Consider all dog training options

Doing any kind of obedience training with your dog is so much better than doing no training at all. The dogs that you know in your neighborhood, and even the dogs owned by your friends, are usually not well trained. For this reason you will surely want to train your dog better.

There are four basic options for training your dog:

  1. Enrolling in a class
  2. Sending the dog away to be trained
  3. Training on your own
  4. Working individually with a trainer

Option one is to for you take a class with your dog. Your local vet might suggest a responsible dog trainer nearby. I usually take my puppy to obedience classes which are regularly attended by about ten other people and their dogs. I find that it can be great fun and my dog enjoys it too. A typical class will run for about seven weeks and there will be regular classes throughout the year. Within this particular setting, the instructor will work with the dogs and the members of the group on commands such as sit and stay, and will also practise walking on a lose lead. This setting is a good way for dogs to get used to listening to their owners when there are a lot of distractions. Trainers usually offer four or five levels of instruction, beginning with puppy training and going on through preparation for the show ring.

For a second option, you can take your dog to a training facility either during the day (like day camp) or for a few weeks or months at a time. Someone else will then begin training your dog. I never recommend this option but someone who is often traveling or too busy or simply unwilling to learn to train a dog might see no other away. The reasons I think this is a terrible idea is because a dog learns to respect and respond to whoever trains them because the dog will accept that person as a leader. For this reason, I will always train my own dogs. Some people expect their dogs to come back from places like these totally trained, and that just isn’t possible. Training a dog takes years of commitment and never ends.

 

A third choice is training your dog on your own. The most difficult part of this is remaining focused enough to practice each day. If you have trained a dog in the past and have the experience, then doing the training yourself might be best. You will be able to work on training when you decide and use your own techniques. You won’t have to pay a trainer, either. With all the books out there on training dogs, you can find new ideas if you have problems.

The fourth option is to work individually with a dog trainer. This is good if you need work on certain issues or if you have never trained or owned a dog before. Most likely this will cost more, but it is worthwhile. If there is a group, a trainer will be speaking in more general terms and will not be able to focus specifically on you and your dog. If you meet individually with a trainer, you can ask all the questions you want and he or she can get to know your dog and make better suggestions.

Each person and dog is different, so you should use the best method for whatever dog you own. Each trainer will have different ideas. Some will not allow training collars, like choke or prong collars, while others require them. I am hesitant of a trainer who believes every dog should wear the same kind of collar. A powerful Doberman that is aggressive to other animals will not get by with the same collar as a miniature poodle wearing a nylon cat collar. The owner and trainer should use good judgment to decide what tools are best for each dog and to use those tools properly. Many trainers are now using clickers and positive reinforcement only. With a clicker, a dog hears a click the instant she does something right, eventually associating the click with the correct behavior. Other trainers simply use lots of treats and verbal praise and are just as successful.

Above all, you should pick the suitable training methods for your lifestyle and your dog while being open to new ideas.