Group classes offer the socialization and human/canine distractions that all dogs require in order to be considered "trained". Group classes can help owners learn by observing other people interacting with their dogs and benefit from the camaraderie. Group classes still offer personalized training as we keep our classes small. Group classes are more affordable than private lessons and in today's economy, that's important ot all of us.
What should I seek in a group class?
Ask the trainer whether you can observe a class in session before signing up. Watch for the following:
- Is class size limited to allow for individual attention?
- Are there separate classes for puppies and adult dogs?
- Are there different class levels (for example, beginner, intermediate and advanced)?
- Are training equipment and methods humane?
- Does the trainer use a variety of methods to meet dogs' individual needs?
- Are vaccinations required?
- Are the students, both human and canine, enjoying themselves?
- Are dogs and owners actively encouraged?
- Is praise given frequently?
- Are voice commands given in upbeat tones?
- Are lesson handouts available?
- Is information available on how dogs learn, basic grooming, problem solving and related topics?
What's the best age for training?
Dogs of all ages can benefit from training. Dogs between 9 and 16 weeks of age should be enrolled in puppy classes. Regular classes are appropriate for dogs four months or older.
After you have selected a training program:
- Have your dog examined by your veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy, free from parasites and up-to-date on vaccinations.
- Don't feed your dog a large meal before class because many trainers rely on food treats to encourage or reward desired behavior.
- Bring the training equipment recommended by the trainer.
- Practice between classes with brief lessons that end on a positive note.
"Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole."