Is your dog is stealing food, disobeying commands, or acting out in other ways? If so there’s a good chance they may require some obedience training to break bad habits. Dog obedience classes will provide you and your dog with the tools that your dog needs to behave appropriately.
There are several different options available for you and your dog when it comes to training. Depending on your needs and budget, you may choose to attempt to train your dog at home. Or, teach them with the help of an obedience school or trainer. Or send them to dog obedience classes. Today, we’ll take a closer look at what obedience training entails as well as some tips that will help you choose the best course of action for you and your pup.
What Are Dog Obedience Classes?
Dog obedience classes and training can vary widely. Depending on what you’re hoping to accomplish, you’ll be able to decide upon the proper training for you and your pet. Obedience training can vary. From teaching a dog to respond to basic commands, to breaking your dog of bad behaviors. Even high-level obedience training for show dogs who compete in competitions sponsored by the American Kennel Club or a similar organization.
Many people who are hoping to teach their dogs basic commands — or break them of bad habits — choose to enroll their pup in dog obedience school. There they learn how to behave appropriately and respond to commands in a group setting with other dogs.
Why Obedience Classes are Important
If your dog is in need of obedience classes, it may already be evident to you why this type of training is so important. Some dogs are obedient and well-behaved and don’t require more comprehensive training. However, most dogs need at least some level of training to help them behave correctly; around the house, other people, and other dogs.
Obedience classes or training are essential for any dog that’s acting out at home or damaging property. These classes become even more critical if your dog is having issues with people or other dogs. These problems can often lead to severe or fatal consequences if your dog attacks a person or another animal.
Signs Your Dog May Need Obedience Training
For most pup parents, you’ll know right away if your dog is in need of some training. But, if you’re not sure, the list below may be able to point you in the right direction. If your dog is guilty of more than a few of these transgressions, you may want to consider training.
If your dog:
- acts out when you aren’t around by going to the bathroom in the wrong places or destroying property
- is aggressive or uneasy around other dogs
- regularly disobeys commands
- is aggressive or anxious around other people
- engages in behaviors such as incessant barking, chasing their tail or biting themselves
- has trouble walking on a leash without aggressively pulling themselves forward
How to Find a Good Dog Trainer
Whether you’re looking for private instruction, basic obedience classes, or anything in between, it’s not always easy to find a quality trainer. There are no technical requirements for dog training. Which is to say that there’s nothing that can stop you from claiming to be a dog trainer yourself. Anyone can take out an ad in the paper, or make some fancy business cards and begin taking on clients.
When you’re looking for a dog trainer, you can try online sources. But, it can be helpful to ask around for recommendations. Ask friends and family if they have any experience with dog trainers in the area. You can also head to your local dog park and ask owners of particularly well-behaved dogs if they could recommend someone. The internet can also be a helpful resource for finding testimonials about dog trainers in your neighborhood.
Types of Obedience Classes
There are several different kinds of training your dog may benefit from. Depending on the needs of your dog and your budget, some of these methods may be better suited to you than others.
Private dog training is usually the most expensive type of obedience training. It can also be most effective in many cases. Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, have difficulty dealing with many other dogs at once or have severe behavioral problems usually benefit the most from private one on one training with a qualified instructor.
Often, dogs that require the special attention that’s provided by private instruction can later be placed into group classes. That is, if there is a need for further behavioral training or reinforcement.
Group classes are fairly cost-effective, especially when compared to private instruction. These classes are suitable for most dogs and are a particularly strong choice for puppies. Group classes allow them to socialize with other dogs in a controlled setting immediately.
Both private and group classes are a reliable choice for pet owners who are interested in having their dogs compete in dog shows. Also, if they want their pup to receive certification reserved for companion dogs.
For people with interest in learning how to properly train a dog — or people who don’t have the budget to spend a significant amount of money on behavioral training — at home training may be a good option.
Between the internet and the various books written on the subject, a person can learn to provide their dog with basic obedience training and manners. While this method is the most time consuming for the owner, it’s also the most cost-effective. If you don’t have the time to devote to researching obedience training or the patience to train your dog properly, this method may not be best for you.
Dog Training Disciplines
Another thing you’ll need to consider when looking into dog training is your goals for your dog’s level of training. Most people are just looking to provide their dog with the training necessary to ensure that they’re well behaved. On the other hand, some are looking to train their dog for specific skills and disciplines.
The most popular form of training for dogs is obedience training. This type of training provides your dogs with the necessary skills they’ll need to behave well and respond to commands. Most dog trainers focus on this kind of training. It can also provide the certification necessary for your dog to be certified as a companion dog.
Herding is a more specific discipline that involves teaching a dog how to herd livestock. This type of training is usually better suited to certain breeds, such as border collies, corgis, sheepdogs, and shepherds.
Another specific discipline that involves training a dog to maneuver through a set of defined obstacles is agility training. This high energy training represents an excellent opportunity to bond with your dog. This discipline relies heavily on teamwork, trust, and patience.
Tracking is a specific and challenging type of dog training that hones a dog’s ability to track people, objects or scents. Law enforcement and search and rescue dogs most often use this training. It teaches dogs how to sniff for drugs, bombs, or missing persons. While any dog can be trained to track, certain breeds are more inclined to this type of training than others.
Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and affection to children, the elderly or the mentally disabled. They are also regularly used in disaster relief situations. It’s been proven that dogs help to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being in people. Therapy dogs help to provide people with the comfort they need.
Therapy dogs can be trained to meet many basic requirements. Such as an ability to deal with loud or sudden noises. And the ability to bond with people from different walks of life, including children, the elderly and the disabled.
While service dogs are similar to therapy dogs in some ways, the training required to become a service dog is more specialized.
Service dogs learn to assist disabled individuals. A popular application for service dogs involves providing walking assistance to those who are visually handicapped. Another is support for those suffering from PTSD. Service dogs can even be trained to pick up on their owner’s medical issues. Sensing these conditions makes them well suited for people afflicted with seizures, diabetes, and other conditions.
Cost of Dog Training Obedience Classes
When it comes to the cost of dog obedience classes or training, prices vary widely. Depending on your needs and budget, you should have no problem finding a trainer who is suitable for you.
Private lessons are considerably more expensive than group training. They usually range between $30-100 per hour; depending on the trainer’s experience and level of demand.
Group lessons are considerably cheaper, and usually cost somewhere between $75-$200 for a series of classes (usually 4-8 classes). You can find a group class at a lot of the larger pet chains, like Petco or Petsmart.
If you’d like to try training your dog yourself, the only cost is your time. Of course, you may want to invest in training tools such as collars, leashes, and treats, which add expenses to your training routine.