Puppy School during COVID-19

During the pandemic, our PUPPY SCHOOL CLASSES will continue to run in accordance with Government recommendations.

Caroline Springs Vet Hospital has developed guidelines to protect our clients and staff and are registered as a https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-plan with the Victorian Government.  We are a small business, so please help us to continue operating while abiding with the guidelines and Victorian health orders. So, what does this mean for our puppy school classes?

  • Classes will run during the pandemic. If stay-at home orders are in place, classes will be held online from the comfort of your home. At-home, online classes are live and weekly. At all other times, classes will be in-person at the Caroline Springs Vet Hospital.
  • Our online classes will include an additional in-person socialisation class once the health orders ease
  • The current health order is currently scheduled to end: on September 23rd Puppy School classes are At-Home LIVE until then.

REMEMBER – the period up to 14 weeks of age is your puppy’s biggest development period – so you cannot afford to hold off or wait to start Puppy School.

Why Do Puppy School?

We strongly recommend Puppy School for training and socialisation purposes. Our Puppy School Program aims for happy dogs and happy owners and to set you up for a fun, ‘almost’ stress free puppyhood and a successful life together. The main aim of our classes is to teach you, the owner of this new puppy; everything you need to know to successfully raise your pup into a great, well socialised and polite adult dog. What is socialisation? Socialisation is the process of preparing a dog to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities. We aim for a well socialised puppy. It has been shown that a well-socialised dog has a much better quality of life. They can happily go to many places, including coffee shops, off-leash beaches and on holidays. Socialisation is much more than just interaction with other dogs. This means that most socialisation can be achieved at-home with our guidance.


Both At-home LIVE and in-person classes will cover the same training topics. Topic include:

  • Toilet training, biting/mouthing, chewing, jumping
  • Sit for greetings, Look, Drop, Come when called
  • Settle on a mat
  • Socialising with other dogs and people
  • How your dog learns best and the quickest way to train your pup

Did you know, training from home has some added benefits

  • The whole family can be at the training session. This means that everyone will learn how to work and train your puppy in the same way. This will help to reduce confusion for your puppy!
  • Your puppy will be calm. We know calmer pups are able to learn new skills faster
  • No distractions

VIC Health Order Updates & Puppy School:

Update September 1st, 2021: The Victorian Premier extended the stay-at-home order which is now due to end on September 23rd at 11:59pm.

  • This means all classes are At-Home LIVE online until September 23rd.
  • Please read about At-Home LIVE online classes before making an assumption on how they operate. They are the same lessons, live and very beneficial. See At-Home LIVE testimonials below.
  • All At home LIVE classes are offered an additional in-person socialisation time once the health order eases, at no extra cost. This will also give you the opportunity to connect with other puppies for Puppy Playdates (under the outdoor gathering rules).
  • You will receive our great Puppy Book, Training Bag & Graduation Pack.
  • You get 10% off everything at the Clinic for 3 months when joining our Puppy School program.
  • All those currently enrolled in class have been contacted about the new class arrangements.
  • Future classes are filling up quickly, so book early. If you have any questions email kerryn@k9manners.com.au or call the Clinic on 8390 2266.

REMEMBER – the period up to 14 weeks of age is your puppy’s biggest development period – so you cannot afford to hold off or wait to start Puppy School.

AT-HOME LIVE Testimonials

I was very apprehensive about “online puppy school” but was very happy with the result! It was an extra challenge for me as I had never used zoom before but I was able to manage ok. I have two pups so had the experience of two separate classes and all went smoothly. Kerryn was well organised and very accomplished at working with the challenges of puppy ‘remote learning’. Thanks for giving my boys a good start in training. Daryl

It was such a great course and even though most had to be online, it was most enjoyable and I loved learning lots of tips. Thank you, your manner, experience, patience and willingness to share your knowledge was much appreciated. Sandra (& Jasper) 

I got my pup 8 weeks old and he got into training at around 10 weeks old. I tried many puppy schools but unfortunately they were closed due to lockdown. Kerryn was recommended by our vet at Caroline Springs Veterinary Hospital and I gave her a call. She was so lovely at fitting me in a class (due to my work schedule) and making sure I get Cedie started as soon as possible. Puppy school through zoom has actually been really good as you get to have a one on one bond with puppy and really focus on him during training. Kerryn has been really good at training us the owners and providing us very useful information. My puppy has learnt heaps during our puppy school!! And I couldn’t be more proud of him. Again, thank you Kerryn for all your help, especially to me as a first time owner. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Hannie and Cedie

Prior to Class:

  • Health order changes:
    • If restrictions are announced some classes may move to At-Home LIVE (online), or class numbers may be reduced.
    • Your pet will continue to receive the benefits of puppy school from the comfort of your home.
  • Distancing: Social distancing must always be followed. Density limits will apply
  • Class limits: At the time of booking, clients will be advised as to how many people can attend with each pup. The current limits are below and may change:
    • All in-person classes: 1 person per pup.
    • All At-Home LIVE classes: everyone in your household can attend.
  • Surfaces: Chairs, surfaces and the puppy school area are cleaned before and after each class.

