Dog training schools generally fall into one of two camps: positive reinforcement training or dominance training. The first approach is built upon a foundation of rewarding desired behaviorswith treats, praise and love; while the second approach is rooted in the false belief that you must establish yourself as the alpha-dog.
Goals: In order to find a good training program you must first decide what your goals are. For some, dropping their pup off with an experienced trainer is the ideal option; while others prefer to be fully involved in the training of their dog. Knowing what works best for you, your schedule and your desired level of commitment is a good place to start.
Temperament: It’s also important to consider the dog’s age and temperament when choosing between several good training programs. There are classes designed specifically for puppies, for older dogs and even for dogs who have been rescued. Look for a program that fits your dog and his unique needs.
Observation: Visit each of the dog training schools you’re considering and, if possible, sit in on a class. Observe the trainer and how he works with the dogs and their owners.Despite the popularity of TV shows featuring well-known trainers, the use of intimidation and punishment in training is abusive, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Ask: For this reason, one of the first things you should ask any trainer is, “What type of training methods do you find to be the most effective?” The answer to this question should give you a good idea of whether the trainer favors a positive approach or a dominant, alpha-dog approach.
Also, ask the trainer for referrals and call those who have taken classes from the schools you’re considering. Talking to past students may provide you with valuable information that could be useful when making your final decision.
Time: Remember that properly training a puppy, or re-training an older dog, requires time and patience. A positive, non-violent approach to training teaches you how to encourage good behavior in your dog in a loving way. It also protects your dog’s psychological health and guards against creating a fearful dog who is prone to biting, growling and other frightening behaviors.
Learning about the differences between dominance training and positive reinforcement training will help you choose between the various dog training schools in your area.Regardless of what form of training you favor, you will find that there are plenty of books, websites and other resources available to help you in continuing your dog training at home.