The Effects of Large Class Size Vs. Small Class Size

The Effects of Large Class Size Vs. Small Class Size thumbnail
The Effects of Large Class Size Vs. Small Class Size

Dogs learn at different speeds, according to Laura Fisher, a dog trainer who holds a bachelor's degree in animal science. "In a smaller class it's easier to observe these individual rates and focus on individual dog's needs," she said. So it may seem natural for small classes to benefit dogs more than large classes. However, Fisher said whether small or large classes are more beneficial depends on the dog.

  1. Paying For Large Classes is Cheaper

    • Paying for larger classes may be less expensive. This is mainly a benefit for the dog owner. Some dog experts, however, say price should never be a factor when choosing a dog training class. "It's not a matter of money. It's a matter of getting along with a trainer and finding one to work for you. I think money should be the last thing you think about when you're choosing a trainer," said Fisher.

    Large Classes Offer Better Socialization

    • "Early socialization is (more) important in dogs," Fisher said. Like young humans who learn from watching other humans, dogs learn from watching other dogs. So, interaction helps dogs learn to behave. Fisher said dogs start sitting when they watch other dogs sit. Dogs are, by nature, pack animals, so large classes allow your puppy ample exposure to as many other puppies as possible. "Meeting a dog a day is optimum for young dogs. It's good for puppies in puppy classes to interact with multiple dogs. You want your dog to interact with different breeds and sizes. One cause for the difference is that humans are usually born by themselves and puppies with more puppies," Fisher said. The best large puppy classes often have 20 to 25 puppies in them. Seeing their masters interact favorably with many other dogs and people will help your puppy become more relaxed around other people and animals. Realize puppies that never interact with multiple puppies never learn to interact with a wide variety of other dogs.

    Smaller Classes Offer Better Focus

    • Keeping classes down allows instructors to spend more time with individual dogs and owners. In a larger class Fisher said it is harder for the trainer to remember which dog does which behavior, and how fast they each learn. " I would personally prefer for my dog to be in smaller classes. My dogs are already well socialized so I don't need that (socialization) as much as I need the trainer to develop a relationship with my dog," Fisher said. Not only are trainers able to focus better with smaller classes, but dogs are, too. "Dogs will naturally want to play and socialize. In a smaller class, they are more able to focus on the task at hand because fewer dogs demand their attention. In smaller classes, dogs don't have as many personalities to deal with," Fisher said.

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