Even small breed dogs need good manners. Taking a puppy to school gets you both trained-and your lives together get better.

 

Question:

We just got a brand new puppy and are we ever excited. She is perfect. She’s a miniature poodle and she’s 12 weeks old and she’s already making potty outside and she comes to us when we call her. But I think dog school would be a great idea but my husband says that she’s just a little dog and we can train her at home and why would we want to take her to a place where they have other dogs who could give her diseases. What do you think?

 

Dr. Nichol:

This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked to settle a family argument, you know. I feel like Dear Abby. Now I have to find a win for each of you in this.

 

Now that I have you feeling sorry for me, here is the answer. Take that prized puppy to training class. Here is why. Many people have trained their dogs beautifully at home but when they have needed those skills on a busy street their dogs have panicked with the chaos and lost control. The tragic result can be that you lose your dog. On the other hand, if your pup is trained by you as part of a well managed obedience class, she will learn to work for you (her prized possession) in the presence of a zillion distractions. She will also learn that she can pay attention with a bunch of goofy classmates and that learning is fun. Now that’s what’s in it for your dog. Here is what you get: The detached third party observation and guidance of a trainer who thinks bringing out the best in dogs and their owners is the highest calling. No kidding. People who train obedience classes love dogs and they yearn to see them please their families.

 

So what if you’ve been through obedience training before? You already know how to train a new dog right? If you want great results do what the experienced obedience handlers do. The most accomplished and knowledgeable trainers all take their new dogs to classes because they know that a good teacher will watch them work their puppies and offer tips that will improve performance and enjoyment.

 

Do I sound like I love this stuff? My Airedale Juan and I trained  when he was a baby and we stayed with it because he learned early to love his work. We forged a bond that made our lives together the very best.

If you don’t take that little girl to school, you both miss out. I say go for it.