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Choosing a Puppy Class!

Puppy class is an important part of every puppy's life! It is highly advisable that every puppy should attend a quality puppy class!  Although puppy class is a critical part of raising a well-adjusted adult dog, you definitely need to do your research because not all classes are the same quality.  When you are doing your research, here are some things you should be looking for:

  • Qualified instructor- Does the instructor have any certifications or credentials? What type of experience or education does the trainer have?What do prior clients have to say about the experience?

  • Trainer follows LIMA philosophy- LIMA philosophy requires a trainer to emphasize positive reinforcement. Puppy class should be all about confidence building and creating good behavior by rewarding what you like with treats, play, pets, and access to what the puppy wants. Puppies are new to the world and should not be wearing any sort of corrective collars (choke chain, prong collar, or shock collar). 

  • Focus on socialization vs obedience- The most important lesson your puppy needs to learn is socialization--how to be comfortable in the world. A puppy who does not learn to feel safe in the world is at risk of becoming an adult dog with behavioral issues.  A good class should involve exercises where the puppy gets to have great experiences with new people, places, and things, while also learning what behaviors people like (sit, down, attention, etc).

  • Carefully managed playtime - A good group class that utilizes off-leash play should ensure that the puppies are well managed.  Care should be taken to match up puppies whose play styles are similar or who can help another puppy learn better skills. While play can be rough sometimes, well moderated play should redirect any bullying and help any nervous dogs feel safe. It can be equally as valuable to have off-leash adventure time where puppies are free to socialize but are more inclined to explore things in the environment.

  • Clean/ Sanitary class environment- Classes should be held in an area where the flooring can be thoroughly disinfected and the training center should follow a standard sanitization protocol for any equipment. Puppies should also have at least one round of vaccinations (parvo and distemper) before beginning  puppy classes to minimize any risk of exposure (and then should follow their veterinarian's suggested vaccine schedule).

  • Learning through fun, games and engagement- If it isn't fun then you're probably doing it wrong.  Puppy classes should focus on reinforcement, building confidence , and setting the puppies up to succeed.  Your puppy should be having so much fun in school!

  • Ask questions before registering- If you have any questions about a trainer's experience, philosophy, or methods, send an email and ask!


No matter what class you choose, remember to always advocate for your puppy. If the instructor is recommending things that make you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to refuse and excuse yourself from the class.


Alpha rolls (rolling puppies on their back and pinning them), scruffing (grabbing the puppy by the back of the neck), pinching a puppy's tongue or clamping their mouth shut,  and shouting are all methods that are considered outdated and do not fit within the positive reinforcement or LIMA philosophy.


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