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A group of four volunteer puppy raisers standing six feet apart from one another on a fenced-in, grassy field; each of their respective puppies are sitting on their left sides wearing their bright yellow Future Guide Dog vests.

Puppy Pointers: Benefits of group training

By Kezia Gray, Puppy Raising Supervisor

When you begin raising a puppy, it’s always a good idea to incorporate group training into your routine. Group training helps reinforce the dog’s good manners in environments where distractions are more prevalent, while also having the benefit of in-person coaching.

When a puppy raising supervisor is present and working with you and your dog to master each of the basic obedience cues, it can be extremely beneficial for your dog’s training. A puppy raising supervisor can provide advice that is targeted specifically for you and your dog and help you stay motivated to achieve your dog's training goals.

Group training also provides a safe environment that challenges the puppy. Generally, these challenges will start at a beginner level and increase in difficulty over time. Group training helps the dogs socialize as they learn how to behave in the presence of other dogs.

Group training often involves playtime, which helps dogs – especially young dogs – learn how to interact with each other appropriately. Not only is this time for the dogs to cut loose and play together, but it also teaches them important communication skills. This helps the dogs understand what non-threatening body language is, and ensures they know how to interact (or not interact) with other dogs.

Puppy raising supervisors use positive reinforcement training instead of dominance-based training or any training style that uses excessive force. Positive reinforcement training is the most humane and effective way to teach dogs how to behave appropriately. This way, both you and your dog can have fun while training and creating a stronger bond.

Group classes are also beneficial when training pet dogs. You're encouraged to find a local instructor that is right for you and your dog. Make sure they are qualified and experienced with dog training.