Sprout is kind of like that kid you knew in third grade who sat in the front of class frantically waving his arm to answer every. single. question. In his first year, Sprout graduated from Puppy Class I, Puppy Class II, Tricks, and Circus Tricks classes, and now we drive 30 miles every Saturday morning so he can learn Agility. He has a repertoire of delightful tricks and exceptional manners (most of the time).
And no, I’m not a Tiger [Dog] Mom. Sprout and I both just really found a love for going to school and learning new things. Here are our top five reasons to try a class with your pup, none of which have anything to do with obedience!
1. Help Your Pupper Adjust
Class is super important for puppies, who are basically tiny, soft sponges soaking up the exciting (but strange) world around them. Worry less about learning sit or stay, and instead find a puppy class that will focus on things like playing “doctor” to get your pup used to handling, teaching him how to entertain himself, and helping her adjust to weird things like umbrellas or crutches or velcro (true story – sorry, bud). These things sound obvious, but many new puppy parents (us included) wouldn’t have thought to practice these on our own.
2. Confidence Times 1,000
Sprout was the shyest puppy ever. Like, his tiny pout just quivered with apprehension, his big brown eyes looking up with wonder and a whole lotta worry. But bringing him to class really helped him come out of his shell. Why? Because, just like people, puppies also gain self-assurance when they feel like they’re doing things right. At school, you’ll teach your dog what to do, and he can start feeling more confident that the answer to “Who’s a good boy?” is a resounding “MEEE!”
3. Adorable Tricks
Would all your bad days be instantly better if all you had to do was say “kiss kiss” and your pup would jump and nuzzle your cheek? And if you walked into a party and a dog greeted you by bowing to the cue “enchanté,” would it not be the greatest party ever? To state the obvious, teaching your dog tricks is adorable and entertaining, plus she’ll love seeing you and everyone else go squeeee over all his cute little skills.
4. Exercise Your Pup’s Brain
Despite what you may think, your pup’s head isn’t just filled with rainbows and cotton candy; there’s also a little brain in there. And by taking your dog to class, you’ll keep that little brain engaged, which will help enrich his life and yours — if your dog isn’t bored, your shoes won’t be his entertainment. Plus, you’ll love watching the little wheels turning in her head as she tries to figure out a new skill.
5. Bond with Your BFF
To be honest, Sprout and I didn’t bond all that well for the first few months after he came home. He was just pretty indifferent to me, despite the fact that I gave him food, endless snuggles, countless toys and a beautiful wardrobe. But going to school gave us something to do together, and by learning to communicate we started to work better in and out of class. Now, we’re pretty inseparable, and both look forward to practicing our tricks every night when I get home from work. Team #poutiesproutie for the win!
See you in class!
A special thanks to the team at Andrea Arden Dog Training, without whom we never would have found our love of learning (and would also probably have a teeny tiny terror of a pup).
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