Dog Training Classes
There is a wealth of good dog training books, videos and online resources available to the pet owner who wants a well-behaved and obedient dog. But sometimes there's no substitute for spending some time in dog training classes. Dog training is a physical skill, so it's easier to learn when you have an instructor showing you how to do it. And the instructor is right there at all of the dog training classes, able to correct anything you're doing wrong or point out any bad habits you're picking up. That's something you can't get from a DVD.
You should spend some time evaluating a potential training class before committing to one. A good way to evaluate a class if you have time is to attend the first session of dog training classes, then attend the last session. How many of the owner-dog teams stuck it out to the end? Compare the dogs' behavior from first to last class. Does everyone seem happy to be there? Have they formed some casual relationships with each other during the class time? You should look for dog training classes that people and dogs enjoy attending, where they learn good techniques using humane and positive methods.
Check out the instructor's background and credentials. What experience has he had? What training methods does he prefer (and which ones does he criticize)? How do the dogs behave in the instructor's presence?
Before you start dog training classes, you also need to be sure what your goals are. If you just want a well-behaved dog, then you probably don't need competition obedience training. But if you think you and your dog have what it takes for competition, then you may want to move beyond basic dog training classes. If you're trying to fix a specific problem, then discuss that problem with the instructor. Can he give references of others he's helped with that problem? A good instructor should start out by asking you what you want to accomplish and how.
Don't expect dog training classes to handle all of your training needs. Dog training classes are where you go to learn how to train your dog. If you don't apply what you learn in dog training classes throughout the week, then you're wasting time and money by attending. Teaching your dog to understand your commands takes daily practice in a variety of situations. You can't expect to work wonders with your dog in once-a-week dog training classes.
Even if you're confident that you can handle dog training on your own, dog training classes can still be very useful. Dog training classes provide excellent socialization opportunities for you and your dog. The environment of dog training classes is filled with controlled distractions, something that challenges your dog to improve his focus. And since other like-minded pet owners will also be attending the dog training classes, they may be able to see something in your interactions with your dog that you don't see.
You can find dog training classes by checking with different community resources. Your veterinarian is probably aware of local dog training classes, as will as your local humane society or animal shelter. Dog training classes may be offered by your city's parks and recreation department or through local community colleges. Advertisements for dog training classes are usually posted at pet stores and pet supply retailers. The large pet superstores may offer their own dog training classes.
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