Home or Away

January.13.2020

This article was originally posted by  Breanne Long on Aug 24, 2017 here is the link for the full article https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/basic-obedience-training-for-your-dog/

Finding an obedience trainer for your dog seems simple. Google the nearest dog training school, call and sign up, right? Not so fast . . .

Home or Away?

There are benefits to home training and group class training. Some trainers will come to your home and provide private one-on-one training. Some owners opt to train their own dogs.

Home training may allow you and your dog to focus more on each other. Group class training helps your dog learn to focus, even when there are distractions from other dogs.

Home training means you focus only on things you particularly want your dog to learn, while at group classes you may spend time on things you don’t personally find important. In some cases, you may not have any choice but to train at home; remote or rural areas may not have a local training school where you can take group classes.

In this case, the AKC GoodDog! Helpline can be a great way to further your dog’s training. Knowledgeable trainers are available every day of the week through this telephone support service. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline can also complement group classes in which problem behaviors or issues, such as house training or mouthing, aren’t discussed.

 

Choosing an Obedience Training Instructor

Most training schools are happy to allow you to attend and observe (leave Fido at home for this) a class or two to be sure the style of instruction fits with your beliefs. Dogs learn best through progressive reinforcement training; rewarding the dog for making the right choice and withholding rewards, or ignoring the dog for making an incorrect choice.

When observing a class, take note of the dogs; do they look happy? Relaxed? Excited to work? Is the instructor encouraging dogs and owners? Does the class seem to be run in a safe and effective manner? If you don’t feel comfortable at a particular training school, your dog won’t either, and you’ll be setting Fido up to fail. Keep looking for a school where you feel comfortable; you and Fido will do your best work this way!

Trainer vs. Behaviorist

There are some important differences to note between trainers and behaviorists. Behaviorists can also be trainers and/or veterinarians, but not always. Trainers are equipped to handle symptoms, but not necessarily the underlying causes for the symptoms.

Training other behaviors and getting a dog used to being alone, for example, can help reduce separation anxiety. The root cause, however, would likely need to be determined by a behaviorist, who could then refer you to a trainer if he or she was not able to help with the training issues.
pug on leash

Some trainers have certifications from training schools or organizations. It’s always prudent to check the certifications of your trainer, or check references if your trainer is not certified.

AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluators are another class of dog-training professionals. AKC CGC Evaluators may or may not be trainers or behaviorists, but are certified by the AKC to evaluate dogs in the Canine Good Citizen test. Training other behaviors and getting a dog used to being alone, for example, can help reduce separation anxiety. The root cause, however, would likely need to be determined by a behaviorist, who could then refer you to a trainer if he or she was not able to help with the training issues.

 

Types of Obedience Training Classes

There are many types of classes available at different training schools. The schools’ trainers should be able to help you determine which class best meets the needs of you and your dog.

Most schools have a series of puppy classes, starting for puppies as young as 8 weeks, and training can progress through AKC STAR Puppy, AKC Canine Good Citizen certification, and advanced obedience classes.
beagles in training

Puppies and owners who complete at least six weeks of class and meet various other basic training and care-taking requirements earn the AKC STAR Puppy certification. The CGC certification is a bit more rigorous and shows that your dog has obedience training and is under control around other people and dogs.

Many schools also offer dog sports classes that you can advance to after basic obedience training, including agility, rally, tricks, and flyball.

We here at TheDogTrainer, have offer Group Classes(when applicable), Personalized in-home training sessions, and more. Our methods are positive reinforcement

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