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Choosing The Best Dog Obedience Schools For Your Pet

Jun 30, 2008
A search in your local shoppers guide or newspapers will yield dozens of ads for dog obedience schools that will help your new canine family member fit in with the other animals and people in the house. So how do you choose the one that is right for you?

The methods for training your dog are almost too numerous to count, and they range from physical punishment-based methods to methods based on gentle reminders and positive reinforcement.

Most trainers will have chosen their own method to fit themselves and their clients. Positive approaches are becoming more and more common and this is probably what you will run into when looking for obedience schools.

When considering the appropriate training technique, you must consider the dog. Where did you get him? How old was he when you got him? Did you rescue him, so he may have issues? What are the goals of training: pet, speed, shows, hunting, tracking, or do you plan to enter your dog into the various dog sports?

After giving thought to your dog's personality and what you want out of training, peruse your newspaper and make a list of the local dog obedience schools. Find their contact information and visit their websites. Talk to other dog owners and ask where they have had success training their dog. Local kennel clubs and vets may also have trainer recommendations.

Schools that train using positive reinforcement are going to yield the best results. Ask friends who they'd recommend. Some trainers will offer to come to make house visits to train your dog, but then he'll be missing out on socialization opportunities with other canines. Locate the times of the beginner class and see if you can sit in just to watch; if you don't like what you see, find someone else you do like!

For socialization, it is important that puppies be put into kindergarten or playgroup program, at the earliest age possible. Although, if you have a rescue dog that is aggressive, it may be necessary to go to an animal behaviorist instead of a trainer. Aggression in dogs isn't something to ignore!

Some trainers use tools like collars for training. "Gentle Leader" head collars are just about the most-effective collar available; contrary to the belief of many, pinch collars only work on a limited number of dogs.

It is not unusual for you to attend your first session without your dog accompanying you. This is a good indication that the trainer is a pro. Clicker training, a form of non punishment type training, necessitates a 'train the trainer' session so that you can learn the tools you will need to work with your dog successfully, without the distraction of your pet's attendance.

Here are some signs of a good training class:

1. The school, as a whole, will have a positive tone.

2. Training is founded on a reward system: a requested behavior is awarded with a goody, accolade, or anything else the dog appreciates.

3. When a dog is misbehaving, sharp noise is typically enough for the dog to realize he's done wrong. Punishment is kept to a minimum and the actions are usually suppressed.

4. An inappropriate behavior is usually halted by requiring a different behavior that causes the animal to alter his actions, for example, 'lay down' will prevent the dog from jumping on someone.

5. Patience is a key element in any training session.

In addition to local dog obedience schools, there are a large quantity of great books as well as quality websites dedicated to the topic of dog training. To find out more about one of the most effective animal training methods, try performing a quick online search on the term "clicker training." This is the method Hollywood dog trainers use to train dogs to perform on television and film. Now, your dog can learn some of these fancy tricks as well.
About the Author
Learn how to eliminate bad behaviors in your dog and turn him into a pet that is as good as gold with the dog training techniques at http://www.positivedogtrainingtechniques.com/.
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