How to Get the Most Out of Your Dog Training Classes

To start, finding the right trainer can make a huge difference. Hiring a reputable and well-educated dog trainer can be a challenge. If a dog trainer says they’re certified by a particular organization, remember that you don’t have to take their word for it. You can go to that organization’s website and verify certifications.  Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers has a website verifying the list of certified trainers. Interview your potential trainer, they’re working for you. What methods of training do they use? What is their educational background? What recent continuing education have they attended recently? What kind of equipment do they use? Can they provide references? What actually happens when my dog gets it right or wrong? What kind of motivation do they recommend? A couple of things should raise red flags in your assessment. Don’t use trainers who say they’re not cookie-pushers. This is the easiest and quickest way to motivate and train a dog. If the trainer uses language like” balanced”, “dominant”, and alpha” or uses primarily punishment-based methods, be aware that trainer doesn’t meet the standards of science-based training.

 Your behavior is just as important as your dog’s. The following tips will help you and your dog get the most out of your training experience:

1. Do your best to come prepared. If the instructor sends pre-class information, be sure to read through it so you know what to bring.

2. Communicate with the instructor.  If you’re struggling with something between classes, speak up! The instructor can’t help you if she doesn’t know you have a problem.

3. Be patient. Your “bad habits” don’t go away overnight. Your dog's won’t either! Avoid being too quick to label a training technique as “not working” just because you haven’t seen results in a week. Keep at it. Think in terms of progress, not perfection. Persistence is key.

4. Practice! Training your dog is like joining a gym. You have to spend time working out to see results. Be sure to do your homework between class sessions.

5. Focus your attention on your dog during training. Try to set the kids up with an activity to keep them safely occupied and turn off mobile phones and other distractions.

6. Come to class with an open mind. Be willing to experiment with techniques that might be different from what you’re used to like clicker training. At the same time, remember that you are your dog’s best advocate. Never let a trainer talk you into doing something to your dog that makes you uncomfortable.

The Work Pays Off

New Classes Starting:

Puppy Bowl Party                 2/4 Sun 2:00 p.m.   

Puppy I Manners               1/25 Thur. 7:30 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners   1/22 Mon. 6:00 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners    1/28 Sun. 11:00 a.m.

Novice Trick Dog (NTD)            2/24 Sat. 10:00 a.m  

AKC Canine Good Citizen 2/19 Mon. 7:00 p.m.  

Puppy I Manners                 2/10 Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners   2/11 Sun. 1:00 p.m. 

Check calendar for more scheduled classes!