Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Which is best? This guide will help you figure out the best dog training option for you and your dog.
What Options do you have to Train your Dog?
What would life be without dogs? They have been man’s best friend for over 11,000 years. Yet, even our best friends can have some pretty bad habits. Sometimes it seems cute, but when it comes to knocking a fresh pizza out of your hands after a long day, it’s not quite so adorable.
This doesn’t mean you have a bad dog! They just need a little training. All dogs will need some training throughout their life, and -- despite the old saying -- you certainly can teach an old dog new tricks.
By training your dog, you won’t only get a better-behaved friend, but it will improve your bond. Dogs are eager to learn and follow their pack instincts. Here is a guide to how to get your dogs trained:
Related: How to train your dog not to jump
What Types of Training Are There?
As dog training goes, there are many different methods you can take, but the processes can make a big difference.
Just like children, dogs learn best in their own way.
Three Options of Training
Private In-Home: This is the most recommended way to train a dog. The dog trainer will come to your home and address specific issues. It works well for busy schedules and can address most training and behavioral problems.
Group Classes: These types of classes are weekly meetings with a group of other dogs and owners. The trainer instructs the class much like a first-grade teacher would with students. They may also assign you and your dog homework. The cost is lower, but the training is more general and not specific to your dog.
What Type of Dog Training Should I Choose?
In-home training is the most recommended style of training your dog. It provides one-on-one customized training for you and your dog. It can help with basic obedience and behavior issues. This can be especially crucial if your dog is in a difficult spot and can help correct life-or-death behaviors.
In-home training helps to focus more on specific training your dog needs. Your dog may already know the sit command but needs to learn other commands, such as come or return. In a group class, you would have to work through the skills your dog already knows, where in-home training would allow you to jump right into what needs to be addressed.
In-home training is a very convenient option. This type of training works around busy schedules and is excellent for those families that have children. In-home dog training can also help adjust behaviors that only appear in the home. For example: Group classes won't help a dog that likes to jump the fence or dig its way out to escape.
These obedience dog training classes are weekly meetings with a trainer, other owners and their dogs. It's great to get your dog to socialize with other people and dogs. These are a lower-cost option and can offer some basic training. There will be some homework with this style of training.
There can be some downsides to this style. One of the most significant downsides is that the trainer’s attention is divided on the rest of the class. So while you can learn a lot, the training isn’t customized. It is also not able to address all of the behaviors your dog may have. These courses are made as overall training. Meaning, if your dog knows something, you can’t skip it or if your dog is struggling to master a part of the training, there will be no extra help.
One other thing that can affect your dog is that these classes are full of distractions. While it’s excellent for socializing your dog, it will be hard for them to focus. It's not technically a bad thing; if you can do it in a room full of dogs, you can do it anywhere! For example: While you're walking your dog, there's a dead bird on the sidewalk. With the "leave it" command that you will be learning in class, your dog should be able to walk pass it, without even sniffing it.
Dog Behaviors in Training
It was mentioned before, but dogs are very much like children. Your dog is an individual and will react to their environment in their own way. Dogs are also naturally pack animals, meaning they automatically want to define a pack order when they are around one another. This is why in-home training is recommended. It eliminates many factors and can allow a trainer to see the dog behave as they naturally would.
Related: What to know before adopting a dog
Why choose a certified trainer?
Certified trainers have the experience and knowledge to handle a variety of behavioral problems. Choosing a certified trainer can also give you peace of mind that your dog will be trained. A certified trainer can also offer customized training and advice.