Choosing a good dog obedience school needs to be taken seriously. It is just as important as choosing the right dog for you and your family.
There are quite the variety of dog obedience schools, training centers and specialized trainers. This can make it difficult to know what to look for in choosing one.
It is essential to decide what you want to achieve out of attending dog obedience training. A good place to start is to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Would you prefer one to one training, or group lessons?
One to one training is significantly more expensive than group lessons. You should consider the budget and the reasons that you have set for the training.
That being said, group coaching has the added benefit of socializing your dog with a variety of others, also in training. Sometimes we forget that our dogs need to play with other dogs and not just us.
2. What is the aim of attending dog obedience training?
Is it for puppy socialization? It is very important to socialize your puppy with others of similar size. This helps them learn their place in the world.
Is it simply general training; walking to heel, sitting etc.? Learning basic commands and leash training help the two of you to enjoy your lives together.
Do you intend to compete in obedience trials? I’ve seen many dogs become quite competitive when they walk into the arena. It’s like they want to have the bragging rights too. They don’t do it for the prize money.
Are you interested in any specialist disciplines; i.e. trick training, Heelwork to Music, agility? Perhaps your little friend has a hidden talent. And you want to help her develop it. As I stated earlier, they can be show offs.
3. What type of atmosphere would you like?
Would you like to join a proper “Dog Club”? Just as with dog obedience schools, there are a large variety of them. Most are breed specific, but some will accept all dogs from their area.
All “Clubs” usually come with all of its associated social activities and competitions. Some are free to join. Some are not. It all depends on the level of activities they have.
Or are you just looking for somewhere to train your dog once a week? This is perfectly fine too. We have other family commitments that need to be met.
Once you have a good idea in your mind of what you are looking for, then you’re ready to start contacting relevant dog obedience schools. You now can research to find out whether they meet what you’re looking for.
It’s a good idea to visit the dog obedience schools, attend a lesson (without your dog), and talk to the trainers. Trust your instincts when deciding whether you think you and your dog will fit into the training classes and enjoy working with the trainers.
A serious consideration in your decision should be the methods of training used by the dog obedience schools. Look for trainers who believe in kind, positive methods and techniques of training.
Dog trainers who encourage the use of choke chains or any kind of rough handling, should be avoided at all costs.
There are professional associations, regulating some dog obedience schools. You may prefer to choose a dog obedience class that is regulated by one of these associations.
But do remember that there are lots of great obedience schools. Not all are or can be registered with an association if they don’t exist in your location.