Five Different Types of Dog Training Classes You Should Know About
Do you need to sign your puppy up for a training class? Has your dog started destructively chewing on your belongings? Do you have a dog that you know would be awesome at agility trials? Finding out how to get the right training for your dog can be a little daunting. After all, we all want to be responsible pet owners and do what’s right for our dogs. Here are five different types of dog training classes that can help whatever your goals may be:
Obedience -- This is a type of class that is most often associated with dog training. In this type of setting, a dog learns certain commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘down’. While you can certainly teach these commands to your dog yourself for free, signing up for a class has its advantages. The big decision then would be to sign up for individual or group classes. For puppies, I would recommend signing up for group classes because there is nothing cuter than a bunch of puppies learning how to be good dogs. Most of them have no idea what is going on in the beginning and would much rather chew on the leash or play with the other dogs. This is all to be expected. A part of why these classes are taught in a group setting is for socialization purposes. I must add that obedience classes are not just for puppies. They are for dogs of all ages! It is never too late to take your dog back to school if he needs it.
Behavioral -- This is for when you need to change a habit in your dog. Maybe the dog obsesses over his dog dish or tends to be a bit challenging when he sees new people when you walk him outside. Maybe he freaks out if you leave the house. Maybe he doesn’t come when he is called. Having a dog with issues can be frustrating. I can say for certain that your dog is not being a pain in the biscuits on purpose; they are just being a dog. An animal behaviorist can teach you to teach your dog how to be a better companion so he’s not driving you crazy all the time.
Canine Good Citizen Test -- The American Kennel Club or AKC has developed a test for dogs to demonstrate how well-behaved and under control a pet can be. It’s called the Canine Good Citizen Test or the CGC test for short. It is comprised of ten steps that include such things as staying in a sit and down position, coming when called, accepting a pet from a stranger, being tolerant for grooming, as well as a few others. In the dog world, passing the CGC test is a pretty big deal. Training for it can be very involved but it’s really worth the time and money put into making sure that you have a dog that is a ‘good citizen’. Please refer to the American Kennel Club website if you would like further information on how to get started.
Agility -- If your dog has mastered the basic commands and you feel like he is capable of doing more work, then why not try an agility class? An agility course for dogs include tunnels, weave poles, ladders, etc. and the point is to get your dog through the course as fast as he can go. It can be a lot of fun for both you and your dog. Learning more complex commands exercises a dog’s mind as well as their body so they really grow to enjoy it. You can make agility training a fun hobby to do with your dog or you can enter competitions and make it a more serious endeavor. Either way is fine by your dog. He just knows that he gets to spend time with his best buddy.
Therapy -- Have ever looked at your dog and thought that she would be perfect as a therapy dog? Some dogs just love being around people and they love to please. Training as a therapy dog is perfect for this type of pooch. A therapy dog can be used to comfort nursing home patients, to cheer up kids in the hospital, to calm people down while they are giving testimony in a courtroom, and so much more. They are important members of the community. A therapy dog can start training at nearly any age but there may be some organizations that require dog to pass their CGC test before they can begin helping people.
If getting your dog into a training class is something that you have been thinking about, then akc.org is a good place to start your research. Don’t just sign up for anything without knowing anything about the trainer or what their classes are like. The American Kennel Club has good information on trainers and different types of classes you and your pet can take. I would also recommend asking your friends, family, and your veterinarian for names of good dog trainers in your area. Once you have a few names of trainers to work with, then ask to observe a class to see how they teach. Not that it’s a requirement, but I feel it’s important to mesh well with a trainer so both you and your dog can get the most out of the experience..