I didn't realise it was such a popular name for labs lol.
I went to the one where I knew the vet personally from dog school (I'd been with previous dogs) and from science club.
There were three puppies - I think they allow for up to 4 max or was it 6. Anyway we had three. And the vet and the vet nurse were usually both present as extra obstacles or distractions or help. And given that Frosty refused to work for treats at the time - quite creative in coming up with ideas to get her to learn stuff. There was free play and owners were taught how to recognise OK play and when to break the fights up - and how to break the fights (between puppies) up. The Groodle was one scardey dog - having been quite the bossy bitch in her previous classes. But was given the room to get over that in her own time. The malamute and its teenage owners were quite naughty but there were plenty of towels on hand to clean up spills.
The right puppy school is fantastic. The wrong one a disaster. It would probably be a good idea to mention up front you want to make sure the puppy school is the right fit for you and your puppy so you only want to pay for one session initially. I think I paid for my sessions - all four - up front but I think paying as you go was an option too. I just find paying when I've got a puppy bouncing around - awkward.
I look back on our puppy school and wish we'd gone somewhere different. The puppies weren't really allowed to play with one another (which was the whole reason we went - socialisation and learning to play nice with others) and the teacher loved to assume things and have a go at you. I got so mad at one point I almost left :S
I also think it comes down to your personal knowledge and experience with dogs/puppies on whether you NEED to go, OP.
If you have a fair knowledge of the do's and don'ts with uppies, and are able to consistently have her in an environment where socialisation with other dogs/puppies can occur, well...
Yeah, especially considering how much money we had to pay to go (after all, we took 2 puppies). And I hated the way they dealt with Bella's barking problem (over-excitement/nervousness with other dogs) - by yelling NO at her and yanking her lead (the instructer actually pulled her off her feet - I was shocked).
Not to worry though, we start obedience next week at somewhere different and I like the sound of their methods. I asked the owner of the school how Bella would be dealt with and it's by removing her if she goes nuts barking, then bringing her back once she's settled. Told her what they made us do at puppy school and she just went "oh. oh no. no, no we would never do that. no" And you have a private lesson first so they can get to know your dogs first. I'm really looking forward to it
Hopefully that will be a much better experience for you Charlie&Bella's mum! All the best.
Have you considered teaching Bella to 'speak'? I have seen a good deal of success using that to control a barking dog.
No I haven't. How does that work? What do you do? She never barks at anything else (unlike those bloody dogs upstairs) (except every now and again when she and Charlie are playing), it's just when she sees other dogs.
Mind you, we went for a huge walk at Yarra Bend Park yesterday and there were lots of other dogs around, both on and off lead and she didn't bark once or pull on the lead. She just looks at them with interest then kept walking on by. Oh my, I was so proud. We heaped on the praise everytime she walked nicely past another dog without a sound.
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