How to get the most out of professional dog training

by Cory Brannon August 08, 2014

How to get the most out of professional dog training

Professional dog training is a big investment of time and money, so it’s understandable that you want it to be successful. Here are some great tips to get the most out of professional dog training:

Set Realistic Expectations

Every dog is different; their gender, history, breed, age, and general personality all play a part in making up your pup. Some dogs are smarter, some more attentive, some more snuggly, and some more eager to please. Learn about the breeds that make up your pet and be patient with the parts of training that are difficult for them. Some dogs just don’t do some things well; your Greyhound is physically uncomfortable in the ‘sit’ position, Great Danes will never be the fastest at getting from ‘lay’ to ‘sit’, and your husky puppy may have a ‘pulling on the leash’ problem. This doesn’t make any of them bad dogs, and it’s important to realize that their genetic history may play a part in why certain areas of dog training are more difficult for them than others.

Have the Right Mindset

Your dog already knows how to sit; you see them do it all the time. You see your dog ‘laying’ in the middle of the floor while you are trying to cook dinner and you’ve seen your dog walk without acting like they are running track hurdles. The problem isn’t that your dog doesn’t know how to do these things, it’s that you don’t speak ‘dog’. Dog training about creating a language that both you and your dog can understand. ‘Trained’ doesn’t mean ‘Perfect’ As loyal as our pets are, they aren’t perfect. They have free will and because they aren’t robots, they can decide if they want to chase the ball you just threw….or lick themselves. Our favorite friends are much like us in this way, and just because you communicate your wishes doesn’t mean they will oblige. Positive reinforcement encourages your dog to do what you want, but it doesn’t require it of them. For better results, interact with your dog often and practice, practice, practice. Use the methods you learn and apply them to everyday life to keep your ‘working relationship’ healthy and your dog’s mind sharp.

Finding the Right Trainer

There are a few different ways of training your dog, and ‘positive reinforcement’ is by far the most effective when working with animals. The facts are simple; your dog wants to please you. He wants to do whatever it is you want him to do. This style of dog training uses a ‘reward’ method that plays off of your dogs domestic need to please by rewarding them for good behavior, like ‘sitting’. The right trainer can motivate your dog, and teach you how to communicate what you want from them in a way that will get results.

Finding the Right Class

Just because you’ve found the right trainer doesn’t mean it’s the best class. While private lessons are great for getting your dog to focus, so is socialization. Your dog sees the same things day after day, and a dog training class is a great way to help them experience smells, animals, people and places that they don’t see every day. In fact, the more you socialize your dog, the less likely they are to be distracted when it matters most. Your Time, Invested Dog training classes are big commitment. Many dog training series cost upwards of $200, and many dog training classes require you to be present for upwards of 6 weeks….and they still require quite a bit time working at home. Most dog training classes are worth the investment, but only if you are willing to invest your time along with your money. While an hour a week at doggie class is great for learning the steps you need to be successful with the new training technique, it’s not enough to really make sure that your dog knows all of the steps to graduate with honors. In addition to the weekly class, it’s important you invest 15 to 30 mins a day practicing what you learned in class. Dogs have short attention spans, and it’s always important to leave them ‘wanting more’ at the end of a practice session, so making practice short and fun is the key.

 





Cory Brannon
Cory Brannon

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