Studies have shown that attending puppy classes may be important for social exposure with other puppies and people which could have a positive association with the dog’s long-term behaviour. However, the setup of the classes and the training methods used are likely to have an impact on these results.
The priority for me when looking for an appropriate puppy class was that all the puppies have enough space so that the atmosphere is generally calm and relaxed. No barking or puppies pulling on their leads trying to get to each other. It doesn’t matter if the content is great if no one can hear it over the sound of puppies barking, and puppies & owners aren’t learning anything productive because they’re all too stressed. The purpose for me is that my puppy learns that the presence of other dogs and people are less relevant than whatever I am asking her to do. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a dog owner – a well-run puppy class is a really useful environment for all puppy owners, to help the puppy learn to be around the distractions of other puppies and people. For new dog owners, further training classes following on from a puppy course are likely to be hugely beneficial.
If puppy interactions are part of the puppy class, they should be closely monitored by someone appropriately qualified and used as part of the training.
Vital training to teach my puppy include: coming when called; walking on a loose lead; settling on a bed/boundary; waiting for something she wants to do/have; dropping a toy or item from her mouth when asked; and being happy to be handled, examined and have basic husbandry procedures.