Ahh! Autumn is on it’s way to New England and the kids are headed back to school. September is also a great time to think about taking your dog to school as well. Having a well trained dog is important and attending obedience classes not only has a big impact on your dog’s health and safety but will also help strengthen the bond between you and your fuzzy best friend.

dogs in a dog training course in a winter day

But with so many trainers, obedience schools and techniques how do you choose the one that’s right for you? We have a few tips to help you make some decisions.

Do your homework.

The internet makes it easy to research business and service providers. You can check out potential trainer’s credentials, look at testimonials and read reviews.

But don’t be afraid to reach out to trainers by phone or in person. Ask for references and to speak to the trainer about their career, enthusiasm for their job and training philosophy. Most schools will let you visit the facility or even observe a class. Just ask!

Make sure you’re comfortable with the school’s training techniques.

We recommend looking for schools with humane, nonviolent teaching practices. Trainers who encourage and reward good behaviors tend to get more appropriate results than those that employ fear and intimidation tactics when training your dog.

There are training options that utilize treats or clicker training. Some schools will encourage your dog to be part of a group while others prefer very small group or one-on-one training. Make sure you know what will be expected of you and your dog and that you will be comfortable doing it.

Know your goals.

A BORDER COLLIE THAT JUMP AN OBSTACLE OF DOG AGILITYWould you like your dog to sit, stay, lay down and come when called? Are you looking to herd sheep? Are you trying to address problem behaviors like biting, barking or aggression? These are very different goals and will likely require very different training. Speak to potential trainers about why you would like to attend classes and ask how they can help you and your dog achieve those goals. They will help you pick the appropriate classes and help you establish realistic expectations.

If you need specialty training in things like agility or problem behavior resolution, the school should be able to help you establish an education plan that will get you and your pup the skills you desire, or recommend a trainer who specializes in the discipline you’re interested in.

Dog training can be a wonderful experience for both you and your pup and good behavior will help you and your dog get out and have more relaxed and fulfilling adventures. So get out there – sit, stay and rollover – and have fun!

If you’d like more personal recommendations, feel free to stop by our store. Our staff has a great deal of experience with local trainers, a variety of breeds and issues, and they love to help!