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Obedience training is essential for a healthy, happy dog. Dogs who aren’t trained are often confused animals that are unsure of their place in the pack, which typically results in unacceptable behaviors. Untrained dogs may also develop fearful behaviors due to a lack of emotional security, which they may exhibit by doing their business in the house, acting aggressively toward strangers or other animals, or slinking away in fear from certain situations.
A close relationship with your dog requires that she understands basic commands like Sit! Stay! Come! Heel! Leave it! Down! Go to your spot! Otherwise, you’ll be constantly struggling to get her to do what you want her to do or to stop doing what you don’t want her to do.
- Don’t Want To Hire A Professional? Teach Yourself How To Be A Dog Trainer!
Obedience training opens the lines of communications between you and your dog so that you both know how to read the other’s body language and emotional cues. It also helps prevent your dog from developing unacceptable behaviors like chewing on your favorite shoes (it’s always your favorite shoes,) jumping on guests, digging under the backyard fence, barking at passersby, and a host of other quirks that untrained dogs tend to drive us crazy with.
Start Training Right Away!
It’s always ideal to train a dog from puppyhood, but that’s not exactly possible if your dog is already mature when you bring him home. Still, enrolling your new older dog in obedience training will help get him acclimated to your rules and expectations more quickly, before bad habits set in.
The benefits of a well-trained dog include:
Less confusion and fear on the dog’s part.
- Less frustration and regret on your part.
- Reducing the chances that your dog will become aggressive to other dogs, people, or other species.
- The ability to keep your dog safe by issuing commands like “Come!” if he gets loose and “Leave it!” if he’s about to eat a decomposing squirrel.
- Mental and physical stimulation for the dog, which is essential for his happiness and wellbeing.
- Providing you with the tools, skills, and knowledge you need to address and put an end to behaviors that you don’t like.
- Providing the foundation for teaching your dog fun tricks, training her for an agility contest, or bringing home another dog, which will learn how to act by watching and being corrected by your existing, well trained dog.
Too many dogs end up abandoned on country roads or dropped off at the local shelter once an owner has had enough of ruined furniture, incessant barking, aggressive behaviors, or the general inability to develop a copacetic relationship with the dog. In the vast majority of these cases, the fault lies entirely with the human, not with the dog. Dogs can be trained, sometimes with ease and sometimes with a great deal of effort. But taking on the responsibility of pet ownership includes seeing to it that your dog knows exactly how to behave and that you maintain your position as pack leader through consistent and positive reinforcement of good behaviors.
Dog Obedience Trainer or Obedience Class?
Most dogs will benefit from an obedience class, which helps socialize them with other dogs and humans outside of the pack. Supplemental instruction through one-on-one obedience training with a professional trainer is also highly beneficial for ensuring you’re using the right techniques to help get the best results.
Dropping your dog off at a trainer’s facility and going for a cup of coffee while your dog gets trained likely won’t benefit you or the dog at all. You’re a crucial key in the training of your dog, and how well your dog behaves depends almost entirely on your ability to read your dog, time your corrections properly, and maintain a high level of calmness and consistency.
How to Find the Best Trainer and Obedience Class
Getting referrals from groomers, veterinarians, and other dog owners is the best way to start your search for a qualified and effective trainer. Once you have a list of potential trainers, these tips can help you choose the right one.
- Check the trainer’s credentials. There are a number of dog training associations, and a good dog trainer will be certified through a reputable training organization. Certifications may include CPDT-KA (Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Knowledge Assessed,) ABCDT (Animal Behavior College Dog Training certification,) and CAAB (Certified applied animal behaviorist.) Be sure to confirm with the certifying organization that the trainer is actually certified, as this unregulated industry leaves a lot of room for faking credentials.
- Ask to sit in on a class or training session, either with or without your dog. If there’s a problem with that, then you should be concerned by the lack of transparency and cross that trainer off your list.
- Look for red flags, which include a trainer who dodges your questions, makes guarantees, has trouble controlling his or her own dog or other dogs being instructed, communicates ineffectively with dogs and/or humans, or who approaches dog training using methods that establish an aversion to bad behavior, such as the use of choke chains, shock collars, and striking or shouting at the dog. Positive reinforcement methods are best, as they promote mutual respect between you and your dog and aren’t based on fear.
- Ask about policies that protect the health of your dog. Obedience classes should require proof of up-to-date vaccinations, a clean bill of health, and the absence of fleas and other parasites.
- Ask about policies that protect the safety of your dog – and you. Instructors should be able to control dogs that show aggression toward other dogs or humans.
- Visit the facilities, which should be clean and adequately sized. The outdoor potty space should be relatively well maintained.
- Trust your and your dog’s instincts. If you, or your dog, feel uncomfortable with a trainer, you should find another one.
Set Realistic Expectations
Some breeds are notoriously easy to train, while others are very stubborn and resist letting you take control. Know the personality traits of your breed in terms of ease of training, and realize that either way, training your dog will take time and patience. Consistency is always the key, and if you remain consistent, calm, and patient, your dog will be the best-trained animal on the block, sooner or later.