paw prints

2 responses to “Is puppy kindergarten worth your time and effort?”

  1. Roger Alan Bernard

    Dear Ms. Saukiasian, I really hope you will reconsider your stance regarding puppy kindergarten. For more than 10- years, I have been trying to explain to listeners & viewing audiences during my guest appearances on NPR & television the dangers and uselessness regarding such classes. They have no basis in scientific fact, in fact, the mother dog goes to extremes to prevent her puppies from interacting with other puppies & dogs. Dogs are scavengers (not wolves) and we as dog owners are subjecting them to many unnatural social conditions that can lead to unruly or aggressive behavior later in life. Oh course I approve and encourage puppy socialization BUT as the owner of a pup, it is my responsibility to teach my dog when, where and how that socialization takes place.
    We are doing things to dogs today (training methods/socialization) that would have been rightfully scoffed at even 30 -years ago. I will have to assume you are not a canine behaviorists; otherwise you would never have posted such an article; which will be, sadly, to the detriment of those that follow your advice.
    Roger Alan Bernard

  2. Jennifer Smith

    Mr. Bernard, my (rescue) dog had no training until the age of 3, and had serious behavioral issues that I myself had no training in how to deal with, UNTIL we went to Puppy Kindergarten. The socialization my dog received there, and the skills I learned for working with my dog, quite possibly saved his life. This was a dog with previous history of abuse, and serious Fear Aggression. Ms. Karen worked with us outside the group (she doesn’t just throw the animals into a group together, as you seem to suggest) and taught me how to work with and understand my dog. He now has the joy of being able to leave our yard with me, he is friendly and happy to meet every person we encounter, and he is able to play at the dog park, WITH other dogs when he shows that he is comfortable with them (and they with him – we always test first, rather than randomly allowing strange dogs to be loose together), and he is happier now than I would have believed possible. You are wrong to condemn someone else’s training method simply because it isn’t the same as yours.You yourself say “it is my responsibility to teach my dog…”. What you fail to address is that not all people have the training to do so, until they take their dog to a class such as Karen’s, or have a trainer like you come to them. Which method a person chooses is in fact their choice, and neither is wrong and neither is the only option.