There are many reasons that dog owners should consider training classes. There are social benefits including improving the dog’s disposition toward people and other dogs. It also can help avoid noise phobias and accustom the dog to car travel. A second important issue is safety for the dog and the owner. Training helps to improve leash manners so a dog may walk in public on a leash without tripping an owner or another person. In more advanced training classes owners work on recalls (the dog coming back to the owner when off leash). This is a life saving skill if the dog accidentally escapes in an uncontrolled environment.
Home behavior can be seen to improve if a dog is properly exercised and challenged in training class. Many owners see a decrease in destructive and nuisance behaviors. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation.
Any age dog can learn new skills. There are two important early time periods for learning, however in the case of many rescue dogs owners miss these important times and must adapt to training a dog that may have had unusual life experiences. This may take a little different approach than starting with a puppy, but it can be done. Puppies take a great deal of time due to their high energy levels and short attention spans. Dog owners can consider these factors when selecting a dog to add to the family.
A graduate of dog training classes can take pride in public recognition of hard work when a passerby remarks on the good manners of their canine companion.
There are many ways to start training. The most common solution is group lessons. These may be found at local pet supply stores, individual training centers, or sponsored by a local AKC obedience club. Many training centers also offer private lessons. Private lessons can be useful for a dog that is overwhelmed in group situation, or if an owner wants to focus more work on a particular skill.
Training and related activities are available to purebred and mixed breeds. A new program with the American Kennel Club, AKC Canine Partners, allows mixed breed dogs to compete in many events. AKC activities that are available include traditional obedience, rally-obedience, and agility. Other types of competitions with national organizations include flyball, canine freestyle, carting, dock diving, and lure coursing. Therapy work can be a very rewarding outlet for the well trained dog.
Overall, training as a human-canine team can be a very positive way to strengthen the bond shared between dog and owner.