Many dog owners assume that obedience school is the best way to train a new puppy. While it certainly can be beneficial, obedience school is not a replacement for at-home training – you still have to do some of the work yourself. Before you enroll your new puppy in obedience school, take the time to learn the pros and cons as well as some tips for making the most of it.
Things Dog Owners Need to Know About Obedience School
If you just brought home a new puppy, you might be thinking about enrolling him in obedience school. The thought of hiring someone else to train your puppy sounds great, but that isn’t exactly what obedience school is about. Here are some of the most important things dog owners need to know about obedience school:
- It doesn’t come cheap. If you are looking into group training sessions for your dog, it might cost anywhere from $30 and $100 per hour. If you’re thinking about hiring a private trainer, you might be looking at hundreds of dollars, sometimes more than $1,000.
- It isn’t a substitution for at-home training. If you hire a trainer to train your dog, he’ll learn to respond to the trainer’s commands but you’ll still need to do some at-home training to get your dog used to following your commands.
- It can help new dog owners learn how to train properly. If you have never had a dog before, enrolling your puppy in obedience school is as much about training him as it is about training you – you’ll learn how to train your dog effectively so you can apply the principles to other aspects of training down the line.
- The sooner you start, the better. Though you can’t expect your puppy to follow commands at 8 weeks old, it is never too early to set the stage for training. When puppies are very young, obedience school is as much about socialization as it is about training.
- It’s about teaching the basics. You shouldn’t expect your puppy to come out of obedience school knowing how to jump through hoops or catch a frisbee. Obedience school for puppies is all about the basics – sit, stay, lie down, and come. He may also learn some leash etiquette.
- It takes time to see results. Many obedience classes are held for an hour once a week for six to ten weeks. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll have to work with your dog outside of class to reinforce the things he learns.
- It’s all about consistency. Your dog has a natural desire to please you, but he can only do that if he knows what you want. Being consistent in using the same commands and offering praise and food rewards when your dog follows them is the key to solid dog training.
If you think that obedience school might be the right choice for your puppy, take your time in finding one. Many national and local pet store chains offer obedience classes, though this many not always be the best option. Do some searching and ask for recommendations from your vet, groomer, or the local animal hospital. Make sure that whatever class you choose is led by an experienced professional.