Are Dog Training Classes Necessary?
Dog training courses offer a unique opportunity to get the best out of your pet. Teaching your dog to perform a desired behavior or behave well in specific situations is a great achievement which should be rewarded with a pat on the back and some affection. However, dog training can also be a frustrating experience if you do not know what you are doing. So, what are the most important skills that you should be aware of when training your dog?
The most important skill that you should master when training your dog is how to work with a professional dog training program. Dog trainers possess the expertise and knowledge required to help their clients design an effective program. If you decide to choose a DIY approach to training your dog, you run the risk of creating problems that could prove costly. Instead of hiring a dog trainer and trying to learn the skills yourself, you may be wasting money and time while potentially creating more problems than solutions. A professional program is designed for people who have previous experience in this field, who have successfully trained their dogs to perform various behaviors and who understand the underlying causes behind behavioral issues. They are the experts who know what “breaking the dog’s spirit” means and what “correctional’ techniques really accomplish.
To get started, you will need to choose a training method that works best for you. There are several methods of dog training and they include reinforcement training, behavior modification, private lesson, and group complimentary classes, to name a few. You can purchase a puppy pack as a kit which contain all that you need to educate your puppy (including a personalized treat), in addition to a leash and toys. Or you can try a homemade pack which is just as good and usually cheaper. If you opt for a homemade pack, please note that some pack ingredients are already used to flavor the treats.
Reinforcement is one of the most common dog training techniques and it consists of pairing a positive’reward’ or ‘concentration on the right behavior’ with the desired behavior. If your dog obeys your command, the food is given and/or the praise is given. Some dog training books call this “the five F’s”. I like to use a combination of treats, praise and rewards to teach my puppies not to jump up on guests, not to soil the home, and not to beg incessantly. I prefer to use a combination of the five F’s, but I’ll explain that in another article.
One of the most effective dog obedience and behavioral modification techniques is to socialize your dog. In this case, the’reward’ is a daily outing to a doggie park where you can both socialize and work on your obedience. Not all dogs learn this way, but many quickly begin to enjoy going places with their owners. The downside is that there is an investment in your dog’s health as well as time during the months of learning and practice of socialization.
The second option, a private lesson, allows you the flexibility of working at your own pace and on your own schedule. This can be a great alternative to costly dog obedience classes. A private lesson will involve more time and attention from you, and usually more consistent practice, but it also costs a lot less than enrollment in an obedience class. There is a cost involved in hiring a dog trainer to help train your puppy or dog; even a well-trained dog trainer will charge several hundred dollars for an hour of training each day. A private lesson also allows you to make up your own schedule to fit your own lifestyle.
You can also help resolve behavioral issues with dogs by using simple conditioning methods such as removing rewards while ignoring unwanted behavior. For instance, if your dog jumps on visitors, you could remove the reward (food) from his hands and tell him “no” in a firm, but controlled voice. If he attempts to touch the object, then say “no” firmly and walk away. Over time, your dog should learn to associate the “no” with the removal of the reward and no longer tries to touch the object.
Dog training classes are an important part of owning a dog, but they should not be the only form of dog training you do with your dog. By using simple reinforcement methods that focus on using positive reinforcements (rather than negative ones), you will find the dog training classes to be very useful. In addition, you’ll find that you can work through any problems with your dogs that may occur without the help of a professional dog trainer and you can save hundreds of dollars on obedience classes.