Although some dog owners may have the time and patience necessary to train their pups themselves, increasingly American puppy parents are turning to obedience classes to teach their dogs commands and etiquette. But how do you choose the classes that are right for your dog? Ask yourself these questions to find the right fit:
Is your dog shy or outgoing?
Not every dog likes to be around strangers. Is your pup more comfortable behind your legs when a new person is introduced? Does he shy away from pats from people he doesn’t know? Or does he make new best friends on every walk? The answer to this question may help you find the right size of class for your dog. If your pup is a social butterfly, big classes will likely be a good place to train him. Not only will he be unbothered by the group, having new dogs around may make him happier and more ready to learn new things. On the other hand, if your pup is shyer, you may have to read the room or try it out once; a mildly shy dog may benefit from a group class as a way to learn to socialize, but a very shy dog may be too anxious to learn new skills. Obedience classes exist in all sizes, from a dozen dogs to one on one.
What do you want your dog to learn?
Most obedience classes will go over the basics with your pup, from sit and stay to teaching her not to pull on her leash. If you want your dog to learn more specialized skills or even learn to commit fully to these basics, you may need to look into more specialized schools. In most cities, you’ll find classes that are specifically to teach your dog to retain their good behavior on a busy street or in other stressful situations. You can also find classes geared towards teaching your dog to be a therapy or comfort animal. There are also classes to teach your dogs special commands, such as herding, tracking, or agility. Think about what skills you may want your dog to have and what things they tend to like and search out a class that fits both your needs.
Does your dog need special help?
Some dogs may need more from obedience lessons than others. Is your pup suffering from separation anxiety or acting aggressive? If so, you may want to look into one-on-one classes for your dogs with behavioral specialists who can help you and your furry friend work through these issues.
There is a class for every dog, you just need to take the time to find it!