Puppy Classes or 1-2-1 Puppy Training

Puppy Classes or 1-2-1 Puppy Training

Bo-bo first day of training

First day of 1-2-1 puppy training at home

For a long time now, puppy classes were the norm for your new puppy. You would collect your puppy at 8 weeks of age, have him vaccinated and then enrol him into a local puppy class (that is if there is one in your area) usually by the age of 12-14 weeks if not older. The problem with this is that the crucial training period in any puppy’s life (0 -12 weeks) could be missed altogether.

There is an ongoing debate within the doggy scientific community that is questioning what use to be the norm in any puppy’s life i.e. the puppy class. As our knowledge of dogs continues to grow, this once perceived essential part of a puppy’s education is having doubt cast upon it. There are a number of reasons for this apart from the one listed above. Many puppy classes are simply not fit for purpose in as much as they are run by ‘old fashioned’ trainers who have not bothered to catch up with the progression in science of dog training and behaviour. Then there are some puppy’s who are simply not cut out for a class environment being either too nervous or too boisterous and end up either being banished to the back of the hall or banned all together simply because the trainer hadn’t got a clue on how to respond to a particular puppy’s behaviour. Some puppy classes are often guilty of generalising their training without taking into account puppy individuality. It was always argued that puppy classes were essential for socialisation but to be honest, a puppy already knows how to play with another puppy because it’s been doing that for the first 8 weeks of its life. What the puppy actually needs to learn is about socialising with people, places and adolescent and adult dogs, something he wouldn’t get from a puppy class.


Puppy Classes

Little puppy being told off

Puppy classes don’t suit every puppy

Puppy classes tend to be for a fixed period (inflexible) and usually run once a week for six weeks. A possible (more possible than you would think) scenario could be this:
You spend ages searching out puppy classes and arrive expectantly on your first night only to find you are one of many. It’s like a mad house, everywhere you look excited puppies are barking, pulling, desperate to investigate and play with each other. You find the hour you have paid for flies by and the only one on one time you’ve had with the trainer is about 10 minutes if you’re lucky. All the questions you have rehearsed are either forgotten or left unanswered leaving you no better off than before. The second class is no different and then life takes over. The night of the third class the kids need taking somewhere, hubby is working late, the weather is really bad etc, etc. The most important learning curve of any dog’s life suddenly becomes secondary, often through no fault of your own. The help you expected and paid for just simply isn’t there or enough.

Don’t get me wrong, puppy classes when run correctly can be huge fun for both you and your puppy but the reality is you and your puppy are not going to learn that much.
At Living With Wolves we offer one to one Puppy Training in the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you and your puppy best. We cover all the important things that are generally not covered at puppy classes including the things that you really do need to know but can’t find answers too such as:

Puppy Training Essentials

• Your Puppy’s Diet
• Crate training your puppy
• Toilet training your puppy
• Chew Toy Training
• Leaving your puppy at home
• Puppy Socialisation With People and Older Dogs
• Liking People
• Puppy Handling and Gentling
• Resource guarding valued objects
• Puppy Biting
• Teaching Bite Inhibition
• More Puppy Socialisation
• Basic Obedience – Sit, Come, Stay, Heel etc
• Lifestyle Puppy Training
• Puppy Training On Walks
• Puppy Training In The Car
• Puppy Training In The Park

Puppy looking up at owner

Puppy training at home provides a more natural training environment for both you and your puppy

As it is in all aspects of life, the more you put in the more you get out and so it is with Puppy Training. With our help, we can guide you during this, the most important point in your and your dog’s life to make the transition from puppyhood to well adjusted and behaved family dog as stress free and as enjoyable as possible.

Give your Puppy the best possible start in life with professional puppy training in Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex.

Recent Posts

Predatory Aggression In Dogs

Predatory aggression in dogsThe number of attacks made by dogs on humans and other pets is sadly on the increase.  Whether this is down to the owners lack of knowledge, lack of proper training, poor socialisation or bad breeding, there is one possible cause that appears to be over looked.  That of predatory aggression.

What Is Predatory Aggression?

It can be difficult at times as your dog snuggles up to you, looking at you with big, round brown eyes or bounds around you in a goofy way begging for attention that at one point in his/her development, your pet is descended from hunters.   

Every dog has some level of prey drive (the motivation to chase, catch and kill small furry or feathered creatures) because hunting and killing was a way of life for their ancestors and their only means for survival.  This is hard-wired behaviour that is still present in our dogs today.  It is important to remember that predatory aggression by dogs does not reflect a psychological problem and neither is the dog being vicious, malicious or vindictive.

