Well first of all let’s define a puppy. In The DogSmith puppy classes the dog must be under the age of 6 months, however a dog is not considered an adult until it is 12 months of age.
It is a great idea to get your puppy into a well run and safe puppy class when it is several weeks old. Begin your puppy’s education before any problematic behaviors can develop. If you wait until your puppy is 4-6 months of age then I can guarantee you are probably already experiencing some jumping problems, nipping problems and maybe some potty accidents. This means when you start your training program, at the same time you are trying to build appropriate behaviors such as sit, down, come, stay etc you have to work on reducing the other problematic behaviors. This often causes frustration for owners and this is when we begin to hear comments such as "my puppy is dominant" or "my puppy is stubborn" when really the puppy is just exhibiting the behaviors that it has learned from its environment during its early months of development.
At The DogSmith we encourage puppies into class at around 9 weeks of age; puppies are capable of learning some really nice behaviors even at this age, more importantly we can teach the owners how to manage their puppy’s environment during these first weeks so they do not inadvertently teach the puppy inappropriate behaviors. In my opinion the most important thing we need to teach our puppies is that training is fun and people are safe. If you want to raise a socially sound dog that can solve problems and live comfortably around your family then stay away from aversive and invasive dog training methods.
On our website you can watch some really nice videos of puppies who are just four months of age demonstrating sit-down, stay behaviors, come, up and off and walk nicely. We also have a really nice E-Book that covers all the behaviors you can begin to teach your puppy under our proprietary MTR Program. These behaviors are categorized under management tools, relationship exercises and training skills. Feel free to grab a copy and begin working through them.
Here is a copy of our DogSmith Skill Training Card for puppies, your local DogSmith will covers some or all of these skills in your Puppy Class depending on the number of dogs in class, age of dogs in your class and your individual goals. What you and your dog will learn from a DogSmith puppy class is how much fun training can be and that the working relationship between people and dogs should be fun, effective and non damaging both mentally and physically for your and your puppy.