During Class:

  • At-Home LIVE classes:
  • People per pup:everyone in your household can attend.
  • Any other rules?have treats ready for your pet and just have fun
  • In-person classes:
    • People per pup: keep a maximum of the people per pup rule as indicated at time of booking.
    • Distancing: Keep to the distancing rule – either 4sqm or 2sqm depending on the latest advice.
    • Chairs: Stay in your seat when in class, unless asked by the instructor to work with your pup away from your chairs.
    • Illness: You must not attend the class if you are unwell, waiting COVID test results or have been told to isolate. If safe to do so, another family member/friend who you’ve had no contact with can attend with your puppy, or a make-up session might be an option when you are well again (pending availability). Let us know as soon as you can and prior to class.
    • Fitted masks: must be worn at all times within the clinic and in classes. Masks must cover your nose and mouth at all times.
    • QR code: you are required to sign in prior to entering the vet clinic.
    • Treats: Training treats are to be brought to each class

How do At-Home LIVE and in-person classes work? – not a whole lot differently!

  • 90% of training occurs at home between classes. This is the case for both in-person and At-home LIVE classes
  • We teach you, so you can teach you pup – in the hour-long session each week. You will also get to show us your progress by performing the homework we set.
  • You’ll receive a weekly, comprehensive email with handouts, re caps, clips to watch and more.
  • For our At-home LIVE classes: Controlled puppy-to-puppy or dog-to-dog socialisation is an important element in our program and we want you and the pups to experience this so we will teach you how to do this in the real world and also offer you an in-person socialisation session when the health order lifts or when you are able to do so, at no extra cost.
  • We will encourage you (within the current covid guidelines) to go for outdoor exercise. Allowing you to practice the skills learnt further.

What are the benefits of At-Home LIVE?

Apart from keeping us all safe and working towards ending stay-at-home orders, At-Home LIVE online classes:

  • Allow dogs to train in their own environment without class distractions. This is a huge benefit in the first weeks of training as pups/dogs can gradually find their confidence. Then they can move onto training with everyday distractions.
  • Puppies need to start classes between 8–14 weeks. However, we understand some may not have been aware that we are open and so if they are attending At-Home LIVE classes we can often extend this period and have older puppies start. Please contact our trainer (kerryn@k9manners.com.au) if your puppy is older then 14 weeks. Why is this the case? Training in an at-home setting allows us to assist older puppies without having them mingling with the younger pups.
  • We also get to see how you work together without class distractions, which helps trainers assess your individual situation and tailor your puppies learning to their individual needs.
  • The whole family/household can attend At-Home LIVE. Whereas in-person class limits are currently 1 people per pup which is not ideal.
  • You receive bonus training/in-person socialisation when health orders ease at no extra cost. That means your package extends past 5 classes to include in-person socialisation and extra phone/email/online assistance at no extra cost.

Online Platform:

  • We use a secure platform over Zoom. You do not need to sign-up to Zoom to use our service and we send full instructions on how to login once you’re booked in.
  • Additionally, our Trainer is available prior to class to perform any test runs if needed or help you with technical questions.

Should I delay training my puppy or dog?

The short answer is No!

Puppies (8–14 weeks)

Pups need to start training as early as possible. By 14 weeks of age, there is a shift in the way puppies learn and build confidence. At-Home LIVE classes can extend this period to 18 weeks as the pups are not in a class setting and can build their confidence from home. Training early assists with their growth, alleviates detrimental and long term behavioural problems as well as enhance the relationship between humans and pups. This is why we continue to provide puppy school during this important life stage. At-Home LIVE classes can extend this period to 18 weeks as the pups are not in a class setting and can build their confidence from home. One of the most important parts of this early development phase is “Socialisation” and understanding what this is, and how to do it can make the biggest different to your puppies temperament for life. Read more here: Why is it important to socialise puppies and dogs?

Why is it important to socialise puppies and dogs?

We hear a lot about ‘dog socialisation’. But, why is it so important to socialise puppies and dog? A well-socialised dog has a much better quality of life as they can go to many places, including coffee shops, off-leash beaches and on holidays. Allowing them to have a fun and fulfilling time with their humans. Socialisation is more than just interaction with other dogs, it is the interaction with new environments, people, equipment, sounds and life experiences. Dogs who are accustomed to a wide variety of people, dogs and environments will also recover quickly if something scares them. They can deal more easily with new situations and stimuli. Depending on the age of the dog, there can be different reasons to socialise your pup.


Puppies have what we call a ‘finite socialisation period’. This means that things they have not seen by the time they are about 16 to 18 weeks old they might find scary. That is why we need to enrol them into a good puppy school ASAP. Once they are older than 14 weeks they can find it more challenging to socialise successfully and play off-leash with the other puppies in class.

Start at the beginning (not at the dog park)

Dog parks and off-leash areas are not the best places to start to socialise your pup (or new adult dog). These are challenging environments, even for socialised dogs, and require all interaction between dogs to be carefully supervised. Initially, your dog should be introduced to other dogs at a good puppy school or to other known, friendly dogs where interactions are well-managed and the dogs are set up for success. You should also continue to socialise your dog at a good teenage dog class.

What is socialisation and why do puppies and dogs need it?

Socialisation is not what you may think it is. Many believe dog socialisation is just puppies or dogs forming social interaction with other puppies and dogs. This could be a bunch of puppies, off lead running around the room. And so, humans push for all classes to be in-person. However, this is only one small part of good puppy and dog socialisation. Socialisation actually means the process of gradually exposing a puppy to a new situation so that they start to form positive associations with that new environment. This could be a hairdryer noise, the car, parks, the coffee shop, bikes, skateboards, home appliances, umbrellas, new people and also other puppies and dogs. Therefore, nearly all socialisation is done by you and the family –  at and around your home – with our guidance. For this reason, it is so important that you get started now – do something, not nothing. While the stay-at-home orders are in place, At-home LIVE classes are here for you and your puppy! To get your puppy enrolled in puppy school or for more information, please contact us on 8390 2266 or email our puppy training, Kerryn directly at kerryn@k9manners.com.au

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