Buying a puppy and welcoming them into your home is a hugely exciting time. The right dog will grow into your best friend, play buddy and favourite company all rolled into one. Being your dog's master comes with its own set of responsibilities though. And dog training is an important part of the role. A good dog owner will make sure their puppy has obedience training from an early age. This teaches your new friend to be well-behaved and follow simple, but effective commands. It also strengthens the bond you'll have with your dog and help him to learn through routine, making him smarter, happier and safer.
Dogs crave routine to be better. When they know what is expected of them and can trust the leadership decisions of you as their owner, your best friend is less stressed. Dogs are curious creatures and love to learn. They have a wide capacity to do so too. Dogs start learning by observing your movements and will stick to routines they have been accustomed to. But without daily challenges and new tricks, their learnings can quickly become limited. Thus, the right training is crucial to quench their thirst for adventure and to teach them new commands and tasks they wouldn't have otherwise learnt on their own.
Positive and proper dog training is an important part of your puppy's growth – but finding the right dog trainer for your best friend is just as vital. Remember, a well-trained dog is a safe dog. Here are the essentials to consider:
Group Training Sessions vs. Private/at Home
Formal training classes can be done as a group session or privately. Group classes are designed to get your dog used to socialising with other dogs and people whereas private classes can be better for less confident dogs or owners. For owners that lead busy lifestyles, private training sessions at home tend to be a more practical option. Many dogs will respond better with one-on-one attention too, and it's a good chance to get the whole family involved.
Despite group classes being great for getting your puppy comfortable with humans and dogs, larger groups can be stressful for some dogs. This is why private classes or training at home with a professional can be more motivating for your pet. For dogs that need to combat specific issues, like separation anxiety, excessive barking or toilet training, private training sessions are more ideal. One of the biggest benefits of at-home training is the quicker learning process. Dogs are more comfortable in their own environments so usually respond better. Private training can be used as a good stepping stone for group classes as well.
Check Trainers' Qualifications
If you're putting your best friend's learning experience into the hands of someone else, you want to make sure they're qualified for the job. Ask about your trainer's qualifications and seek testimonials to determine whether other pet owners were satisfied with the results. Finding a 'good' dog trainer is about finding someone qualified for the job who uses humane training techniques to expand your dog's learning and teach obedience.
Ask About Hands-on Experience
How much hands-on experience has your chosen trainer got? Almost anyone can start up a dog training business, but it takes a special kind of someone who lives and breathes dogs and how their minds work to help your best friend. It should be a priority to find a trainer who has lots of real world experience training dogs. The ideal candidate will regularly attend dog training conferences to keep up to date with the latest training techniques too.
Find a trainer who loves dogs. Their hands-on-experience should include at least two solid years of working with dogs and their people to give you the best advice. To avoid going through multiple trainers for your best friend, ask your trainer about their past experiences in the industry, and how their knowledge can benefit you and your puppy.
Consider Your Dog's Temperament
No dog or their owner is the same. To encourage an effective training process for your pet, think about his temperament before committing to a session. You want to choose a training style that's fun and engaging. Their training should utilise techniques that reinforce good behaviour. This can be done with treats, attention and praise. Finding the right trainer means finding a training method that steers clear of anything that inflicts pain or terrifies your pet. Avoid trainers that use shock collars and other negative training techniques.
Good trainers have had experience with many dog breeds and temperaments. The more you know about your dog's personality the better you're able to find a trainer that's right for the job. Is your puppy shy or outgoing? Do they have any special issues you want to try combat? What are your priorities as the owner? All this information should be discussed with your potential trainer to determine whether their techniques are right for your pet.
Is Ongoing Support Provided?
To gain the full benefits of dog training, you want to keep everything you've achieved going well beyond the lessons. This keeps your puppy in routine and helps to reinforce all the techniques learnt. All trainers will be there to help you and your best friend during the process, but what about afterwards? Some dogs can slip into old habits or owners may struggle to keep up certain methods. That's why it's important to find a dog trainer who offers ongoing support, so you can seek advice after the training has finished if need be.
Above anything, it's vital to follow your gut instinct when it comes to training your best friend. Only engage with a trainer who is qualified to work with multiple methods and breeds. You should feel 100% comfortable with the techniques used and the way your puppy responds and learns. Practice makes perfect, and with the right training, your new furry friend should be a pro in no time!