Predation is a natural survival-related behaviour even though it may sometimes alarm or disgust us.  The entire predatory sequence displayed by all predators involves searching, stalking, chasing, catching, biting, killing and then eating.

The problem we have as dog owners is that predatory behaviour is not preceded by a significant mood change or threatening gestures.  This absence of warning signals plus the fact that killing is the natural end point for predatory behaviour is what makes it dangerous for target animals, children, cyclists, joggers or anything else that moves quickly.

In domesticating dogs, certain parts of this see-chase-grab-kill sequence has been diluted but never fully eliminated.  For example, the herding breeds are very strong chasers, but do not go for the bite-hold-kill as readily as other breeds. Terriers, on the other hand, will readily grab-bite and kill.  How many of you have seen your dog grab a toy then shake it’s head rapidly from side to side?  That innocent and sometimes comical act is in reality, the final phase of the predatory sequence, the kill.    

So despite domestication, dogs still have an instinctive desire to chase, grab, bite and kill things that look like prey.  Incidentally, this is why so many dogs like to chase a ball or play with tug toys etc.  In the case of the domesticated dog, predation is instinctive and not based on hunger as is the case in wild predators. 

The level of predatory drive depends on the individual dog and what it has been bred for.  Movement always starts the sequence and allowing a dog to chase down small animals or toys will strengthen that prey drive.  Predatory behaviour may be exhibited by dogs of any sex and age and dogs showing intent or becoming agitated by the movement or vocalisations of children or other pets need to be closely monitored.

There are some people who do not regard predatory aggression as a proper form of aggression given there is little mood change and because a dog that chases after, catches and kills a rabbit shows none of the affective signs associated with dominance or fear aggression.  As far as the dog is concerned, it is just business as usual. However, when viewed another way, it seems reasonable to me to classify predatory aggression along with other forms of aggression as it results in damage or destruction of another creature.

So, what constitutes prey?

You may have seen during springtime for instance, dogs or cats killing birds and upsetting wild rabbit nests.  Our response, should we witness this sort of behaviour often ranges from being horrified to dismissing the action as the animals natural instinct.  We rarely see it as a problem.  However, it does become a problem when this predatory drive is directed towards running children, cyclists, traffic or small dogs and cats.  For us these targets are not prey, but to the dog they move like prey, sound like prey, and look like prey, hence the danger.

The results of such cases of mistaken identity can range from annoying to painful and even life-threatening.  A dog exhibiting the predatory mode may slink up on their prey and, when within range, launch an attack.  They then accelerate towards their target, either nipping at heels or biting at calves or thighs, perhaps hanging on in an attempt to drag their prey to the ground.  Sometimes other dogs will be drawn in to the attack displaying “group” aggression.  When the subject is a young child who is attempting to run away, the results can be disastrous.

What makes this type of aggression dangerous is it cannot be trained, medicated or counter conditioned out of the dog.  You may have a dog who previously chased cats, who can now be commanded to stay or sit around a cat but they will still chase a cat down at some point especially if you are not around.  This aggression can be shocking to the owners as it manifests so suddenly and is directed to what we do not see as prey.  For the dog however, instinct dictates otherwise.

Risks of Canine Predation

Realistically, there is no real treatment for predatory aggression and the only sure way to control predatory aggression is 100% avoidance of the situations that put humans and animals at risk.  The sudden high arousal level, a fixed focus on the prey subject and difficulty distracting the dog, are all indicators of a poor prognosis.  Dogs that are born with a high prey drive and have it fine-tuned by experience will always be likely to display this behaviour under certain circumstances.  Quite simply, they cannot help themselves.  This means if your dog chases cats, it cannot live with a cat.  If small dogs are the prey, your dog cannot be around any small dogs, especially when out on walks. 

As previously mentioned, this behaviour is neither malicious nor vindictive but simply biologically driven and natural  though unacceptable and downright dangerous when expressed toward humans. It therefore remains the responsibility of dog owners to recognise and appreciate tendencies in their dog and to take precautions such as keeping the dog on a lead etc.

It is your responsibility as a dog owner to recognise that if your dog only comes back to you when there are no distractions then your dog does not have a reliable recall and therefore should not be off the lead until one is taught.  It is not enough if your dog attacks another animal or child to say “he/she has never done that before” or “he/she only wanted to play”.

Reward-based obedience training will increase owner control, but will not prevent predatory behaviour when the owner’s back is turned or when the owner is absent.