Puppy training classes may not feel necessary for a new dog that only seems to cuddle and sleep.
But, young dogs are at a critical point of development. By teaching them good habits at an early age, you help establish healthy behavior that will last their whole life. Learn more about puppy classes and how they can help your dog below.
Why Puppy Training Is Important
A great dog trick can entertain even the toughest canine critic. But, puppy training is about more than dazzling a crowd. Training school teaches your dog important behavioral skills and good manners. Additionally, it exposes them to a variety of other dogs and people so that they’re comfortable in diverse social situations.1
Your puppy’s first three months are crucial to their development. Young dogs are highly impressionable and adept at retaining new information. Exposing your puppy to all sorts of sights, sounds, people, and other dogs will help prepare them for a life as an adult.2
Do All Dogs Need Training?
A pooch that lives like a king on the couch needs training just as much as a rugged hunting dog. That’s because basic training teaches your dog good manners. Plus, the one-on-one interaction between you and your pet strengthens your bond.3
Training school for puppies is sort of like kindergarten for little kids. It gives them a chance to socialize with their peers and learn basic cues. Exposure to these concepts early on can help promote good behavior well into adulthood.4
When You Should Start Training Your Puppy
Puppies can start training when they are about ten weeks old. This is right during their peak point of learning, when new information is processed best. Starting obedience training early amongst puppy peers can help get your dog off on the right paw to a happy and well-adjusted life.5
Note: Your pooch will need their vaccinations before attending a puppy class with other dogs. Consult with your vet too, to make sure they’re ready for a classroom setting.
Essential Training For Your Puppy
Your dog doesn’t need to learn how to do backflips on command (as cool as it may be). Obedience training is more about learning basic manners, such as:
- No Jumping
- Walking On A Leash
- Sit And Down6
Choose The Right Class For Your Pooch
Dog personalities are diverse and nuanced. That’s why it’s so important to find the right trainer for your dog. First, you can assess your puppy’s behavior and social skills. Watch how they play with other dogs, kids, cats or family members. You’ll also want to assess your potential trainer. Ask questions like:
- Are they patient?
- Do they have lots of energy?
- How do they do around other dogs?7
Additionally, you must decide how involved you wish the training to be. Basic manners like sitting can be done with less rigorous training. More advanced training for a therapy dog requires more rigorous classes and specialized trainers.8
Obedience Training Options
Choose a class size, setting, and style that works best for you and your dog. There are a variety of different options.
Online Puppy Class
You don’t even have to leave the comfort of home for pet training classes. You can attend a virtual class with highly-skilled instructors. This can involve a teleconference with a trainer or you may follow along to a video and film the lesson. Then a qualified trainer will review and send feedback.9
One benefit to virtual training is that it allows you to make improvements to your skills as a trainer. By reviewing film of your session or previous training, you can analyze the dog behavior as well as your own training cues and style.10
The one disadvantage to this kind of obedience training is that your dog will most likely train alone, so they don’t receive exposure to other dogs.
At Home, Private Classes
Some trainers will come to your home for private lessons. Much like a virtual class, private classes can facilitate very focused private training. Without any distractions, your pooch will have a chance to hone in on the class skills and the trainer.
Additionally, these one-on-one lessons can be tailored to your dog’s specific needs. You can work on very specific behavioral or training issues.
DIY Puppy Training
You can forgo accredited pet trainers and teach your puppy yourself. The technique suggested by many animal organizations and veterinarians is the positive reinforcement methodology.11
The gist of this approach is to reward your puppy with a tasty treat for good behavior and to deny a reward after bad behavior. There is no punishment or fear involved. All you’ll need to have is a good flat collar, a leash, some treats, and lots of loving patience.12
If you want your dog to learn a particular skill or you need to address a specific behavioral issue, you can find a more specialized training option. There are classes for reactive dogs who have trouble on leashes, classes for advanced agility practice and dog sports, or training for therapy dogs.13
Where To Find A Dog Obedience Trainer
There are many resources to draw from when it comes to finding a good obedience trainer in your area. You can search for upcoming class dates with accredited dog trainers online to find a trainer near you.14
Ask your vet or breeder for professional recommendations. And, of course, check with friends or family members for a quality recommendation. When choosing a new trainer, ask about their methods and philosophy to ensure that it’s a good fit for you and your dog.15
Trainer Or Behaviorist?
A trainer can provide your dog with methods to address behavior problems, but it’s a behavior specialist who can best diagnose the root cause of your dog’s actions.
For example, a dog might chew up shoes when the owner leaves the house. Behavior specialists might determine the reason why with behavior consultations. Then, the trainer could teach the dog healthy ways (that don’t involve shoes) to deal with these feelings.16
Old Dog, New Tricks – Obedience Training For Older Canines
Dogs of any age can learn new tricks and basic skills. Using positive reinforcement and quality training techniques can help dogs adjust their behaviors.17
A perfectly behaved older dog can still benefit from dog training classes. That’s because learning tricks and new behaviors can instill a sense of usefulness in your older canine. This sense of purpose and the positive reinforcement of a class may help boost their happiness levels and support their overall health.18
Set your expectations relative to your dog’s stamina and health. High-intensity activities on the obedience course may not agree with aging joints, so keep the training at a level that suits them.19
Why Spay Or Neuter Your Pet?
For the most part, spaying or neutering your pet doesn’t magically fix behavioral problems. Solutions for bad habits are best approached with obedience classes. However, neutered male dogs may feel less inclined to roam or mount other pets or people. Most importantly, though, spaying and neutering can protect the health of your pet and reduce the homeless pet population.20
Training Helps Make A Happy Pet Family
Dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes may benefit from obedience training. Even the most basic tricks and skills teach your pup crucial lessons about how to behave and communicate with you. These lessons influence how your dog interacts with other people and dogs.
When these activities come easy and natural to your pet, they can feel at ease and happy in the world. For that, your pup is sure to thank you with all the loving licks you can handle.