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Formal training

Even if your puppy is doing well with "homeschooling," you should still enroll him in socialization classes.

Enrollment for puppy classes typically begins at 8 to 10 weeks of age, and is usually limited to puppies under 5 months of age. One of the biggest benefits of a well-run puppy class is that it provides an important opportunity for socializing with other puppies and people outside the family.

Look for a trainer who is firm without being punitive, and who relies mainly on positive reinforcement. Flat collars and head halters are generally much more preferable than pinch collars for training. Avoid any technique that causes pain or significant discomfort. Painful techniques can trigger fear, avoidance, aggressive behavior and may damage that special bond you share with your puppy.

Ask your veterinarian about classes available in your area, as well as age and vaccination requirements.

Follow-up training

Young dogs tend to forget the rules quickly and frequently test their boundaries. Because of this, it is a good idea to enroll your puppy in a second class as an adolescent — 7 to 14 months of age.


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