Several dogs, several owners. All meeting for the first time. The dogs appear somewhat nervous and wary of each other. The owners are nervous and worried they won’t do well.
Just four weeks later, what do you see? Calm, proud owners and confident, well-mannered dogs.
It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in just four weeks. The dogs get a real handle on all the basics they need to progress to more advanced obedience and happy, peaceful lives and the owners learn how to teach their individual dogs.
Working in a group with the distractions of other dogs and people, new smells and sounds all around, make classes so much more productive. And fun!
Each animal learns in his or her own way at their own pace. Learning how to recognize your dog’s signals for stress and boredom and “I’ve had enough” is critical to successful training and happy dogs.
They learn impulse control and to wait their turn. They learn to walk with other dogs and take potty breaks together. They show us their comfort level in terms of distance from other dogs and people. They show us if they are protective of their owners or understand there is nothing to be afraid of.
An hour of mental stimulation tires the dogs out and the rest so peacefully after class. Sometimes during!
And they always learn from one another – both the animals and the handlers.
Seeing how your dog is around other people and animals can be quite an eye-opener from the dog you see living in your home.
Check out local classes and meet with the trainer. See if their training methods dovetail with your vision of how you want to relate to your dog. Ask these questions:
What method of training is their expertise? Then decide for yourself which method you want to pursue.
What is their background – are they certified or licensed?
Are they familiar with your breed or set of issues?
Do they follow a set pattern each week for every dog or do they customize the lesson depending on a dog and handler’s needs and best path to learning.
Do they choose the dogs and handlers in each class or just sign people up according to scheduling.
Visit the training facility and see if it is clean, has no odor, separated from dogs not in class, large enough for the size class offered and a pleasant place to work.
Then go for it and keep learning together!