Pre-Puppy Preparation: Start Your Puppy On The Right Paw

Have you been researching breeders for your dream puppy? Maybe you’ve already put down a deposit, and now you’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of your new furry family member? Or perhaps you’re even farther along in the process; you’ve purchased their bed, found a veterinarian, and decided on a brand of dog food after endlessly researching dog food options to ensure your puppy would get all of their nutrients. 

All of these parts of preparing for your puppy are important, but you may have forgotten one major aspect of puppy parenting: where will your puppy go to school? We’ve put together a guide to help you find the perfect program for your puppy.

Planning Ahead

For many expectant parents, one of the most important steps of preparing for their baby is researching childcare. You’ve almost certainly heard tales of new parents hopping onto daycare and preschool waitlists long before their baby is even born.

While it seems like common sense to plan ahead for your child’s care, few people enter into dog ownership with the same level of foresight. For those considering adopting from a dog breeder, an important aspect of preparing for a puppy is planning where they’ll go for doggy daycare or training school.

Setting Up Your Puppy For Success

When researching puppy program options, here are some key questions to ask about potential puppy training programs you’re considering: 

  • What type of training methods do they use? Traditional fear-based or punishment-based training methods are the standard in most programs, but these can increase a dog’s fear and anxiety, cause fear and pain, and decrease your puppy’s ability to learn. We recommend looking for a program that uses fear-free training methods, which are more effective and teach using treats and affirmations to reinforce positive behaviors.
  • What is the puppy to staff ratio? The industry’s maximum recommended dog-to-staff ratio is 20:1. However, puppies need individualized attention to ensure their mental, physical, and emotional needs are being met. We recommend looking for puppy classes that have very small class sizes and a low dog to staff ratio. 
  • Will the program consider your lifestyle and your household’s needs when training your puppy? To truly set your puppy up to thrive, it is important for your puppy to be prepared for the types of experiences they are likely to encounter in your future together. A quality program will set goals and create lesson plans for each puppy based on your lifestyle and will support you in successfully integrating your new puppy into your household.
  • What is included in the curriculum? Many programs just cover basic manners (sit, stay, lay down, rollover) and loose leash walking. While these are certainly important, they aren’t enough to set your puppy up for success in adolescence and adulthood. It is important to find a program that will teach your new puppy how to learn, how to play with others, and how to not be afraid of new experiences. 

At Patrick’s Pet Care, we take a unique approach to puppy care and training to ensure your dog is set up for emotional, physical, and mental success throughout life. Our holistic Puppy Head Start program focuses on socialization, puppy manners, how to play with others, how to learn, how to share toys, how to be independent and rest, potty training, choice, consent, and motivation. 

How Our Puppy Head Start Program Works

Our training is broken into two sections for younger and older puppies; puppies aged 8-9 weeks are eligible for Part One of our Puppy Head Start program. Upon graduating from Part One at 16 weeks old, puppies become eligible for Part Two of our program. Puppies aged at least 16 weeks who have undergone a behavioral assessment to determine temperament and eligibility may also be admitted into Part Two of Puppy Head Start. Our Head Start class sizes are intentionally kept small with a puppy-to-teacher ratio of 5:1 to guarantee your puppy receives our trainer’s undivided attention. During class, we’ll work to set goals and create lesson plans tailored to your puppy, your lifestyle, and your future together. Your puppy’s mental, emotional, and physical needs are our utmost priority, and we aim to help them integrate into your family as smoothly and successfully as possible. 

The Science Behind It

All of our services at Patrick’s Pet Care are purely positive, force-free, and based on research by Duke University Canine Cognition Center, The Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, the Mandalao Elephant Conservation, and leaders in the field of animal behavior. All of our Puppy Head Start teachers are certified fear-free professional dog trainers who follow our science-based curriculum and specialize in puppy socialization. 

Other major draws of Puppy Head Start include our transportation and curbside pick-up services, monthly package perks, live HD webcams so you can watch your puppy in-action, and dog walking. 

Are you ready to take the next step in preparing for your puppy? Check out our Puppy Head Start page for more information!