Training your dog is an important part of responsible pet ownership. While common puppy behavior problems and housebreaking are discussed in many books and publications, here we'll discuss your options for basic obedience training and whether you want train your dog yourself or hire a trainer.
Obedience training can begin as early as three to four months if yon train the dog yourself. Most trainers believe puppies are not mentally or socially developed enough to benefit from group obedience class until they are six months old. Any sincerely interested dog owner can train his or her own dog, provided your dog has not already acquired a lot of bad habits.
You and your dog may want to attend a couple of lessons at a good training club. You may also want to arm yourself with a good training book.
Wait until your dog is six months old before taking him to a group obedience class, which is a popular option for many dog owners. Obedience groups not only provide an excellent
source of training, but also helps socialize your pet with other dogs. When you first visit a class, make sure the instructors treat their pupils kindly – no punishment or yelling should be taking place or be allowed by those in charge. Your local parks department or school district may sponsor an obedience group. If you're having trouble finding one, ask your veterinarian.
Professional training is a good option for some larger breeds or for dogs that have acquired bad habits. If you are looking for a professional trainer, find one who favors working with your dog in your own home. No matter how appealing it may seem to send a problem dog away to be trained, the reality is that this often is a waste of time and money. The dog may have perfectly with the trainer and then ignore you once it arrives home. A professional trainer will
equip you with the knowledge and confidence you need to train your dog.
The best way to find a good professional trainer is through a veterinarian or breeder's recommendation. Also, if you have any family or friends that can refer you to a reputable trainer then this would be the most ideal option. Arrange for an exploratory meeting with the potential trainer, you, and your dog. Then, make your decision.
Training takes time and patience and a capable trainer will stress this fact. Length of training depends not only on your dog's intelligence, temperament, and age, but also on how many bad habits he has acquired. Training requires you to take the lead, both as teacher and enforcer. After your dog has been trained you must not let him drift back into bad behavior patterns.