The Puppy Steps Programme grew out of the recognition that puppies and their handlers put such a lot of effort into their training, yet under the previous training structure, they would have had to wait until they passed out from Starter Class before all their efforts would be formally recognised by the club. So The Puppy Steps Programme was born!
The Puppy Steps Certificate continues not to be a progress test and will usually be considered to be awarded:
The Puppy Steps Programme fundamentally helps handlers support their puppies to develop positive life skills. This assists the puppies to be well mannered, confident, chilled out and a pleasure to be around. The emphasis is on how the handler helps the puppy to learn appropriately and consistently rather than on the skills demonstrated by the puppy.
The areas covered in The Puppy Steps Programme include: Be able to get and keep your puppy’s attention, learning good manners, play and the appropriate use of toys, puppy recall, helping the puppy to relax and learn to be calm and improving your puppy’s confidence. Please take a look at the gallery to see The Puppy Steps Programme in action.
From the Trainers’ perspectives the most significant developments, since start of The Puppy Steps Programme, are that the puppies and handlers are a visible and active presence at the centre of the club. In addition, they have been enabled to build friendships and share the challenges and joys of owning a GSD Puppy. It has been great to see puppies and handlers enjoying the fun days and other activities. It has also been great to see so many puppies in both the coffee room and in the club after training sessions relaxing and enjoying light refreshments.
The website also has a The Puppy Steps Programme Gallery of most of the puppies with their handlers being presented with their certificate and rosettes for you all to admire.
I would like to thank Julie, the other Puppy Trainer, for her support with The Puppy Steps Programme. Also I want to thanks to Sharon who steps in (usually at very short notice) to help out with the puppy class when needed. We all enjoy the challenge of working with this rewarding group and thanks also go to all puppies and handlers who offer us the opportunities to learn more about GSDs and puppies in particular. We look forward to another successful year of The Puppy Steps Programme.
Sue (puppy trainer).