So you have a new dog-congratulations! Or maybe the dog has been in your family for awhile and you’ve decided it’s time to stop replacing your furniture and train your dog to be the smart, loyal, and obedient companion you’ve always dreamed of. The great news is it is never too late or too early to start training and as more people realize the importance of dog training more options are available to you. So, what’s the best way to train your dog? Is it important to sign up for a class, or should you hire a private trainer? Do you need professional help, or are you ready to DIY? Each option has its pros and cons.
The most common choice is training your dog yourself. It is important to realize that even if you get a professional dog trainer or sign your dog up for a class, you are the one that will be giving the commands. You might get help on how to make your dog obey, but no one can get your dog to obey you but you. When you are training your dog, get the whole family involved. Everyone in your family needs to be higher in the pack than the dog. As soon as kids are old enough to give commands and treats, incorporate them in the training practice.
If you are an inexperienced dog owner or if your dog has a serious problem, you might want to consider hiring a private trainer. A private trainer should be able to evaluate your dog and quickly determine why your dog is acting the way he is in addition to helping you solve the problem. Unfortunately, dog trainers are concentrated in the larger cities so if you are more isolated you might not have this option available. Most dog trainers are good, but be sure to ask for references and if possible get a recommendation from someone you trust. The private trainer is the most expensive option and you want to be sure you are getting a good one.
If you don’t want to get a private trainer but would like more guidance than self training, you should check to see if there are any classes available. Some pet shops offer classes and would be a good place to look first. Classes are great for dogs of any stages. It is especially important for puppies because it gives them a chance to socialize with other dogs and people. If your dog has aggression issues, either towards people or other dogs, it is important to fix those issues before enrolling your dog in a class.
Training your dog is a bonding experience and will make both you and your dog happier. Whichever training you use, it is important to start today.