Dog trainers know a dog’s life is enriched when training has been a part of his or her upbringing. Many pet parents, however, aren’t certain where to begin when it comes to dog training. So, The Association of Professional Dog Trainers introduced January as National Train Your Dog Month to promote and provide information on all things related to dog training.
Training your dog helps you better understand the behaviors he is exhibiting. No dog wants to be bad but, if he’s exhibiting bad behaviors, there could be several factors—ranging from boredom and loneliness to anxiety and stress. If you can get to the root cause these behaviors working with a trainer, you and your dog will be happier.
Why Is Dog Training Important?
Raising a puppy to be a “good citizen” starts from the day you bring him home. It’s not enough to house train your puppy, you need to train him to:
- Walk on a leash
- Not destroy the house when you’re at work
- Come when called
- Not bark incessantly while you’re away
- Take food gently from your fingers
- Be friendly and gentle with family members and strangers
According to SitStay’s Good Dog Blog, training can benefit your pet by making life easier (for all parties), creating a lasting bond, teaching basic manners, and reducing or eliminating the need to rehome your pet due to unwanted behavior.
How Can You Find a Good Dog Trainer?
Look for a dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement training. This training doesn’t involve fear, pain or intimidation. Victoria Stilwell, positive dog training expert, extols the “four pillars of positive training” that include:
1. Praise, treats and other rewards
2. Avoiding physical punishment
3. Working with a trainer who understands the canine experience
4. Understanding misconceptions surrounding dominance training
Just as you wouldn’t trust your toddler with a babysitter you hadn’t vetted, neither would you take your beloved dog to a trainer you didn’t research. From certifications to references, here are some additional things to consider when evaluating a dog trainer.
Here are a few things to ask potential dog trainers:
- Do you use positive training methods?
- Can you provide references from past and current clients?
- What are your training credentials and certifications?
- How many dogs have you trained?
- How do you “correct” bad behavior?
- How many dogs are in your training classes?
Tip: Prior to working with a dog trainer, you should know what behaviors you’re seeking to improve upon (skills) or eliminate (ex. barking, socializing with other dogs, etc.).
What Type of Dog Training are You Seeking?
The type of training session you sign your dog up for will depend on his age and what expectation you have for dog training.
Here are some types of dog training classes you may discover:
- Basic obedience
- Socialization classes
- Skill certification (ex. therapy dog or Canine Good Citizenship certification)
- Competitive classes (ex. nose work or agility)
What Happens During a Dog Training Session?
The expectations for a dog training session vary depending on the type of. Basic dog obedience classes typically meet weekly and are designed to cover basic training and training-related topics, curb undesirable behaviors like tugging on the leash or jumping on people. Once your dog has mastered basic obedience, you can decide whether to sign him up for classes that can build upon the solid basic obedience foundation.
A training class is a great way to meet other pet lovers, bond with your pet and learn in a fun, interactive way. Whether you started the new year with a new puppy or dog or if you welcome one into your home this summer, plan to make training a part of the family experience. Training your dog is an ideal way to help assure he lives a long, happy life with you and your family.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.
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