6 Things to Consider Before You Begin Dog Obedience Training
Do you remember the Disney movie Homeward Bound? The movie featured two dogs, Chance and Shadow, along with their cat buddy, Sassy.
Shadow was a mature, well-mannered, obedient, regal, and refined…the perfect dog! He was often aghast at the antics of the ill-mannered, wild-child, always-in-trouble dog in his life, Chance.
If you have a dog at home, it’s likely that your dog falls somewhere in the middle of the Shadow-Chance spectrum.
And if that’s the case, dog obedience training is something that will benefit both you and your dog.
Do All Dogs Need Obedience Training?
It’s easy to see the benefits of dog training if you have a Chance-type dog! But what if
you’re blessed with a Shadow-type dog?
The truth is that there are benefits to dog training for all types of dogs!
The Benefits of Dog Obedience Training
Shadow-types may not need to learn manners or basic obedience, but there are several benefits that even true gentlemen and ladies will benefit from:
- Mental stimulation. Just like humans, dogs need to keep their minds active to keep their synapses firing and to maintain their sharpness. Learning new behaviors and tricks keeps them entertained and relieves stress and anxiety.
- Preparation for the unexpected. Your Shadow-type dog is so good that you probably take them with you out and about. That’s a wonderful benefit to having a well-mannered pooch! Being refreshed on how to pay attention to you and to follow your cues will help your dog stay safe if you should encounter unexpected circumstances. No matter what surprises you, if you’ve been refreshing and practicing listening skills with your dog, you’ll be able to handle what comes your way.
- Develop a deeper bond. Learning new skills or practicing together deepens your bond. Spending time with your dog, focused on each other and being in tune with one another is a great way to enjoy the relationship you’ve developed.
- Understand your dog better. Training classes present you with many opportunities to see the world through your dog’s eyes and to understand the world through her lens. You’ll learn how she thinks and reacts and she’ll learn to read what you want, helping you develop a greater understanding between you.
- Old dogs can learn new tricks! A dog’s age is no barrier to learning and growing. Even your older, well-mannered dog can have a richer life by exercising his mind and his body by learning new skills.
Chance-type dogs, whether they’re young puppies or adults who have not been trained, benefit in more ways than the obvious. Of course you want your dogs to have basic obedience training like sit, stay, recall, and how to walk nicely on a leash, but here are some more benefits you may not have thought of:
- Both of you are safer. Untrained dogs are unpredictable, and that can lead to dangerous situations. When your dog develops the skills of listening to you and obeying your cues, you’ll have a greater sense of control. That’s important when your dog is around children, when you walk in your neighborhood, have visitors over, or take your dog out and about.
- Reduce stress for both you and your dog. Living with an unruly dog is stressful! If you cringe at the thought of walking your dog, dread the doorbell ringing, or fear having grandma over, you know the stress you feel isn’t good for you. And it’s not good for your dog, either. If you resort to locking your dog away, yelling at your dog, or simply avoiding going out, your dog will be stressed, too. Learning basic manners helps everyone feel better and opens so many opportunities for you to develop the kind of relationship you both deserve.
- Vet visits are safer and more productive. If your dog can’t sit still or isn’t socialized well enough for a vet exam, you won’t get the full benefit of the visit. Teaching basic commands means less stress at the vet and a better exam.
What type of dog training classes are best?
Now that you’re ready to reap the benefits of dog obedience training, you’ll need to determine which type of obedience class is right for you and your dog. Asking yourself the following questions will help you determine the right fit for you.
- What are my goals? Think about the end result you want or the highest priority for your situation. You can have goals as simple as not jumping on Aunt Suzie when she comes over to having a trustworthy off-leash hiking partner and everything in between. Do you want a social butterfly who’ll come with you to restaurants or breweries? Do you want your dog to hang out at the kids’ soccer game? Reverse-engineer the process to help you determine the right kind of classes for you.
- Does your pup have any behavior problems? If so, be aware of the time commitment. Your training will likely need to be longer and more consistent. For severe problems, finding a specially skilled trainer or behavior consultant may be important.
- What is the age of your pup? Training a young puppy who is going through puppy and adolescent stages is different from training an adult dog that needs training.
- Who will be responsible for the training? It’s important to consider who will be interacting with the dog. Consistent communication is key to success. Consider getting the whole family involved so that everyone is on the same page. If you have children, are they old enough to be a part of the training? If so, Sit n’ Stay has training programs specially tailored for dogs and kids.
- How much are you willing to invest? Yes, dog training is an investment, not only of money, but of time, energy, and effort, too. Make an honest assessment and realize that the old adage “you get what you pay for” is true. If you are willing to put in the time, energy, and effort, a group class or virtual training at a lower cost may be a great fit for you. But if you want private, personalized, guided expertise, those types of programs are going to be a bit more expensive.
- How much accountability do you need? If you are great at keeping yourself accountable and are willing to put in the time, energy, and effort, you may do great with a self guided online course. But if you’re like me, someone who needs a little motivation and accountability to keep you going, group classes or private training are great options. Some people benefit from the guidance of an outsider, one who will see your progress and help you go further and faster than you could on your own. Knowing your accountability needs will help you make the right training choice.
What Type of Dog Training Classes Are Available?
Sit n’ Stay offers a variety of obedience training classes to fit every need. After you’ve considered the answers to the questions above, you can choose classes based upon the time commitment, financial commitment, family dynamic, and individuality you and your dog need. Here’s a list of the class types we offer:
Group Classes: If you’re just starting out or need a refresher, these classes are a great choice. We offer puppy, basic, and advanced training classes. If you’d like a deeper dive on the benefits of group classes, check out this blog post.
Day Training: This is our “we train for you” option. We work with your dog several times per week and then we work with you to catch you up on your pup's new skills so that you can be consistent at home. What could be easier?
Private Training: This is our “we train with you” option. Using a combination of one-on-one training with group training, this is an individualized training that will address your unique needs and comfort level. With private training, we’re able to address very specific needs like preparing for a baby, homes with young children, behavior problems, therapy or more advanced skills, basic foundations, or focus on fun! For more on the amazing benefits of private training, click HERE.
Dog School: Think of this as an up-leveled doggie day care. While you’re at work, your dog can hang out with us and get the play, socialization, and mental stimulation he needs along with training on basic manners and handling real-world experiences.
Puppy Prep School: This training focuses on the special needs of the little guys. This program is designed and run by Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT) to specifically meet all the needs of your puppy. Because our puppies are all different and have all different needs at various socialization periods, each puppy must have their own customized program to meet these needs.
There are lots of things to consider when looking for the right obedience training for you, and with a little thought, you can find one that is a great fit for you, your dog, your family, and your lifestyle.
Life is better with a dog…and life with a well-behaved, well-mannered dog is even better!
Contact Sit n’ Stay and we’ll guide you to finding the right training option for you. Together, we’ll move your pup from the Chance end of the spectrum toward the Shadow end with love, gentle guidance, and a whole lot of fun!