With the holidays coming up, you may be thinking about how your dog is going to react around all of the excitement. Will they be disinterested in all of the festivities and hide in a back room? Or, will they be over-excited and tear up the house? While those are two extreme scenarios, proper obedience will certainly show as your guests appear and all of those delicious foods and smells fill your home and your pet’s nostrils. So, it may be time for some training. But, how do you choose the right trainer for you and your dog?
All too often, pet parents let their dogs’ misbehaviors go unchecked to the point that they become entirely disobedient and a problem. But, the truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Most behaviors are easily modifiable. They just need a little training, and that is where the professionals come in.
Whether through one-on-one sessions or group classes, your dog can learn to become obedient in no time with few worries about issues popping up during family holiday events. All you have to do is choose the right trainer and methods to best serve you and your pet. Here’s what you should know:
Why is Training Necessary?
As a dog parent, you’ve probably already figured out that your little four-legged buddy is pretty smart. Because of their high level of intelligence, whether you are taking the time to teach them or not, your dog is constantly learning from you, your actions, and their surroundings. This means, if you don’t take the time to properly train them and teach them the rules, your dog will make up their own rules, and you don’t want that! Training is a way to safely control behaviors for everyone’s benefit. It’s also a great way to form and enhance bonds between dog and owner, ensuring that your pet will happily and obediently respond to your commands.
What Should I Look for in a Trainer?
The most important thing to consider when selecting a dog trainer is to make sure that you choose one who uses humane training techniques. You want someone experienced who will encourage appropriate behaviors through positive reinforcement, never punishment or yelling. For example, when your pet obeys a command, they should be rewarded with food, attention, play, praise, etc. You also want someone who is not going to reward undesirable responses or respond to them. Your pet will never learn this way.
Which Training Formats Are Best?
There are two main training formats – the group class and the one-on-one lessons. While both can be effective, there are more advantages to group sessions than one-on-one. For example, group classes teach dogs tolerance and how to interact with other dogs. They’ll learn to accept handling by other people, as well, and learn to respond to their owners despite group distractions. These classes are also great for owners because they learn through observation of others around them and how they interact with their own dogs.
One-on-one lessons can play out in a few different ways. There’s the self-help training session, private lessons and dog-only lessons, all of which usually exclude the owner. This is a huge disadvantage because dog and owner miss out on all of the bonding and interactive experiences found in group sessions. Often, these sessions involve just the dog and the trainer. Because of this, more often than not, the dog will respond to the trainer, but when the owner tries to step in, they become unresponsive because the teachings and connections simply don’t transfer. They’ll see the trainer as “work-time” and you as “family, play-time.”
The best way to conduct training sessions is with all family members present and participating, when possible. This way, everyone can develop these essential bonds that will form and set a positive basis for your entire family’s relationship.
Remember, training can be taught and learned at any age. Help your dog become their best, well-behaved self so that your family can form long-lasting bonds for a safe and happy life together.