A search in your local shoppers guide or newspapers will yield dozens of ads for dog obedience schools that will help your new canine family member fit in with the other animals and people in the house. So how do you choose the one that is right for you?
You will find that there are several different approaches for dog training from using punishment techniques to a more positive, rewards based approach.
Most trainers will have chosen their own method to fit themselves and their clients. Positive approaches are becoming more and more common and this is probably what you will run into when looking for obedience schools.
Also, you need to think about your individual dog. What is his life history? Have you had him as a puppy or just recently acquired him as an adult? Also consider your training goals. Do you want him to be more family-friendly, a good hunting or show dog? Beyond basic obedience, consider what you're hoping to get out of training.
Once you have established your training goals and you have your dog's personality in mind, make a list of all the local dog obedience schools information that you can find. Then check out their web pages. You can check with other dog owners to see if they have a good dog trainer. Also contact your local veterinarian or kennel for suggestions.
When reviewing trainer choices, use referrals and references for the best results. Then, attend one of your choice's beginner classes to see his techniques. Positive methods are best. If he's dragging a dog around by the collar, move on! Before asking for training at your home, remember that socialization skills are important for your dog, so it may be best to train elsewhere.
It is a great a idea to sign your puppy up for a play group to ensure it has proper socialization. However, if you have a rescue dog with aggression issues you may need more than just a regular trainer. In this case, you may need a certified animal behaviorist. Be extra cautious with aggressive animals!
If your dog isn't required for his first training session, don't be shocked — it's a good thing! Clicker training (or any positive training) needs a training session for owners so you learn to properly use the tools and to communicate effectively with your dog.
Here's how you can tell if a training class is good:
1. The school, as a whole, will have a positive tone.
2. Training is founded on a reward system: a requested behavior is awarded with a goody, accolade, or anything else the dog appreciates.
3. When a dog is misbehaving, sharp noise is typically enough for the dog to realize he's done wrong. Punishment is kept to a minimum and the actions are usually suppressed.
4. Instead of focusing on an undesired behavior, they are are replaced with a desired behaviors like giving the command “heel” so the dog stops and sits right beside you.
5. Patience is a key element in any training session.
There are other methods to training your dog that you can use in addition to local dog obedience schools. Hollywood canines get their talent by way of “clicker training”, a very effective and efficient means of training dogs. If you want to review other methods, there are plenty of credible websites and training books available also.
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