Choosing the right obedience training or puppy training classes is a very important decision to make in your dog's life. Countless factors can come into play: location, price, type of trainer, and class size should all be factored in when you are making your decision. Obedience training can be a good idea at any age for dogs but of course the younger you start them the better.
Puppies begin learning behaviors the minute you bring them home, so it’s important to set a routine with them as soon as possible and begin training techniques. Puppies can learn basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘stay’ as young as 7-8 weeks of age. Finding a training course for them as soon as possible is recommended for novice dog parents.
Socializing your dogs with obedience training courses helps them become comfortable with different people and different dogs. It can create a well-adjusted dog that you feel confident taking with you in public.
But how do you know what training course to choose?
How To Find The Right Puppy Course
Find The Right Trainer
You need to find a trainer that doesn’t rely on a specific style of training. Rather, they must have a bag full of tricks for every individual dog. Double-check their certifications and experience, and always check reviews for any red flags. While they don’t need to be certified to be a good trainer, double-check that this is their passion and they’ve put a lot of effort into understanding dogs and their behavior.
Select a trainer who uses humane, positive reinforcement training methods and nothing that involves hurting or disciplining the dog. If a trainer relies on squirt bottles, shaker cans, yelling, or physical corrections to control the environment or teach basic training cues, run away! These lessons should be fun for both you and your dog.
Talk to your friends that are pet parents with well-trained dogs to see who they recommend. Veterinarians, groomers, and other pet professionals usually have great puppy training course recommendations for you as well. Never forget to do your online research and check all the online reviews.
Preview A Class
Before you sign-up, ask if you can watch or preview a class first. This can help you determine whether the course or the trainer will be the right fit for you and your dog. You can ask questions, and decide if the class will meet your expectations and training goals. Being able to review a course also helps people determine whether the cost is worth it or not.
When observing a class, watch to see if the class is calm and controlled. The class should only allow a maximum number of dogs to ensure everyone is getting attention and the environment stays controlled. The trainer should be good at controlling the energy of the room and commanding the environment.
Is The Facility Clean?
Take a quick walk through the facility you are thinking about using for puppy training. Are the training rooms cleaned frequently? And how are puppy ‘accidents’ handled during the course? This is important to ensure your dog is not exposed to any germs (or worms) that can be passed from animal to animal or feces to animal.
Do They Require Vaccinations?
It is a really good sign if the training course requires all vaccinations to be up-to-date before the dog can participate. Having a room of fully immunized, healthy puppies is important because their immune systems are still developing. Puppies are a lot more susceptible to viruses and infections than adult dogs are. Pet insurance that covers wellness is the perfect options for puppies as it covers vaccinations as well as emergency care.
What To Do Before Class?
There are a couple of things you can do before puppy class to help it’s effectiveness.
- Reduce treats offered: For a week or so before class try to slowly reduce the number of treats you’re offering the puppy. This can increase their drive for food while participating in class and can help them from getting distracted.
- Walk before class: Getting your puppy to partake in some light exercise before class can help them take the edge off. Don’t tire them out, but this just helps eliminate them acting too hyper.
- Potty break! Make sure your puppy has gone to the washroom before class. This helps them pay attention and also avoids a messy accident.
Don’t forget your puppy’s vaccination records and make sure to bring some treats. Using a pouch or fanny pack to hold treats during class works amazingly. Pet insurance that covers wellness includes 4 vaccinations per year.
What To Do After Class?
- Another potty break! They might have had a lot of treats and a lot of water during class.
- Let them rest: After class, they might be physically and socially exhausted from trying different training techniques and meeting a bunch of new dogs. Letting them chill out after class also helps them absorb all the different things they’ve learned.
Continue With Learned Techniques
It takes time, perseverance, and repetition to train our dogs. By one year your dog should be making progress in learning behaviors they will continue with for the rest of their lives. If you are training an older dog, it might not be as easy. You are usually working against years of learned behaviors and even neglect and abuse in some cases.
The good news is, through positive reinforcement training you can make progress with any dog at any age. Every dog is different, so keep that in mind. Some are fast learners, others are a bit slower. Stay consistent and have fun!
Getting your dog insurance is a smart move before heading to puppy training classes. You never know the type of dogs you might meet or the germs that could be floating around. Pet insurance that covers wellness can offer you peace of mind that if your dog gets accidentally hurt, or sick, they are covered! A pet wellness plan will definitely come in handy as the puppy’s vaccinations come due.