How to Choose the Right Training Class for Your Dog

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Whether you just brought home a wiggly new puppy or you’re giving a rescue dog their forever home, training is one of the biggest and most important challenges ahead for you and your dog. A solid training foundation is essential to building and maintaining a healthy relationship between you and your dog, and it’s a crucial component of ensuring your dog will enjoy life in their new home. From meeting new people and dogs on the sidewalk to learning the skills of well-mannered leash walking, you can set your dog up for success by investing in their training. 

But where do you start? Training a new dog can be challenging for even the most experienced dog owner, and it can often feel overwhelming trying to pick the training class that’s right for your dog. Read on to learn more about our most popular training classes and how to decide which one is best for your pup.

Choosing the Best Training Class for Your Puppy: Puppy Kindergarten vs Puppy Basics

It’s never too early to start teaching your dog the behaviors you expect from them; the lessons your dog learns as a puppy will stay with them for a lifetime. Beyond learning specific commands and behaviors, enrolling your puppy in a training class is a great opportunity to help socialize them in a supervised environment with other dogs their age. District Dogs offers two group training options for puppies: Puppy Kindergarten and Puppy Basics. So, what’s the difference?

Think of Puppy Kindergarten as a structured play session. This class doesn’t focus on teaching specific commands but helps your puppy learn dog social cues and get comfortable and confident in new places and situations. We recommend booking a few sessions of Puppy Kindergarten as a first step to help your new pup adjust more easily to the stimulation and energy of future training classes and social interactions.

Puppy Kindergarten At-A-Glance:

  • Offered for puppies 12-18 weeks of age
  • Available in single sessions that can be booked as needed—no need to worry about skipping a week or two
  • Focuses on cultivating polite dog-to-dog social skills, e.g., greeting new dogs, learning when another dog wants to play vs be left alone, being gentle with teeth during playtime
  • Helps teach young puppies that new places and situations can be fun instead of scary
  • Sets puppies up for success in future training classes, dog parks, playtime at home, and everyday situations

Our Puppy Basics class is where your puppy can start to build their knowledge of basic training commands and continue to practice their social skills. Built on positive reinforcement, this six-week course is as much for you as it is for your puppy. Our professional trainers will give you the skills to teach and reinforce good behaviors for your puppy. 

Puppy Basics At-A-Glance:

  • Open to puppies between 8 weeks and 5 months of age with at least two rounds of vaccinations
  • Six-week course where each week’s lesson builds on the previous week
  • Sessions consist of instructor-led demonstrations for key commands and skills, finishing with off-leash playtime
  • Builds confidence by challenging your puppy to learn new skills and rewarding them when they succeed

How do you know which class to choose? It’s important to remember that Puppy Basics is a six-week commitment. Consistency is extremely important in any training program. If you’re not sure you can make all six-weeks of a Puppy Basics class, enrolling in one or two sessions of Puppy Kindergarten can help make sure your puppy is getting plenty of socialization and play in an environment that supports and reinforces good behaviors. District Dogs also offers a variety of Private Training options that can help your puppy learn key skills from one of our professional trainers on a schedule that works for you. 

Choosing the Right Training Plan for Your Adult Dog

What if your dog isn’t a young puppy anymore? Whether you have an older puppy who is just getting started with training, an adult dog who struggles with specific behavior challenges, or a recent rescue who wasn’t given a training foundation in their previous home, our Adult Basics, Specialty Class, and Private Training options will set you both up for success. 

For a group class environment that will cover key commands and skills while also offering socialization, our Adult Basics class is ideal for dogs who need to learn (or re-learn) foundational behaviors. This class is also helpful for new dog owners and will provide you with the tools to teach your dog new skills and reinforce positive behaviors at home. 

Adult Basics At-A-Glance:

  • Open to dogs six months of age and older
  • Six-week course where each week’s lesson builds on the previous week
  • Sessions consist of instructor-led demonstrations for basic commands and skills with off-leash playtime and socialization at the end
  • Builds confidence by challenging your dog to learn new skills and rewarding them when they succeed

If your dog knows the basics but still struggles with specific issues, our Specialty Classes offer targeted tactics for some of the most common behavior challenges. From leash pulling to dog reactivity, our trainers will work with you and your dog on specific protocols to address these disruptive behaviors and build positive, healthy communication between you and your dog.

For behavioral challenges not addressed in our Specialty Classes or for dogs who might struggle with the stimulation and distractions of a group class, our Private Training options are the ultimate customized solution. You’ll get to work one-on-on with your trainer to discuss your dog’s needs and challenges. In addition to building a customized training plan for your dog, your trainer will also equip you with the knowledge and skills to keep reinforcing good behavior well after the last session.

District Dogs is proud to offer training options to help every dog and owner get the most out of their relationship; don’t hesitate to contact our training staff for additional questions or further information about our training options!

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