PUPPY ACADEMY IN MECHANICSBURG, PA
When you’re a new puppy parent, you have many questions. Training is a big concern for many people, especially if they have difficulty getting their new best friend to follow basic commands. This is more common than you might think! Some pet parents struggle with housebreaking, others with frequent barking or chewing household items. Unfortunately, many new dog owners think they should be able to handle training a dog on their own, and this can lead to months of difficulties. In reality, most people who bring their puppy to training classes wish they’d done so sooner.
At Greenlin West’s puppy academy in Mechanicsburg, we meet people and dogs who are struggling with a wide variety of challenges. Often these result from a lack of communication - the new pet parent doesn’t know what the puppy wants when they perform an unwanted behavior, and the puppy doesn’t understand their commands, either. We help people and puppies understand each other better, which often leads to improved puppy behavior.
What Kind of Training Can You Get at the Greenlin West Puppy Academy?
We offer several options to help puppies learn to be good canine citizens. Here is an overview of our puppy programs:
Puppy Obedience Training
More than one devoted dog owner has brought a new puppy home only to find that puppy training didn’t go as smoothly as expected. We’ve heard many questions about what’s happening and what causes this behavior:
“She purposefully waits until we come in from a long walk to have an accident on the rug - why?”
“I bought ten chew toys, and he still chooses my shoes - why?”
“I try to stop her from growling and barking at other dogs, but it’s no use. What’s happening?”
“I want to say I walk my dog, but the truth is he walks me. Okay, drags me. Why doesn’t he walk calmly by my side like the other dogs I see out with their humans?”
The good news is that these behaviors are correctable, and the sooner you start, the better. Three to four months of age is generally a good time to start puppy training school, as it allows the puppy socialization with other dogs and an early opportunity to learn good canine manners. At the same time, you’ll be able to help your dog with any behavioral challenges they already have.
It’s important to understand that obedience training involves you and your puppy - you’ll need to attend school and learn how to work with your dog. Here are some of the lessons we go over in class:
- You will learn to observe your dog’s actions, then demonstrate your expectations and boundaries in response. This is an excellent way to improve communication with your pet.
- We’ll teach you to notice good behavior and provide positive reinforcement when appropriate.
- You’ll work with your puppy to help them learn verbal cue response skills.
- Our skilled trainers will talk with you about other members of your household and how to get everyone on the same page regarding the reinforcement of expectations and boundaries. This helps your whole family to present a united front and assists your puppy in learning better skills faster.
- Everyone runs into challenges from time to time. Occasionally, a technique that works well for most dogs won’t do as well for your puppy. Our trainers encourage you to communicate any difficulties, so we can provide alternative tools and techniques as needed.
- We’ll assign homework and exercises for you and your family to work on with your puppy at home for the best results.
Puppy Prep Boarding School
Although attending class and working with your puppy is essential, training can continue when you aren’t with your dog. Dropping your pup off for an overnight stay or even a weekend at our Mechanicsburg location allows us to continue working on behavior modification while observing how your dog acts when you aren’t around. Sometimes this gives us insight into the puppy’s behavior and provides additional support for you and your family. We offer custom packages tailored to your dog’s favorite activities, socialization needs, and training goals.
Puppy Day Camp
We’ve heard a few people scoff at the idea of dog daycare, but the truth is that it serves numerous beneficial purposes, especially for puppies who are still developing social skills. Being around other dogs and people provide stimulation for a puppy while you’re at work or with friends. At the same time, our pet care specialists can continue the hard work you’ve put into training and reinforce positive canine behavior. Here are some more great reasons to consider making day camp at Greenlin West a part of your puppy school experience:
- Socialization is a crucial facet of promoting good dog behavior. In fact, a lack of socialization can lead to many issues that cause negative behaviors like aggression. Dogs who weren’t socialized well as puppies may be fearful or possessive around other animals, and it may be more challenging to address these behaviors in an older dog. Day camp allows your puppy to play with others in a supervised, controlled environment at their own pace. If your pup seems frightened or uncomfortable, our pet care specialist will give them some alone time, so they don’t become overwhelmed. Over time, they will learn how to interact positively with other dogs - and people.
- Our staff will also perform a comprehensive behavioral evaluation when your puppy arrives to determine the best activities and playgroups for your pet. We try to put puppies with other dogs of a similar age, size, and personality and choose activities that will help them thrive. For example, lots of exercise may be helpful for puppies with excess energy.
- Our five facilities all feature indoor and outdoor play areas, so rain or winter weather won’t stop your puppy from having a good time. In the summer, they can learn to swim in our supervised, in-ground pools designed just for dogs.
- We know every dog is different and want our staff members to relate to each of them individually. For this reason, we keep our staff-to-dog ratio very low, allowing each pet care specialist to get to know each puppy and create a plan just for them.
- Your puppy can get bored or lonely as quickly as you can, but unlike you, they can’t occupy themselves by scrolling through social media or finding something to watch on Netflix. When you leave your puppy alone during the day, they may fill their time with undesirable behaviors, like chewing. Or, maybe they bark all the time. On top of that, you can’t provide behavior reinforcement when you aren’t home, so this situation could set back your training efforts. Enrolling your pup in daycare prevents boredom and puts your dog in an environment where our experts can continue their training homework and exercises.
The AKC STAR Puppy Program
This American Kennel Club (AKC) training program is aimed at puppies and owners who have already had basic training. These puppy training classes teach you how to be a responsible dog owner. For your pet, the focus is on avoiding aggression and helping the dog get used to a collar or harness of your choice. You’ll work on common training issues, correcting behavioral problems, and encouraging an appropriate level of exercise and activity. After six weeks of training classes at our Mechanicsburg location, you and your dog will receive a frameable certificate, a copy of the AKC Puppy Handbook, and a subscription to the AKC monthly newsletter.
What Can I Do to Help My Dog with Puppy Training School?
Spend as much time as possible working with your dog. The biggest stumbling block for dogs and humans in training classes is that the human doesn’t do their homework. It’s helpful to think of puppy training as a continuous process: the more you reinforce boundaries and positive behavior, the faster your dog will learn. On the other hand, if you often “forget” to correct problematic behaviors or don’t consistently reward good behaviors, the process may slow down.
Another issue is when the person who attends class with the puppy does work with the dog consistently, but other people in the household don’t. We encourage you to explain to your family why they need to back you up. For example, if the puppy notices some household members don’t care if they chew the couch, it will be much harder to curb this behavior.
How Can You Learn More About Puppy School?
Our contact page is the gateway to better puppy behavior. You can find phone numbers for all five locations, including Greenlin West in Mechanicsburg, or send us a message through our contact form. We’ll get back to you quickly, learn about you and your puppy, and schedule a free training evaluation so we can get to know your pet - and answer all your training questions. Next, we’ll recommend which programs may benefit them the most.