This week we're dedicating a series on finding the right type of dog training for you and your dog. Last Tuesday we introduced this series.
Your dog is bouncing off the walls. Or jumping on visitors. You have a new puppy peeing on the floor. Your dog is looking a little sad after so many short walks. Your dog is growling at visitors. Barking at every dog he sees on walks. She actually runs away every time you call her. There are so many options for dog training that it can be overwhelming to decide what is best for your needs and family.
There are (approxamately!) six types of training to choose from, depending on your needs; puppy socialization class, basic manners class, private training, special activity training, board-and-train, and in-home training. Today we are looking at private training.
Who: Private training can be done as in-home lessons or you may meet the instructor at a facility or public location. This is the ideal type of training if you have very specific goals or have a problem you are trying to address. Dogs who are not yet ready for a group class (very shy, reactive, hard to handle) should have private training to help address those issues as well as get a start on basic manners. This is also a good option if your schedule does not allow you to fit into a group class either because the day or time won't work or you have a constantly changing schedule.
What: If you have a specific behavior that only takes place at home, such as house training, or hesitation to go into the crate or house, or even you just need your dog to walk nicely on a leash, private training will be a better use of your time. Group classes primarily only address basic manners and not behavior issues. But private training can be appropriate for basic manners if you can't get to a group class. You can also find private lessons to work on teaching specific behaviors (your dog to bring back the ball!) or activities (such as agility or rally obedience).
When: If you are experiencing a specific challenge, the sooner you call and schedule, the better. Waiting to address problems can make the problem worse. Private training can sometimes happen along with group classes.
Why: Addressing problems initially and focusing on the issue at hand are important. Basic manners do not solve most behavior challenges, despite what many people think. Yes, manners can help and are important, but the problem at hand should also be addressed.
Cost: Cost varies depending on whether you are meeting the instructor at a location or have in-home training. Additional fees can apply for travel, specialty training, or the quality of the professional. Beware of very high or low fees and carefully check out the instructor.
"I'm on a limited budget. My dog is growling at visitors. I called a trainer and was told that a group class is appropriate."
Group classes may be cheaper per hour, but group class time is divided among all the students and addressed basic manners, not changing how your dog feels about visitors. Reactive dogs are not appropriate for group classes and it may be best to contact a veterinary behavior professional for best results. If anyone says group classes are appropriate for reactive dogs, gather a little more information, but be ready to run away really quickly!
"I live really far away and want group classes at your positive reinforcement facility."
The private training can be a great option if you are traveling a distance. Yes, it costs more, but the entire lesson is spent on the behaviors you need work on. Additionally, if you are not coming on a weekly basis you are saving a lot of time and money for the travel costs.
"Who in the Columbus area would you recommend?"
This really depends on your issues at hand. Look at the first piece in this series and contact local instructors. If you are experiencing a behavior problem, check with the OSU's veterinary hospital, they now have a veterinary behavior professional.
Tomorrow we'll look at specialty classes, such as agility, obedience, and tricks.