I recently enrolled Orly in a second round of puppy kindergarten classes at our local — excellent — dog training center, Sit Happens.
Aside from her somewhat distracting obsession with the puppy in the mirror, Orly is doing well in her classes. She’s repeating not because she’s a poor student but because she’s still such a puppy!
She’s not able to focus for a full hour of class yet, but she benefits from the training. Puppy kindergarten includes lots of playtime and the teaching is broken up into small chunks, with rest breaks (or play-with-the-puppy-in-the-mirror breaks) so the puppies’ brains can process what they are learning.
Many of her buddies from the weekly puppy playtime also attend kindergarten. She gets to play with them before class, which tires her out just enough that she can focus on the training.
The trainers rotate through several topics that puppies need to learn, like paying attention to their humans even when they are in a room full of other puppies and people; walking nicely on a leash; settling down when they are excited; exploring and trying out new things like walking on weird surfaces or stepping on something that wobbles; and not taking treats or other food they find on the floor.
When Orly gets a little more grown up, she will probably take a more conventional puppy / dog manners class where the hour-long sessions include more training and less playing. She’d like to earn her Canine Good Citizen certification — I’d like her to learn some impulse control and improve her manners.
Meanwhile, though, she’s pretty happy being a puppy in kindergarten!