The First Dog Gone Problems Puppy Socialization Class

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 6, 2016

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When I got my Dalmatian puppy Quest, I wanted to get him into puppy socialization classes in Omaha ASAP. Unfortunately the puppy classes held at the NHS didn’t start until a month after I got him and I didnt want to wait that long. So I signed up for what I was told was a very good puppy training and socialization class.

I was hoping that I would find a class I could refer my clients to. Instead they made me feel very unwelcome and used techniques that actually caused behavior problems. And when my apprentice Sam attended the last class for me when I was out of town working with a dog in Colorado, the instructor stopped the class to ask “Exactly who are you and what is your purpose here?” Yea, they were really warm and personable – NOT!

So instead of building a relationship with a class to recommend to my clients, I decided to start a Dog Gone Problems puppy socialization class of our own. Below is a pic of our first class of guardians and their pups.

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Our inaugural class was led by my apprentices Sam and Tara who did an amazing job. Have to thank our friends at Dogtopia (a great place for dog boarding and daycare) for letting us hold the class there.

A few of our student pups were very uncertain and didn’t know how to interact and play with the other puppies. Well four weeks later, they had gotten over those issues, learned to walk in a heel without a leash, stopped nipping and developed confidence and great social skills. Watching them play during the socialization period was awesome.

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The first few classes, we separated the pups based on their confidence and play styles. We wanted to make sure that they felt good about the experiences. Sometimes just being around other dogs without actually playing can be beneficial.

By letting the pups go at their own pace, we helped them grow more confident. By the last class, all the pups were comfortable and enjoyed playing with one another.

By working with the guardians individually and crafting the class to their needs, we made great progress and had a lot of fun at the same time.

Even little Quest got in on the action, demonstrating a few heeling and leash training exercises for the younger puppies.

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One of the things I felt the other class did very poorly was failing to work with people individually. The only time I saw the instructor spend extra time was when the puppy’s guardian had paid extra for a one-on-one session outside of the group class.

As a result, we made sure to work with each handler and puppy individually each week and follow up on progress in the next class. Some puppies got things right away, some needed a little extra practice. Nothing is wrong with either, unless the class doesn’t bother to circle back around to make sure the handler’s were getting the results we all wanted.

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We will be holding another puppy socialization class in a few weeks and are developing a few other classes to continue helping guardians help teach their pups to grow up to be the dog they want. If you know of anyone with a puppy who needs help, please share this post with them or have them drop us a line at doggoneproblems@gmail.com

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