We've had a bit of a re-do of our puppy training options, and will no longer be offering puppy preschool. Instead, we strongly recommend new puppy owners pursue one of our private lesson programs, and/or our day training services.
Over the last ten years, many trainers in the industry have been noticing an emerging trend alongside the growth of 'puppy preschools' and 'puppy play parties'. That is; adolescent and adult dogs with an extremely high value for other dogs, and a comparatively low value for their human(s). This often presents as mild to extreme over-arousal upon sight of another dog, lack of focus and engagement on their owner with other dogs present, and a complete lack of obedience (namely, poor walking skills and an inconsistent recall).
If we look back on the dogs' training and socialization history, it becomes apparent that there is a common element; a bucket-load of direct interaction with other dogs/puppies, generally starting in puppy classes.
Part of this problem comes from within the industry. We are very slow to adapt to new information, particularly when it conflicts with consistent income streams and well-established 'ways of doing things'. But we know that direct interaction with other canines makes up about 1% of the complete socialization picture; it is MUCH more important for our puppies to learn to IGNORE other dogs through controlled exposure. But still, we have trainer after trainer encouraging owners to let their puppy's meet as many other puppies as possible. This is known as 'old school socialization'.
While I have conducted several successful puppy classes, it is my firm belief that owners and puppies alike benefit much more from private coaching. I'm in the very fortunate position to have several 'neutral' dogs that can assist in controlled exposure (socialization) for puppies, without the stress of having three or four other puppies fighting for attention.
Controlled exposure creates more neutral puppies. A neutral puppy is one which, while they still have a positive value for other dogs (meaning, they're still 'social' and able to interact and play), they have a much higher value for their human and are thus much better equipped to listen when out and about.
SOME puppy classes are run in a very efficient way that builds neutral puppies, but the chaos of class tends to be counter-productive to that end goal (it's like expecting a toddler to sit still and listen to their parents for an hour while they're at disneyland).
The only puppy class in the Northern Rivers that I know is run that way is conducted by Dave and Sophie at North Coast K9 Academy in Alstonville. Classes are run for puppies and young dogs on Wednesday afternoons during school terms and are very affordable.