With all the different options available for you and your pet, how do you know which to choose?
Several years ago when my oldest dog was still a pup, I opted for a more expensive in-house trainer because I thought that more money meant better training. Prior to selecting the trainer I didn’t really do that much research, I was just referred to the trainer by a friend and decided to go with it. My min-pin mix had some serious behavior issues including aggression towards larger dogs and making a run for it any time the front door or gate opened, so I felt like we needed as much training as possible. After the training classes were over, I realized that I could have set up classes through a local shelter or pet store that would have covered the same material for far less cost. She still has a lot of the behavior problems that she did before the training, which is my own fault for caving in every time she bats her beautiful little brown eyes at me. The moral of the story? Do research, and make sure you choose training that will be something you can stick with after the training ends.
Here are some of our suggestions for making sure you’re setting you and your pup up for success with your training curriculum:
1. Figure out what kind of training your pet needs.
Does your pet just need to learn the fundamentals? Is your pet particularly mouthy or excitable around company? Has your pet already mastered the sit and stay routine, but now you want to move on to using sign commands? Make sure you look at your situation and what you are looking to get out of your training sessions.
2. Does your pet get stressed out around other dogs?
If so, it may be in your pet’s best interest to set up private classes where they can focus on you and what you are trying to teach them. If not, you are probably safe to enroll in some puppy classes or advanced dog training classes.Before making a choice, make sure you look at your pet’s personality and set them up so that they are able to excel.
3. Research your options.
Make sure you look at how the training works. For example, are you looking for positive reinforcement training or are you looking for training that focuses on the dynamic of you as “alpha” to your pet. Are there particular hazards in your area? For example, if you live in regions of the southwest, you may want to go through snake training so that your pet learns to sound the alarm when a rattler is near.Or, if your pet has a particularly gentle and comforting disposition, maybe you want to put your pet through training to be a therapy dog so that you can visit those in nursing or rehabilitation homes together.
4. Stick with it.
After you select and complete the training for your pet, the most important part of the entire process is to stick with it. Pets do best with consistency, so regularly reminding them of the training by doing exercises or continuing to exhibit the behaviors that you learned will help to reinforce the different lessons they learned through the training process.