Puppy Preschool - Behavioral Foundations
To help puppies and their owners learn good habits for a lifetime of wellness and good behavior, we offer Puppy Preschool Classes here at AMC. Our focus is on understanding how our dogs learn and using this understanding to prevent problem behaviors and to promote good behaviors.
We teach reward based training methods, with treats and lots of praise. We teach owners how dogs learn and how to use this understanding to prevent future behavior problems and reinforce good behaviors through the use of "operant conditioning" to mold behavior. Operant conditioning is a sound scientific method of behavior change that involves the use of positive (or, to a lesser degree negative) consequences to reinforce (or discourage) behaviors. Properly applied, these methods will also establish a foundation of security, respect and trust. Positive reinforcement methods allow us to teach our puppies basic obedience commands (Come, Sit, Stay, etc.) as well as open the door to allow us to teach our dogs virtually anything else.
These classes are open only to puppies who have received a veterinary exam at AMC and are current AMC patients.
Owners will learn how to help their dogs become calm, confident, obedient and cooperative. We will learn how to avoid accidentally teaching our dogs the wrong thing and we will learn how to make sure we are allowing our puppy to grow into a secure and peaceful dog by avoiding instilling fears or rewarding aggression.
Each week, in addition to the behavioral instruction and some classic obedience training, Animal Medical Center staff including veterinarian Dr. Steve Zucker , behaviorist Amy Estep and our excellent nurses will offer education and answer questions about basic wellness issues including dental health, parasite testing and prevention, vaccination recommendations and other important health issues.
- Positive behavior techniques
- How to raise your dog to be confident, calm, secure and obedient
- How to prevent fear and aggression
- Basic Obedience Exercises (Sit, Stay, Down, Leash Walking, Come, "Leave It", etc.)
- Discussion of Health and Wellness Issues
- Intestinal and external parasites and their prevention
- Heartworm disease -- protecting your dog
- Vaccines -- making the best choices for your dog
- Dental health & tooth brushing
- Nail trims -- how to
- Q & A with Dr. Zucker
- Classes Limited to 6 Puppies
- Puppies Aged 3 to 8 Months
- Six Weeks of Instruction
- First week is without puppies. You learn first...
- Weeks Two to Six include the puppies and the owner(s). You then teach your puppy!
- Guidance on selecting training tools, collars and leads.
Who, Where, When, How Much?
These classes are just for puppies between 3 and 8 months of age.
Class Times: Monday evenings from 6:15 - 7:15 p.m.
Class Location: Animal Medical Center, 460 Hartman Run Road
(when weather permits, classes are held in the fenced AMC puppy play yard)
Cost: $110.00 (plus tax)
- Recent veterinary exam at AMC and a current AMC patient.
- Wellness health care up to date (see below)
- Advance Registration required. Written records of all medical services provided away from AMC must be delivered, faxed or mailed to AMC for our review prior to class.
- Advance Payment required 1 week prior to the first session to ensure your space in the class.
- August 15 - October 3 (excluding Labor Day and Sept. 19)
* Classes with fewer than three enrolled puppies will be combined with an upcoming session (or provided a refund if preferred).
Health Requirements for all Puppy Preschool Classes
- Proof of Vaccinations (including Bordetella) Required
- At least 3 DAPP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza combo) vaccines need to have been given after 6 weeks of age, 2 to 4 weeks apart and with the final shot given at 14 weeks of age or older.
- One Rabies vaccine needs to have been given at 12 weeks of age or older.
- One Intranasal Bordetella Vaccine needs to have been administered OR a series of two injectable bordetella vaccines (2 to 4 weeks apart) needs to have been completed. The bordetella vaccine needs to have been administered at least 2 days prior to the first class.
- Parasite Control Required
- Puppy must be free of fleas, ticks and other parasites
- Puppy must be free of intestinal parasites as evidenced by meeting at least one of the following conditions. (Optimum care requires all three conditions.)
- My puppy has been dewormed by a veterinarian
- My puppy has had a "negative" fecal exam at a veterinarian
- My puppy is taking a monthly heartworm preventative (Trifexis, Interceptor, Sentinel, Iverhart, HeartGard or Revolution)
- Your puppy needs to have a current veterinary exam and be free of any potentially contagious illnesses or parasites.
Please note: Family members are welcome to observe and participate in class! However, for the safety of all involved and to ensure an optimal learning environment, children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a caregiver who is not also handling a dog in the class and who can ensure the child remains safely away from all students and dogs during class time.
For Questions and Reservations
To enroll: Use our enrollment e-form if you are ready to enroll!
Contact us if you need to check on your puppy's vaccination and wellness status or to schedule an appointment to update any needed services or if you have any other questions or if you are ready to enroll. Call us at (304) 292-0126.
We hope our puppy classes help participating puppies to grow into well behaved dogs with good wellness habits that will last a lifetime and help protect their health and happiness for years to come.