Choosing A Good Dog Training Class
It is worth taking some time and effort to find a good one. There are usually many to choose from, but they vary considerably in quality. At worst, bad ones can be upsetting and damaging for both you and your dog. The best classes will help you to learn how to train your dog easily, help to motivate you, help you solve problems, and work with you to train your dog to respond to cues and have good manners.
Where do I find out about them?
- local internet search
- dog owners with well-behaved dogs
- veterinary surgeries
- dog warden
- dog rescue charities
- pet shops
- boarding kennel
Word of mouth
Personal recommendation is usually a good way to find a good class. Ask as many people as you can and you will gradually begin to get an idea of which are the best classes in your area and which are not so good.
Visiting without your dog
An essential part of finding a good class is to visit several without your dog. This gives you time to assess the classes properly and find out which is the one you want to go to. If you take your dog, you will be asked to get involved and, as a consequence, be less able to be objective about whether it is a good class or not.
What to look for
- Positive training methods for training dogs and humans, using praise, food treats, and games with toys
- Training is effective for both people and dogs so that all are learning and progressing
- Calm, ordered class
- People and dogs are having fun
- Puppies under 20 weeks are kept separate from adult dogs (more for the benefit of the puppies, but if all are in together, it shows a lack of knowledge on behalf of the trainer)
- Classes are structured and progressive week on week, rather than being run on a roll-on, roll-off basis
- Small class sizes (8 dogs maximum per trainer/assistant)
- No stress and tension
- No check chains, prong collars or electric collars
- No rough treatment of dogs, grabbing, shaking, shouting at dogs or pinning them to the floor
- No spraying with water pistols/air sprays
- No throwing of noise makers
- No humiliation or shaming of owners
- Ask yourself "would my dog and I look forward to coming to this class"?
- The best classes get booked up early, and may even have a waiting list, so be prepared to wait if necessary.
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK is a voluntary organisation established to improve the welfare of dogs and the competence of dog owners through the promotion of training skills. Their techniques are based on up-to-date, researched, methods that apply the principles of kindness, fairness, and effectiveness, and are in keeping with modern learning theory. Find them at www.apdt.co.uk