Almost every dog will benefit from obedience school or extra training classes. The problem is not all dogs are ready for the classes they are signed up for.
Here is how to determine if your dog is ready to attend an obedience school and how to choose one:
Choosing A Dog Obedience Training School: Selecting the right trainer can often be a frustrating process. Dog training is an unregulated industry, so anyone can print up business cards and market themselves as a dog trainer, behaviorist, or “psychologist,” no experience or education required. We do not allow people to cut hair or apply acrylic nails without a license, and it is sometimes scary that no certification is required to train dogs. It is worth taking the time to find the right trainer. Here are some places to find trainer recommendations:
Parks frequented by dogs: Look for happy, well behaved, confident dogs. Ask these owners if their dogs have received professional training. If so, ask for feedback, and make a note of their recommendation. Follow up on it with a phone call or email! Review the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior’s Guidelines for Choosing a Trainer. Keep them near you as you call around to local trainers, use them as a reference.
Puppy Training Obedience: If you have a puppy, it is advised that you look for a class which emphasizes socialization and prevention of behavior problems. At this stage of development, the need for socialization, development of appropriate interaction skills, and behavior problem prevention (now is the time to prevent such common behavior problems as unwanted barking, jumping, pulling on leash, biting/nipping, and more severe problems like aggression and reactivity which are often directly related to inadequate puppy socialization and inappropriate training) trumps the need for obedience behaviors. Look for heavy emphasis on socialization, appropriate play, and polite greetings, confidence building exercise instead of obedience behaviors for your puppy.
If your dog doesn’t do well with other large groups of dogs or needs some pre training to listen in larger groups then a little private training might be a better option for your pup than obedience school.
Do you have any experience with this that you can share with us an our readers below?