Most people, when they decide to get a dog, imagine long sunny afternoons spent walking or playing fetch with their pets and cozy winter evenings spent with the little one sleeping near the fireplace. While most households eventually get there, there is a bit of work involved. Just like new parents never imagine the diaper changing and the terrible twos and threes, pet owners fail to imagine house breaking, sleepless nights while the puppy cries for the mother as well as obedience training and discipline it shows when they have visitors. So, one of the first things to consider when you choose to get home a puppy is selecting a good dog training class nearby.
Let us consider different types of dog training classes.
Basic types of dog training classes
These classes may be held at your local park or even at specialized training centers. Some breeders and dog handlers also offer such courses. There are different types and levels of obedience training depending on your pet’s age as well as your goals for your dog. Some classes focus only on teaching few commands like come, stay, heel, sit, and down. Advanced courses may be also available to teach dogs to go off lead, retrieve objects, or perform basic tricks. Therapy classes can help your pet become ideal therapy dogs. So choosing these types of specialized dog training or dog obedience training depends on what you want your dog to do.
These are classes for puppies that focus on teaching them how to socialize, playing and having fun with other dogs. Some trainers also incorporate this type of training with obedience training above. These are fun classes for puppies that have a curious, friendly temperament. You drop your puppy off to the socials where he gets to meet, play and have fun with other pups in a supervised setting. Socialization has many benefits: it helps your pet adjust to other dogs (it certainly comes in handy for them as adults) and also helps prevent leash aggression when you walk your pet. Do read my article on ‘How to socialize your dog’. Dog parks are good venues to find such programs near you.
These are actually camps for young dog owners that can help them take better care of their pets. Some camps are held for pets as well as the owners. Young kids can learn to be more responsible and learn what to and what not to feed their pets.
This is one of the rapidly growing dog training methods. Your pet will learn to perform a series of procedures including obstacles, tunnels, see-saw, and weave poles. There are many agility organizations and you can easily find a class near you.
How to choose dog obedience training school
The dog trainers you choose should always offer positive dog training. Before signing up, meet several dog trainers and, if needed, speak to other pet owners. This homework will help you find positive dog training schools and ideal trainers that are right for your pet’s temperament as well as your pet goals. A good training school will help you justify the time and money you spend on your pet’s training. There are many ways to find good puppy classes near you. Reputation and referrals are very important here. Call your vet and s/he might also suggest some to you. Ask owners of dogs you admire whether their pet went to dog training classes. Most pet parents are proud to talk about their fur babies and will gladly share details with you.
Here are some factors to consider when seeking puppy classes:
Types of dog training methods used
There are wide varieties of training methods used around the globe. Educate yourself about these different aspects. Know what training method will best suit your pet. Meet the reps of different training schools nearby. They will give you this information and you could even see a class in action. One approach is to get the dogs to show strong leadership skills. Some classes teach pack behavior while still others even teach aggression for guard dogs and watchdogs. Study the different approaches and go with the one you are most comfortable with.
Place where the training is conducted
You naturally want to seek ‘dog training near you’ so that it is convenient to take your pet. Avoid training in public places which could be hazardous to pets. Private, enclosed training centers are best. Call or visit the center and ask them about the safety measures they take to protect their students. Also ask about the vaccinations puppies should have and at what age you can enroll your puppy.
Always consider the reputation of the puppy class. You can ask about the number of years they have been in training, their portfolio of success achieved and also about the awards, certification or recognition they have received.
Cost can also be an important deciding factor when choosing a dog training class near you. However, not all expensive classes are the best. Also lower priced classes may not cover all aspects of training. It is always a good idea to visit the dog training school and ask plenty of questions about their services. If possible, see a class in session, if they allow it.
Ask to see a class
Some trainers allow you to do that. You might have to leave your pet at home when you do. Observe how the trainer disciplines the dogs. Are the students attentive? Are they having fun? Is the instructor gentle with training? Does the instructor relate to each student? Is the instructor’s dog well behaved too? Ideal puppy training class should set up a daily routine because that is where most pet parents tend to struggle. Note that different dog trainers use different methods of training. Some may use clicker training; still others may use food treats and no clicker. Choose the training style that you feel will best suit your pet’s temperament.
Home training is also a great option but only if you have experience with dog training. Some basic obedience training is very important for your pet’s safety. So decide upon training method and stick to it. Gentle, consistent and positive training can be very rewarding and can help you mold your pet into a loving companion who will give you years of joy to come.