How to Find a Dog Trainer that's Right for You
Dog obedience training is important for many reasons. Dogs who are trained make better pets: walks become more enjoyable; they have "good manners" in the home and with other people and pets; and it helps to keep them safe. Find a dog trainer that emphasizes humane and positive training methods, one that reinforces appropriate behavior with rewards and praise (rather than punishing "bad" behavior). Friends or family who have first-hand recommendations can also assist you to find a dog trainer that's right for you and who has the ability to work with your dog's unique personality. Here are a few things to consider before you decide on a dog obedience trainer or training class:
- Group setting or private training? Most of
the time, people join an obedience group
or socialization classes, as it gives them the opportunity to observe
how other people handle their dogs, plus gives their
dogs a chance to learn appropriate interaction with
other dogs and people.
Sometimes, however, private training should be considered. One example is a dog that has specific behavior issues that require a lot of individual attention. Gradually, though, the dog should be able to join a training class with other canines and people. Most dog owners find that there dogs will behave and react differently during one-on-one training sessions than they will in a group setting where other dogs and people are present.
- How big are classes? Class sizes should on the small side, as it allows for more individualized attention.
- Are dogs of different ages separated? For instance, puppies tend to have different training and socialization needs than older dogs.
- Does the trainer require proof of up-to-date vaccinations (or titer tests)? This is important since dogs can transmit diseases between one another.
- Can other members of the family attend the class? Everyone should attend, if possible, so that your dog learns to respond to each of you. It also helps to teach everyone how to communicate effectively with the canine member of the family, and strengthens the bond between them.
- Are training classes available for different "levels", ie. puppy socialization, beginners, intermediate, advanced, special needs (dog aggression, reactive dogs, etc).
- Ask if you can observe a class before signing up. Do the dog trainers have a good connection with their "students", and do they use up-beat, positive, and humane training methods? Do the people and pets look like they're having fun? Do the trainers give everyone attention as needed, as well as encouragement?
Participating in a dog training helps to improve communication between you and your pet, and makes your pet a well-mannered member of the household. The key is to find a dog trainer who connects with both you and your dog, and one that focuses on positive reinforcement training. Positive training methods makes for both happy pets and happy people!