Whether you have just become a first-time dog owner, or you have raised many dogs in the past, it can be difficult to know whether or not you should enroll your dog in obedience classes.
To help you make the right decision, we have provided this thorough guide to obedience classes for dogs. We will explain the benefits of obedience training classes, as well as some of the potential drawbacks of this type of dog training. We will also explain what sort of training techniques will be used during obedience classes and what your dog will learn from completing them.
From there, we will also help you decide whether or not obedience classes are right for your pooch.
What Exactly are Obedience Classes for Dogs?
In simple terms, obedience classes are designed to effectively teach your dog patience and calmness so that their overall behavior is improved. By enrolling in obedience classes, your dog will also learn basic commands, such as “sit,” “lay down,” “paw,” and more. They will also learn how to properly walk while they are on a leash, name response, and basic impulse control.
After your dog has been taught the basics, they can move toward more complicated commands. While some obedience classes are more advanced than others, a basic set of classes will give your dog all of the basic skills that he or she requires to be a friendly, non-aggressive pet that knows how to behave appropriately in every situation.
What Can You Expect from Dog Obedience Classes?
In a typical beginner obedience class, your dog will be taught the following:
- Basic verbal commands, like “sit,” “stay,” “lie down,” “roll over,” and “paw”
- How to walk without pulling and tugging on their leash
- How to greet people and other dogs without jumping up on them or barking
- Not to chew and destroy furniture
- How to recognize their own name, which will help you get your dog’s attention when it is required
- Not to bolt when unclipped from their leash
Obedience classes are also important for socialization, as they will teach your pet how to behave around new people and dogs. This type of dog training will also teach your pup – or even your adult dog – how to navigate new environments without becoming anxious or scared.
What are the Benefits of Enrolling Your Dog in Obedience Classes?
1. Obedience Classes Can Improve Your Dog’s Confidence
Aside from the obvious fact that a basic obedience class can help your dog learn some really important and useful verbal commands, successfully completing obedience classes can actually help build up your dog’s confidence.
This is because learning new skills and receiving praise for doing so will make your dog feel better about itself. Dogs are natural people-pleasers, and they derive much of their own happiness and self-confidence from the reactions of the people around them.
Enthusiastic obedience instructors will praise your dog each time he or she learns a new command, which will make your dog feel really happy and confident.
2. The Skills and Discipline They Learn Can Keep Them Safe
Obedience classes can also be really important from a safety perspective. This is because dog obedience training teaches self-control and discipline. Before learning these basic skills, dogs have a tendency to bolt and nip. If, for example, you opened your front door and your untrained dog bolted out of the house, there would be a risk that they could run away and get lost, or run out on a road and potentially get hit by a car.
Aggression control is also incredibly important, especially if you have young children or another animal in the house. A dog that has not learned self-control could always pose a bite risk. Not only would this put those around the dog in danger, it would also put the dog itself in danger, as aggressive behavior around other dogs can lead to fights.
3. Obedience Classes are Less Stressful for Dogs and Their Owners
Since obedience classes tend to be taught by knowledgeable instructors that deeply understand the needs of untrained dogs, they can train your dog quickly and effectively, which is far less stressful for the dog.
It also means you do not have to undergo a frustrating and stressful training process on your own.
4. Potential Drawbacks of Obedience Classes for Your Dog
While obedience classes can certainly offer plenty of benefits for you and your dog, there are some potential drawbacks. For starters, dog obedience training can be fairly expensive, especially if you have enrolled your dog in a series of advanced classes.
It is also important that you choose a trustworthy and knowledgeable instructor. Unfortunately, not every obedience trainer will know how to teach your dog properly. This is why it is important to be very selective when choosing which obedience classes you will enroll your pooch in.
You should also remember that obedience trainers are not miracle workers. If your dog has some really bad habits, or they are overly aggressive, they might not be welcome in an obedience class. If the instructor deems your pet is disrupting the class for other dogs and posing a safety risk to others, they could be kicked out of the classes.
In this case, there is a good chance you would not be offered a refund, so it could be a costly mistake enrolling your aggressive dog in open obedience classes. If you worry your dog might not do well in obedience classes, you might be better off hiring a private dog trainer who will come to your home to train your dog one-on-one.
When Should You Enroll Your Dog in Obedience Classes?
If you believe that your dog could benefit from obedience classes, you might be wondering when your dog should start.
In most cases, puppies that are between 8-12 weeks of age will make the best students for obedience classes. This is because they have not yet had the opportunity to form bad habits, which can be really difficult to break. With that being said, anywhere between 6-12 months of age is also a great range for this type of puppy training.
So, if you have a puppy, you can start looking into obedience classes right away. In fact, some instructors specialize in working with young puppies, and they will actually charge cheaper rates than you would have to pay for obedience classes that are geared toward adult dogs.
With that being said, adult dogs can also benefit from obedience classes. “You cannot teach an old dog new tricks’” might be a popular saying, but it is not strictly true. Many adult dogs can still learn new commands if they are taught by a talented and passionate trainer, which is why it is so important to read reviews and do your research when you are seeking out obedience classes for your canine companion.
What Should You Look Out For?
Once you have decided that obedience classes are the right option for you and your dog, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do the instructors have credentials, such as professional dog trainer certification?
- Does the obedience course have a positive reputation?
- Are the staff friendly and professional?
- Are the classes designed for puppies, adult dogs, or both?
The decision on whether or not obedience classes are right for you and your dog is largely personal. Consider the potential benefits and weigh them up against the stress and complication of teaching your dog obedience skills on your own.
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