I have read that puppy classes where you let your puppy play with other pups are a bad idea. Is this true?
Sue Williams advises...
If run correctly, puppy classes should teach you everything you need to help your puppy grow up to be a happy, sociable, well-mannered dog. Socialising and playing with other puppies is one component, and a well-run class will allow interactions between the various puppies, and teach you how to manage these meetings so that your pup gains confidence and learns how to interact with others correctly.
However, it’s true that there was a period – probably a few years ago now – where puppy classes (sometimes billed as ‘puppy parties’) were basically just a free-for-all of pups playing continually for an hour before going home. The problem with this, which soon became evident, was that instead of it being a positive lesson, it resulted in the confident pups becoming bullies, and the more sensitive ones becoming nervous. Most also became incredibly dog-motivated, which consequently caused them to ignore their owners when other dogs were around.
Definitely take your puppy to a puppy class, but do your research carefully first. Watch a class before you sign up and take your puppy along. A good trainer will welcome prospective new clients as spectators, and if you like what you see, and the puppies look happy, enrol.