What To Look For In A Good Trainer
Puppy training classes are a fantastic way to understand the basics of good dog obedience. Learn that finding a dog trainer who is certified is vital, that they should be knowledgeable and experienced, able to command the attention of their charges without using coercion and fear.
Before you start thinking about puppy training classes, remember that anyone can set themselves up as a trainer or start a business offering obedience training. All it takes is some printed business cards, a few classified adverts and perhaps a rented space or website.
There is no formal requirement that the trainer has any relevant qualifications or experience in training dogs at all !
Referrals are the best place to start when looking for suitable puppy obedience classes, your local veterinarian, pet shop or grooming parlour will normally have a list of contacts that they recommend. Have you admired your neighbour's well behaved pooch? Why not ask them who their trainer was.
When To Start ? Can you Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?
There is no such thing as too young to learn and for many puppies the earlier the better, there are now puppy kindergartens; Funny and fun for you and your pup, it's amazing how quickly they learn even with a puppy as young as 2-
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Absolutely! It may take an older dog longer to learn something than say a puppy, but if the dog is motivated he will soon catch on, remember, dogs will repeat a response that brings them a reward.
Well run training classes should be fun and help you to learn, correct mistakes and keep you motivated. Deciding on the right training course or regime should therefore be paramount.
When trying to find a dog trainer, personally I would avoid classes or instructors that use a certain degree of coercion or physical punishment, that encourage choke chains or prong collars and don't advocate the use of titbits or toys for rewarding correct behavior.
To find a dog trainer that you feel comfortable with, try going along to local training classes and observe the methods in practice. You will want someone with experience who can handle any situation as it arises, however don’t allow their experience to count for as much if they are using old training methods and haven’t learned newer techniques.
Watch adult classes as well as puppy classes and avoid those which use harsh methods or don't employ a training programme based on positive reinforcement, also avoid classes that seem uncontrolled and chaotic.
A good way to find a dog trainer that you are happy with is to ask some of the following questions based on how you have seen them take a class:
The answers to these questions should all be yes. Ideally your trainer should be knowledgeable about your breed of dog and be familiar with their personalities and temperaments, if they profess not to like your breed then go elsewhere.
A good instructor should belong to a professional training organisation. The Association Of Pet Dog Trainers or the National Association Of Dog Obedience Instructors Incorporated are two of the largest bodies, they publish regular newsletters to share information, techniques and new developments with their members.
A certified trainer who belongs to one of these groups is more likely to be up to date on training techniques and styles, as well as information regarding specific breed types .
Choosing The Right Classes For You
Joining a group is best if you have the time to fit into the group schedule and also practice on your own, that you can make all the classes in a 2-
Being with a group and learning together can be a great experience both for you and your dog, with a puppy, I would suggest group classes are vital. For puppies in particular attending group classes are a fantastic way for them to learn social skills around other people and dogs in a non threatening controlled environment. Your puppy will learn obedience skills as well as how to ignore distractions to focus on their owner.
Puppy training classes in a group are also a great way to chat with other owners, you will soon realize that the problems you are facing are no more than a variation on a short list of themes. A group should be no more than 10, closer to 5 is even better.
Private lessons are good if you can afford it or your schedule doesn’t permit a weekly class time or if you want lots of personal attention.
Private lessons are also handy if you have acquired an adult dog from a rescue shelter, where it can be a useful way to diagnose and overcome any underlying behavioural problems perhaps as a pre cursor to joining larger group classes
Dog behavioral problems such as aggression or barking are often best resolved with the one to one help of a certified dog trainer in a focused manner and without distraction .