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Waffles completed the Puppy Training program at Petsmart in San Mateo this past weekend. After 6 weeks of group class for an hour a week per week, it's safe to say that puppy class with Liz is working it's magic! Since neither my wife or myself have ever raised a puppy, our expectation of the Puppy Training class was for us to learn the basics on how to teach Waffles the basic commands. What we left from the class was far more valuable. Not only did Waffles learn the basics, we also learned about what Waffles was thinking when we interact with him.
Some of the basic training tips we learned included:
Learning the proper way to use a clicker for training. This includes "loading" the clicker, when to click and treat, and using the clicker as an invaluable tool for training.
Some commands Waffles learned include sit, down, stay, and wait. Though he's not perfect at them, especially in differing environments, he does get it a majority of the time.
Asking other questions outside of the training including tips on how to handle dogs that pee and poop inside the house, night-time barking, and dealing with mouthing (playful biting).
Interactions with out dogs. Our class had on average 5 other puppies that attended. Even though the puppies, often times Waffles, would bark a lot during class, being around other puppies is good practice.
Learned easy ways to keep the puppy sitting still while other more exciting things are happening around the them. Often times, keeping the leash short and diverting their attention is the best tactic.
The format of the class was hands on. The class took place in a sectioned off corner of Petsmart. Each week, there was a new technique that would be explained and demonstrated. Depending on what was being taught that week, we would either do it one at a time, or all at once. Once we got the hang of it, our homework for during the week before our next class was to practice with our puppies, and come back with any questions.
Like most other classes, I can't swear that every Petsmart's Puppy Training class will be useful. What I can tell you is that Liz at the Petsmart in San Mateo was very effective. She knew exactly what she was saying and had the experience to back what she was teaching.