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A portrait of a Beagle puppy.Group dog training classes are your best bet for a well-rounded puppy or adult dog to be able to follow your commands quickly and consistently despite distractions.

Since the dogs learn together, they also learn to ignore each other.  You also get a certain degree of competition that seems to help pet parents remember to practice with their puppies or adult dogs between training sessions.  Puppies also get a brief socialization session in most group classes.  This gives your puppies a chance to romp and play in a closely supervised setting.  It teaches them proper dog/dog interaction and that alone is a priceless skill for your puppy to learn.

Most group trainers teach puppies and adult dogs separately.  They have separate needs.  Puppies need that first socialization.  Adult dogs need to get under control and learn obedience as quickly as possible.

Personally my favorite part of a puppy group class is socialization.  It is fun, funny, and beneficial for the puppies.

Puppies can start obedience classes as soon as their vet gives the OK, unless the specific school they go to requires them to be a certain age.  In general puppies no longer qualify for puppy classes between the ages of 5-6 months.

After 5-6 months your puppy would qualify for adult dog training.  It’s just a difference of the age of the other dogs and usually the lack of a socialization part.  The reason for this is that puppies instinctively know how to play with each other safely no matter the size of the dog.  After a certain age, it’s not guaranteed that dogs will play well with each other and it has to be approached more carefully.

Many trainers will allow play sessions in their safe environment after class is over, assuming they don’t have another class coming in immediately.  Unless your dog has aggressive tendencies or other serious behavior problems, I recommend you enroll them in a group class as early in their life as possible.

In addition to being able to watch your puppies romp and play they also learn valuable commands.  Sit, Stay, Take it, Leave it, Walking Nicely on a Leash, and Down are very common in both puppy and adult obedience classes.  These commands are invaluable as your dog grows older.  They also help the slightly out of control older dog learn to listen and obey instruction.

My favorite graduation exercise for puppy or beginner class was always to spread treats from one side of the training center to the other. Then while having the dog ignore the treats using leave it getting them to cross the line of treats and come to their owner.  It made me feel good as well as giving the pet’s owner a sense of accomplishment.