Your pooch may need Cliff Notes but do you know where to find quality canine obedience classes in the San Francisco Bay Area? Sometimes there are so many options you don't know where to start and in more rural areas, group class offerings may be slim. The priority should not be just hearing about a certain class but to find out why people enjoy those classes. Maybe they like the fact that it's a small class for personalized attention, others may have enjoyed packed puppy socials for the number of dogs their pup gets to play with. Depending on your needs and wants, here are some tips on where to find out about group obedience classes.
1. Ask your friends and neighbors who have dogs. Word of mouth is priceless, particularly if other people's dogs are well behaved or if you've noticed a good improvement in their behavior since they started classes. Don't hesitate to ask where they took their pooch to school and if they were happy about the experience, they'll be sure to share their information.
2. Ask your vet. Some veterinary clinics offer classes in their lobby space but even if they don't, they may know where their other customers have gone and been satisfied. Particularly at larger multi-vet pet hospitals such as Pets Unlimited in San Francisco. Most veterinarians are not specialists in behavior but based on your needs, they should be familiar with the different options in the area.
3. Check with your pet professionals. You may have worked with a local dog trainer to resolve a specific problem or to start out with general puppy training. Or maybe you work with a dog walker, groomers, dog day care or frequent a local pet store. If they don't offer classes themselves, they should be able to suggest classes it your area.
4. Where did your dog come from? Ask them. Breeders, rescue groups, shelters may be able to recommend classes in the area. They want to see their dogs succeed in the families they live with and should be happy to make a recommendation.
5. Have you checked social media outlets. Post a request on Facebook or Google+ and you may be surprised at how many responses you get. A search of Yelp in San Francisco for "dog training classes" brings up over 30 responses. As with anything, take crowd sourced reviews with a grain of salt, you can't please everyone all the time. However sometimes the reasons listed for liking or disliking a class may be just as important as any reason for you to sign up.
6. What about your local SPCA or humane society? Some like the SF SPCA or the Marin Humane Society are large with dozens of classes, other facilities may offer the bare minimum for obedience. All have a vested interest in helping dogs learn the rules so that they can stay in their homes for life.
7. Trust in Google. If you don't know or haven't met anyone with a dog to ask about obedience classes, try searching the internet. Narrowing search fields to location or specialty, such as dog sports or Canine Good Citizen training, may help narrow the field so you can find the best class for you.
Finding local classes in your area is just the first step. Next you'll have to research the best options, compare their schedules and offerings and then possibly speak to the instructors. The goal is to find a class that isn't just suitable but that you'll look forward to attending so that you actually attend the training sessions. Stay tuned for further posts about finding the best group dog training classes possible.
If you have a question or would like to share an experience with group dog training classes, please speak up. Leave a message in the space below and it may be answered or included in future posts.