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  • Writer's pictureThe Cambridge Dog Lodge

Puppy classes - Puppy diaries

For the past 6 weeks, Ren and I have attended a puppy class. Despite having dogs all my life (and I mean right from when I was a baby, not just as an adult) I have never attended a puppy class. So I decided when we knew we would be gaining a new addition to our family, that I would take her to a puppy class. It was easier to do because my good friend and colleague Scott Foley, ran a class, so I asked him if had any space. Even we hadn't had that access to a class, we would have found one to attend any way.

I have always taught my own dogs the basics to begin with - sit, stay, wait, gently, doggy manners with humans, doggy manners with other dogs, taken them on walks, socialisation, then as an adult I've included crate training and ensured my dogs don't have separation anxiety. I have never really felt the need to join a class - that was for first time dog owners, because after all my dogs were well rounded individuals, and what more is there for me to learn?!

I don't believe that last line by the way; there is always more for me to learn!

So I asked Scott if I could take part in one of his courses and he said absolutely! The other thing was Kooikers can be anxious and thinking dogs, so I wanted to do my best from the start for Ren and what better way to do it then learning something new together.

I knew from the very first session, sat there with other new puppy owners, all self conscious and anxious (yes, I was too) that I had done the right thing. Despite the anxiety - would she poop in the hall? would she do as I asked? would I show Ren up? - we had a lot of fun. I learned so much not just from Scott but from the other puppy owners and from the puppies! It was a completely different experience for me and it was the best thing we could have done.

Scott and his dogs - Franc, Mini, Phoebe and Echo the four Boston terriers - were brilliant. I did already know the dogs but Ren had never met them so I really enjoyed her getting to know them and how to behave around them. It can sometimes be hard for dogs to understand how to react around a Brachy (brachycephalic/flat faced breeds) and I wanted Ren to have the best experience around them from the start. Scott's Boston's are awesome dogs and a perfect example of how they (or any breed really) should behave around others. As you can see from the blurry pictures below, her favourite member of Scott's team was Echo.

Back to Scott - he was brilliant. Scott is very patient and understanding and knowledgeable. He has you trying activities out, gets you to do the basics, gives advice, helps with how to do something, and the dogs love him.

I would highly advise anybody with a new puppy to attend a puppy class even if you don't think you need to. You will always learn something new and your new dog will absolutely learn lots and lots of new things they need to experience at an age when socialisation and experiences are crucial to their development. Scott Foley is definitely my go to for this, but there are others out there too. Always make sure you do your research and ask for recommendations before you commit to a class.

That smile shows how proud I am of us both. Ren however was like, all in a days work.

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