Tip 66 – Dog training courses – obedience training – socializing your puppy
In general, puppies that have had obedience classes with other puppies have less behavioural problems than those without any training. This is because dogs are natural pack animals and need to learn how to act with other pack members. Within the pack there are higher ranking and lower ranking members and even in a one dog household, the other human members are seen as part of the pack from the dog’s point of view. Often though, we don’t know what our dogs are telling us and we wonder how to get them to understand or listen. This is why a course with other dogs, humans and a good trainer eases the communication between everyone.
The best obedience courses for puppies are group classes where you are present with other dogs and their owners. The puppy learns how to act with other dogs, with you and other dogs, and with many different distractions. These courses simulate the distractions that dogs experience all the time, but your dog learns that you are its anchor no matter what is going on. You become the top dog, the pack leader, alpha etc., and your dog should always listen to you regardless of what is going on. There are courses where you send your dog off to be trained for a month and it comes back learning basic commands. What happens all too often in these cases is that the dog listens well to the trainer but less well to you. This is because the trainer has become the leader of the pack and due to your absence during the training, there is a natural gap in the learning process and the establishment of rank from the dog’s point of view. For the best results, you need to learn with your dog.
- As a general rule the best time to begin obedience training is between 7 weeks and 18 weeks.
- If you’ve adopted a dog that is older it’s not too late to obedience train it, it’s just easier to do it when they are puppies.
- Always get a recommendation for a course or trainer from someone you trust like your vet, other friends, clubs etc.
- Courses that use punishment techniques like chain pulling and hitting should be avoided. Good courses use reward to motivate the dog, not punishment to scare it.
- Classes generally last about 1 hour and run for about 6-8 weeks.
- Good classes provide homework exercises between classes.