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Down Under Dog Trainer

6 Things to Look for in a good puppy preSchool

Puppy Preschool is one of the most formative and impactful experiences of your dogs life. Because of this, it’s SO important to find the right puppy preschool for your dog. Here’s our list of things to look for below (in no particular order) and the things WE include in our own puppy preschool on the Gold Coast, Australia.

  1. THEY HAVE AN AGE LIMIT: Puppy preschool should be for baby puppies, 5MO maximum, ESPECIALLY if they allow off lead socialisation. Puppies older than 5MO should be in a class for adolescent dogs, no matter their size. In the same way that a class room of children aged 3YO up to 10YO would be tough to teach and manage, and difficult for the students, a puppy preschool is no different.
  2. THEY AREN’T JUST A FREE FOR ALL: Puppy preschool SHOULD be school, not just a free for all play group. You want to ACTUALLY learn and train, not just turn up for play and fun.
  3. ANY OFF LEAD INTERACTIONS SHOULD BE SUPERVISED: Picture this, an 8WO Pomeranian is allowed free play (without ANY supervision) with a 4MO St. Bernard. This isn’t to imply anything about either breed other than their size disparity. Accidents can happen unfortunately and they DO at puppy preschools around the world, not just on the Gold Coast. If play is allowed to escalate and get out of control without any supervision, your dog can either learn to be a bully or learn that they’ll be bullied by other dogs.
  4. THEY CHECK FOR VACCINATIONS: A responsible puppy preschool SHOULD check for puppies vaccination status before allowing any dogs to attend their classes. At this age, puppies are incredibly vulnerable and at risk of serious illness or death if they were to catch a disease. We’re lucky at Down Under Dog Trainer on the Gold Coast that diseases like Canine Parvovirus aren’t very common, but we still make sure all dogs that attend our classes are vaccinated nonetheless.
  5. THEY’RE QUALIFIED DOG TRAINERS: Since this age is so formative for your puppy, you want to ensure that the techniques you’re being shown are correct and being given by a qualified trainer. I’ve seen again and again, the wrong advice being given at a young age and creating a ticking time bomb later on in life. Ask the potential training school of their qualifications and make sure they’re nationally accredited, not just their own in house qualification (which means nothing). Here at Down Under Dog Trainer on the Gold Coast, Australia, we’re qualified with our Cert III in Dog Training and Behaviour through the National Dog Trainers Federation (NDTF), as well as the Institute of Modern Dog Training (IMDT) in the UK. In addition to this, our head trainer and owner of Down Under Dog Trainer, Max, is studying animal behaviour at the University of Edinburgh.
  6. LOOK FOR REVIEWS, REFERRALS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Don’t just go for the flyer, ask your friends and family who THEY used. Look at reviews, shop around, even ask to attend a class as a spectator to see if its any good and a fit for you.

Those are our top tips for finding a good puppy preschool. If you’re looking for a good puppy preschool on the Gold Coast that ticks ALL of these boxes and more, check out our Pro Pups Academy program!

Max O'Neill