When you think you've researched everything about training, you may find attending a dog obedience school to be unnecessary. While it's true that you can train your dog quickly from home, obedience classes focus on more than basic training.
It's about building trust, respect, and a lasting companionship.
Dogs are problem solvers, and they learn by trial and error. They want to do nothing but please us, but getting started is often the hardest part. Obedience schools teach a variety of essential techniques that can make the training process easier on you and your dog.
Schools can also help to avoid any miscommunication and mixed signals you might have along the way.
Whether you have a puppy or an older dog in need of proper manners, obedience training can help.
Why Your Canine Friend Might Need a Dog Obedience School
All dogs need some level of obedience training, but some dogs can become a handful for one person. That's especially true if you have an unruly, disobedient, or easily excitable dog.
Many owners may try traditional training without the intended success. Usually, these methods are not properly given, which could end up confusing your dog more.
One of the most common training errors involves accidentally reinforcing the poor behaviors that you don't want.
Taking the time to attend obedience lessons will avoid these mistakes and make training more enjoyable. Frequent and regularly scheduled training sessions can provide an appropriate outlet for your dog. The classes can go a long way to prevent and correct the most unruly behaviors.
Even if your dog is already obedient, jumping into a new group class can teach you both something new. It can spice up your lives and give you something exciting to share and do.
But there are still many other reasons you should take your dog or puppy to an obedience class.
The Benefits of Professional Training
Both you and your canine friend can significantly benefit from attending a dog obedience school.
Learning good manners is essential to maintaining a healthy and functional relationship between you, your family, and your dog. Dogs with no training and obnoxious behaviors are typically looked down upon by everyone, and so are their owners.
Training can prevent your dog from developing annoying habits, such as jumping or inappropriate barking or chewing. Your dog will not only learn to behave in a pleasing manner with you but towards other people as well.
But this isn't only limited to how your dog reacts to other people. Knowing how to act around other dogs and animals is also just as important.
More importantly, teaching your dog to recognize and pay attention when called can help keep them safe. A dog that comes when he's called, in the face of dangerous situations, has a better chance of avoiding injury.
And your dog isn't alone during their training course because you are working alongside them. One of the most incredible benefits about dog obedience school is how much you’ll strengthen your bond.
You'll learn to work as a team, which will bring you closer together. Many owners have even found that their dogs become more affectionate once they begin obedience training.
Not only that, but attending obedience classes is a great way to meet other dog parents and make new friends.
How to Prepare Your Dog for School
Individual schools may require a previous private session before you attend. The reason for this is to meet and evaluate what you and your dog need to work on and where you should focus most.
It's the time to discuss any behaviors you observe at home. Also, this is an excellent way for you to get to know your trainer without having to deal with all the distractions in class.
Your trainer will usually give you a list of items that they want you to bring, including a collar, a leash, and maybe your dog's favorite toy. Toys and treats are good to use as an additional motivator when your dog doesn't want to listen.
But the most important thing to do before you even consider dog obedience school, is your dog's health.
No matter what school you attend, they will all require your dog to be healthy and free of any parasites or other contagious diseases. You'll need to take a trip to your veterinarian for a full physical exam and the proper vaccinations.
You may also need to submit your dog's vaccine or health records to the school before your first class. Once your dog or puppy has on all the required vaccinations, it's time to choose the right school.
What to Expect in Dog Obedience School
When searching for a dog obedience school, it's good to check all your options. Ask questions about the methods performed by the facility and see if you can observe a class.
Don't feel guilty for being selective. You're interviewing them for a job, and your dog’s behavioral health is at stake. The best obedience schools will provide valuable feedback about how they will help you improve your training skills.
The cost can vary, so check for pricing and the curriculum to make sure it matches your budget and meets your schedule. You don't want to miss any classes once you begin.
Additionally, make sure you choose the right class to fit the experience level or age group of your dog.
Schools offer puppy classes to learn social skills that prepare them for future training. These classes help your puppy get used to working around distractions like dogs and other people.
At this early stage, they will learn socialization, development of appropriate interaction skills, and behavior problem prevention. Puppies are more easily influenced and will usually pick up on these and other things, like wearing a collar, faster.
Most facilities allow puppies in socialization classes when they’re only four weeks old. However, the age requirements of different schools can vary.
It's up to you whether you’ll continue training after the socialization process is over. But It's best to start dog obedience school as early as possible. The younger they are, the less likely it is they've already formed bad habits, making puppies easy students to train.
Most begin puppy kindergarten when their puppy is around 6 to 12 months old. Some schools allow you to start earlier, but it's advised to give your pup a short break after socialization classes.
Keep in mind that puppies are like children, and like all kids, they're easily distracted and sometimes uncoordinated.
Taking your puppy to a dog obedience school will help them focus and learn the necessary skills that every dog needs to know.
Training for senior dogs
Contrary to the famous saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks.," dogs are never too old to learn. Older dogs are fully capable of learning new commands and skills. However, It's best to check with your veterinarian about what your dog can handle before you begin training.
Older and unruly dogs can benefit from dog obedience school classes just as much as puppies. But keep in mind that they are accustomed to their ways and already have a set opinion about the world.
In some cases, an older dog will pay attention and listen to you better than an easily distracted puppy. However, if your dog still thinks he is a puppy from his lack of training, you may run into issues.
But that's what dog obedience school is for!
Enrolling in a Group or Private Class
The socialization that a group class offers is important for your dog, especially if you don’t go out often. It gives them a chance to work around other dogs and helps them learn how to work in a busy environment. And that teaches them to focus on you more.
It will help enforce the use of polite and proper manners no matter where you are. However, not all dogs do well in group sessions and may benefit better from private training instead.
If your dog has severe behavioral problems, including aggression, anxiety, or extreme fearfulness, private lessons are best. You don't want your dog disrupting the entire class or becoming the school bully!
And just as you would keep a sick child home from school, the same goes for your dog. Dogs that have illnesses or parasites are not permitted in group training for fear of it spreading to others. They won't be able to attend a group class until they receive a clean bill of health from their veterinarian.
Even if your dog isn't ready for group training, they can still benefit a lot from a private session. Private lessons will allow your behavioral professional to structure the training around your dog's unique needs.
They can help you identify what is causing this unwanted negative behavior and assist you in correcting it.
How Long Does Dog Obedience School Take
Training classes tend to run for 6 to 10 weeks, meeting once or twice per week. That provides a reasonable amount of time to work on basic manners and training.
Practice makes perfect. So, it's essential to reinforce what your dog learns at home. Without consistency, your dog may struggle, and you could fall behind.
Short practice sessions will help you and your dog advance and stay on top. Additionally, we recommend following this fantastic method taught by Doggy Dan, which can help you in and out of the classroom.
Get the Best out of Your Relationship with Your Dog
Canine school can be fun and rewarding at the same time!
Whether it’s a group class at a local pet store or private lessons, you'll learn a lot from obedience school. Learning new techniques and teaching new behaviors will build and strengthen the bond between you and your dog. It's one of the most rewarding experiences.
You and your dog will always look forward to going out and working together. And even when you think you've learned it all, there is always something new. There's never an end to learning when it comes to dog training. It can be an endless cycle of fun and adventure for both of you.
Have you taken your canine friend to obedience school? We'd love to hear about all the experiences you've shared, so let us know in the comments section below!
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