Obedience training for dogs
Obedience training teaches your dog basic commands (such as “Sit!” and “Come!”), correct dog behavior, and socialization skills which will help your dog interact well with dogs and people. While dogs of any age can participate in obedience training courses, experts recommend starting when the dog is still a puppy, so that the development of bad habits can be avoided, as those would be harder to break when they mature.
When choosing a course that will teach your dog to become obedient and well-behaved, there are a few things to consider:
References and referrals
It may be easy to find a course offering obedience training for dogs in your area, but not all will offer good results. The best way to start looking for the right training course is to ask for referrals from dog owners, veterinarians, relatives, and other people you know who are in some way connected to dogs. If no one can offer you a referral, check listings in the phone book or online and seek out reviews for yourself.
Check to see that the instructor has credentials from an association that requires them to undergo meticulous training and education. A good instructor will hold a certificate from one of the following associations to demonstrate that they know how to train dogs:
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers
- National Association of Dog Obedience
- International Association of Canine Professionals
- National K-9 Dog Trainers Association
How classes are conducted
Visit classes before you sign up for a course so you get an idea of the techniques which are being taught and to decide whether the approach will work well for you and your dog. You may even want to visit different classes at the same training school as the methods used generally vary with each instructor.
It should be possible to watch a live class or even receive a free class. If neither of these are possible, you are better off choosing a different school, as you do not want to sign up for a course that may disappoint and not fulfill both your needs and your dog’s needs.
Look out for warning signals
Obedience training is not about ordering your dog what to do, but should rather be a fun learning experience where your dog learns interaction skills in an optimal environment. Instructors should never encourage scolding, shouting, or hitting the dog, nor should they encourage the use of painful equipment, tools or techniques.
Dogs often have very good intuitive skills. If you notice that your dog feels uncomfortable with an instructor, or is unwilling to get close to him/her, that is a clear sign that you should take a different class. It is essential that both you and your dog feel absolutely comfortable.
Choosing a dog training course
Once you have considered all of the above and have created a short list of potential candidates, you can make your final decision based on price, location, quality, content, and your personal opinion of the trainer. If you feel unsure, ask for references about the course or look for reviews online. Whenever you have doubts about a class or an institution, rule it out, and consider the references and credentials for individual instructors rather than the institution as a whole. Alternatively, you may want to consider The Online Dog Trainer to help train your puppy or dog.
Obedience training for dogs should not feel like work; the course you choose should provide both you and your pet with an enjoyable experience and good memories.