog’s development during which he/she should be exposed in a controlled manner to people and other animals so that he learns to behave appropriately with them. We actually only let the dogs play together during one lesson in the whole program, during which we match appropriate play partners, comment on their interactions, and show you how and when to interrupt the session. For the reasons why we don’t let the pups freely play together, see question 13 on our FAQ page.
Objectives of our puppy class
Do you want to give your pup a good start in life? During our puppy lessons, we give the pup real life skills so he approaches life confidently and calmly.
At OhMyDog!, we teach your pup to feel secure and recover quickly from life’s little scares. It is also the opportunity to let him see other dogs in a controlled environment.
We will also show you how to curb bad habits before they become entrenched.
We teach your pup to love the vet (photo taken on our old field)
Central themes: socialization and habituation
If you introduce a person, situation or object a few times in a positive way to a 6- to 12-week-old pup, the positive association will stick for the rest of the dog’s life. Expose them any later, and they may approach with caution or fear, with all the headaches this entails. At OhMyDog!, we pack your pup’s socialization window full of positive experiences with joggers, uniforms, kids, hats, umbrellas, and all sorts, so the dog gets used to them in a gentle and positive way, and learns to behave calmly and confidently around them.
At OhMyDog!’s puppy classes, we also give you the key to dealing with typical puppy problems like jumping up, play biting, destructive behaviour, or house-training.
A sample of our puppy class
(video courtesy of Lucy Irvine, filmed on our old field)
These are some of the things we’ll tackle with you in class:
- Getting your dog used to, and confident about, unknown situations and objects
- Making the veterinary check a relaxing experience
- Teaching self-control in play (no painful nips)
- Teaching basic obedience skills like sitting on command
- Teaching good manners with greeting (no jumping)
And a little extra help
We teach your pup to be confident, at their own pace
Puppies and kids
Puppies and kids: The link leads to a collection of resources for safe child-dog interactions.
The core points are:
- Understand dogs: Familiarise kids with dog body language, and teach them to respect it.
- Kids never grab something from the dog, not even if it is theirs.
- Dogs never snatch anything from the kids.
- Kids never disturb the dog if he is resting (e.g. in his basket/bed/couch/crate/etc.) or eating/chewing.
- Dogs leave eating kids space.
- Who’s boss: Kids are not responsible for educating dogs, and certainly not for punishing them. Kids should also not be bossing the dog around.
- Choice: No forcing, chasing around, lifting up, cornering or dressing up. Kids invite the dog to their space, they do not force or demand interactions. Dogs leave the kids alone when asked to do so.
- No rough-housing, crazy running or shrieking with the dog around.
- For the dogs: no jumping up on kids or chasing/nipping at them.
- Active supervision: Dogs and kids are not left alone for a second without active supervision. Kids certainly do not let the dog out.
- Friendly ‘ban’: The 10-second message (in Dutch) tip will help you remind kids of the safety rules without coming across as a negative Nelly.
If you stick to these common sense measures, you will foster a mutually respectful relationship and your dog will bloom as a member of your family.
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