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Welcome to the Puppy School Instructor’s Course

Aims of the Course

The program aims to teach participants all the skills necessary to design, implement and instruct well structured, safe and educational puppy classes. Participants will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to understand the developmental stages of puppies and to promptly recognise signs of stress, aggression or fear when puppies are in a group, to thereby have the ability and confidence to address, modify or rectify accordingly.

Suitability for the Course

This course is suitable for all professionals and/or dog handlers and enthusiasts, as well as anyone wanting to learn how to correctly develop, implement and instruct puppy classes either in their line of work, or for their own interests.

Course and Certificate: AUD$220
Course Duration: 4-6 Hours

Brief overview of the lessons in the course

Introduction: The benefits of puppy classes
  • Learn how puppy classes came about
  • The benefits of puppy classes for both puppies and owners
  • The 4 main elements of a puppy course and what a puppy school instructor must know
Lesson 1: Puppy development & canine communication

Covering each of the 4 main Puppy Development Periods and why they are important for all puppy trainers to know and understand. The Critical Socialisation Period. Understanding the scientific relevance and importance behind the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life and why proper and appropriate socialisation is crucial before this time. Information on fear impact periods during puppy’s development It will also cover the difference between socialisation, habituation and neutralisation processes.

The unit also covers interpreting Body Language and canine communication and provides an understanding of the dog’s body language and communication systems which is essential for all puppy trainers to know, especially during off lead play.

Lesson 2: Instinctual and genetic behaviours

This topic discusses the Nature vs Nurture subject in more detail so that puppy trainers will:

  • Understand which behaviours are instinctual.
  • Genetic or learned via environmental triggers.
  • What is predatory drive and do all dogs have this?
  • When does play turn into prey?
  • Recognising the shift in drive in puppies.
Lesson 3: Canine Interactions

This lesson follows on from Canine communication and provides you with:

  • A set of videos to watch consisting of various canine interactions
  • What is healthy and acceptable play versus risky and inappropriate interactions in dogs and puppies.
Lesson 4: Common puppy problem behaviours

This topic will cover some of the most common puppy problem behaviours presented by owners. Provides the trainers with information on how most behaviours come about and the various proven and humane solutions that can be suggested to owners to either help manage, control or stop the behaviours.

This lesson will cover common puppy problem behaviours such as:

  • Mouthing/biting
  • Touch desensitisation
  • Housetraining
  • The ‘naughty’ puppy
  • Housetraining
Lesson 5: Coordinate socialisation, exposure and experience activities

This will be a broad topic which will cover the following:

  • Understanding the different playing styles between different breeds and how these can either clash or compliment the class playtime session.
  • Understanding and control of the different breeds of puppies and their instinctive tendencies in a class environment
  • Environmental Enrichment– not just off lead play sessions. Use of ball pools, tunnels, surfaces and obstacles in and around the puppy school room
  • Appropriate play between puppies, how many puppies should be allowed to play together and what TYPE of puppies (coupling or grouping) should be allowed to play together…temperament vs size
  • Broad spectrum socialisation, exposure and experience activities– Learn and apply the different approaches and applications for the purpose of correct and safe exposure
  • Introducing the Puppy Socialisation Trackers– an important piece of paper which allows owners to track their puppy’s socialisation progress and activities.


Problem Puppies – Aggression and Fear – what to do and how to handle?

This topic covers how to handle problem puppies in your class.

  • The aggressive or fearful puppy. Covers what to do if the you have either an aggressive or shy/fearful puppy in their class.
  • What is rough play and when play can go wrong. Understand the warning signs of when innocent play turns into predatory behaviour
  • How to handle aggression, shy and very fearful puppies in your class and understand the best courses of action for these puppies to help improve their situations.
Lesson 6: Puppy Health

This lesson covers all aspects of vaccinations, parasites and fleas.  The various topics covered are:

  • Vaccines: what are they covering?Also provides an understanding of the diseases they cover and how they are contracted?
  • Parasites: Internal and External (to include heartworm and ticks) – what are they, what do they do and how they are contracted
  • Fleas: The flea cycle, stages of infestations, precautions and management
  • Other common puppy and dog ailments


Lesson 7: Class Instruction and Curriculum Design
Class Instruction
  • The Instructor – what makes a great instructor?
  • Elements of class instruction
  • The application and demonstration
  • Preparation and planning the class – a great class doesn’t just happen, it’s planned!
  • The balance between active and static exercises as well as time allotted for demonstration/information
  • WH&S
Create the course curriculum
  • Create an entire 5 week course that flows from week to week and includes both teaching of basic obedience skills, real life exercises and integrating products/services to be sold
  • Working with limited space – strategically placing people and puppies
  • Workplace health and safety considerations