Class Structure

Puppy Preschool is open enrollment, so puppies will benefit whether they join us for one or multiple sessions. Each class has four basic elements.

Puppy to Puppy Socialization: Consists of meeting other pups of various breeds and sizes and with different play styles. This will help teach your puppy important canine communication skills.

Training topics: Although this is not a “training class”, we will introduce you to positive training methods and explain how to teach your pup simple behaviors, such as sit, down and polite greeting.  If you are interested in obedience training, we recommend signing up for a basic manners class with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). (visit our trainer section for more information on selecting a certified trainer)

Exploration: We will introduce your puppy to a variety of stimuli, from gentle handling and grooming to household items, surfaces & obstacles, and people that look a little different (costumes, sun glasses, hats, uniforms).

Puppy-to-people socialization: It is crucial that your puppy meets lots of different, unfamiliar people. Your pup will have the chance to socialize with other puppy parents in a low stress setting.

Each session begins with families arriving at 7pm. Families are invited to sit around the edge of the room, either in the chairs or on the floor, so the puppies have the maximum play area. We will have play sessions interrupted by a few breaks: elimination, exploration of objects and brief tips on a selected topic. During puppy playtime we would like the puppies to have the opportunity to focus on play with the other puppies, so we ask for minimal treat giving during this time. We will be using treats during other parts the the session, so if they have a favorite treat, please feel free to bring it to class.

The session begins with the puppy practicing “sit” or being focused on their family. This allows the puppies know they need to be settled before they get to play. The first play session is puppy to puppy socialization. Play is supervised by the instructors.

Each puppy adjusts differently to puppy preschool. Many puppies may be a little shy or even a little overwhelmed at first by all the new puppies and people. This is normal. Your puppy may need to sit on your lap and observe for a while or maybe even for the whole first play session. Please allow your puppy to enter into playing and to explore at his own pace. Our preschoolers range in age from 2 to 4 months, and especially the younger ones tend to need to watch for a while before entering into play. It is amazing to see them build confidence and start to interact more and more during each session. In our experience, with each subsequent class they explore and interact more and more. Due to size and age differences, our teachers will form play areas according to size and personality. We are here to help guide and supervise the play session and help with any questions that you may have.

Following the Puppy Play session, we will take an elimination break and also spend time teaching basic commands. This is not an obedience class. We will briefly introduce these techniques.  Topics include: clicker training, leave it/drop it, hand targeting, polite greetings, nail trimming, dental care and such. We can help recommend certified trainers for basic manner and behavior concerns. Each session will have a different topic.

We will also have a period of exploration to help build the puppy’s confidence. Each class will offer a different exploration experience. These will include obstacle courses, different surface textures, people in different costumes, scent games, puzzle toys, household items, sounds and toys.

Puppy and Parent play time encourages puppies interacting with new people.

Each week we will focus on a topic and send links to informational handouts to the preschooler’s family. This allows time to learn about the topic we will be giving tips on. For training questions, we will be happy to direct you to a certified trainer if we are unable to provide appropriate information.