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Ideal Age to Take your Dog to Obedience Classes

May 6, 2008
Dog owners will want to be proud of the dogs they own. Not only will they want to feed the best food to their dogs and give them the best health care, dog owners will also want their dogs to be obedient. And to instill this obedience in dogs, it is necessary to give them some obedience training through obedience classes.

The importance of obedience training

Obedience is a must for all dogs. With obedience training, you can expect to find a solution to the discipline problems that you encounter with your dog. In order to avoid domestic problems, which are common when a dog is introduced to a new household, you have to send your dog to training classes to ensure that your home is safe for your family members, especially your children and other pets. In addition to providing a safe environment, obedience training also establishes a line of communication between the dog and you. And it is with this communication that it is possible for you to instruct the dog to do what you want it to do. Once the dog learns to communicate with you, you will be able to teach it to obey your commands.

There is no age requirement to enroll your dog for obedience classes. A puppy can learn to do tricks and follow commands when it is as young as 8 weeks of age. It is better to take the dog to obedience classes at around 4 months old, right after it has completed all its vaccinations. Usually, basic training courses accept puppies between 3-6 months of age. Basically, it is easier to train dogs that have a basic understanding of basic commands like "sit" or "stay". Training an older dog can be more challenging because it has already developed some habits that may be undesirable to you.

It is not the dog but the owner that the dog trainer trains

Many kennels, pet stores and independent trainers conduct training courses for dogs. When you take your dog to an obedience class, you may be surprised that it is not the dog that the professional dog trainer trains. Instead, you are the one who will be taught how to train the dog. However, you can also send your dog away to a training school to be taught obedience, but you will have to know what the dog has been taught, and how to use and reinforce the techniques that have been taught to the dog. With owners and dogs attending classes together, they learn more about each other, and how to work together under the supervision of the trainer. It is easier to train a dog if you are aware of the commands and methods that are taught to the dog. Moreover, by attending obedience classes, you and your dog can meet other dogs and people, and learn more things from them.

Obedience training requires consistency, patience and understanding

Your dog will respond better if you are consistent in the way you handle it. With clear cut instructions, the dog learns everything it has to do, where it has to do it and what not to do. Understanding your dog's needs is a difficult part of obedience training for you. However, as you spend more time with your dog, you will know how to read its movements and expressions, and find the right way to teach it.

Although dogs are expressive by nature, they cannot tolerate discernible messages from inexperienced owners. It is through biting, whining and being fidgety that puppies learn to communicate with you. And it is with the right response you give the dog that you will have an obedient and healthy puppy that will grow up to be a great companion for many years to come.
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