In honor of National Train Your Dog Month, we thought we’d focus this blog on the topic of obedience training. Whether you’re a first-time puppy owner or considering additional training for a dog you’ve had for a while, there are a few key things to consider.
What type of training does my dog need?
Ask yourself what you hope to get out of the training. If you simply want your pup to understand and follow basic commands, then a group training class is probably just fine. Group classes are best for dogs who don’t get overly excited, aggressive, or distracted around other dogs. Group training classes can teach basic commands, general obedience, and manners. If your dog has trouble containing his excitement around new people, in a new setting, or has shown aggression around other dogs in the past, then a one-on-one session may be called for.
When is a good time to start?
While it is common to begin basic training when the dog is a puppy, it isn’t required; nor is it always possible. And an older dog can often benefit from training, as well. True, older dogs may have ingrained habits, but they also have longer attention spans than puppies, making it easier to get and keep their attention during the training process.
Whether you have a puppy in need of basic obedience training or a more mature dog that needs to un-learn a bad habit, there are trainers of all sorts that can help you.
How to find a good trainer
Because there aren’t any regulations or educational requirements for dog trainers, finding a reputable one can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you in your search:
- Ask around – Talk with friends and family, or strike up conversations at the dog park to see what training programs other dog owners have used. If you see a particularly well-behaved dog at the dog park, ask their owner where they were trained.
- Do your research – Start online, and call around to various places. Ask to talk to the trainer personally. Don’t forget to read reviews, online forums, and other resources online that can give you insight into what it’s really like to work with them.
- Ask for references or testimonials – Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, don’t be afraid to ask for references or referrals from the prospective expert. A reputable trainer should have these on hand and ready to go.
- Ask to sit in and observe a class – You’ve scoured the internet, asked around, and done your research. Now it’s time to see the trainer at work. Ask to sit in on a class to observe the way the trainer handles dogs in a group or in a one-on-one setting. Pay special attention to see if the other clients or dogs seem happy. Be wary of a trainer who does not let you sit in on a class.
For more information on finding professional behavioral help for your pet, check out this helpful article.