What to look for when lining up obedience training for your dog.

Group training is an inexpensive way to teach the basics. This is the foundation for a dog’s learning. Many dogs go beyond this to work with agility trials, advanced training skills, Canine Good Citizenship (CGC), therapy dogs and other titles.

One-on-one or private lessons teaches in isolation and does not allow for the dog to be socialized. We would recommend this only if you’re dealing with specific associated behaviors.

Socialization is the major advantage as the dog must get use to the idea of having other dogs around. They must be exposed and learn to ignore major distractions in a controlled environment. You will learn the skills of how to walk the dog down the street and pass others.

Do more then just call if you are unfamiliar with the school.

Plan to attend a class or two before hand or enrolling. The first class is pretty wild. The last class is amazing what the dogs and owners learn over a period of time.

Look for training styles, abilities and people skills. How do they handle difficult dogs? How do they handle shy dogs? How do they handle fearful dogs? What are their attitudes towards German Shepherd Dogs (or your breed)? Towards rescued dogs?

Watch out for trainers who promise or guarantee results.

Look for humane training methods that use gentle, effective handling skills, not harsh or abusive methods which are unnecessary and often counterproductive and may even be harmful to the dog.

Look for trainers who have ethics, before profits. Is the trainer understanding and out for the welfare and quality of the dog? What are the class sizes like? Can they offer you references?

Look for trainers that have a sense of humor. If it’s not fun for both you and the dog, you maybe working to hard. If you’re not excited about training your dog, your dog is not going to be excited about learning new things.

Think of hiring a trainer for obedience school, just like you would if you were looking for a babysitters, day care for a child or educational schooling programs.

Sometimes to get the best quality you may have to look beyond the front door steps of your communities.

Talk to your vet for referrals, look at local animal shelters (most understand family pets), call state and local humane societies, check with local adult education programs (many offer basic obedience) and you can also post to various dog listserves.

Look for trainers that use praise, motivation, reward (food/toy) and use consistency.

Once you have established this communication system with your dog, continued to use them in your daily routines for the betterment of the dog. They will come to love you for their proud work and they will be a more enjoyable family member.

They look to you for your leadership and guidance more then ever.

A trained dog is a happy dog and a happy dog has an enjoyable life to live :o )

– Mary Farren, GSRNE Foster Home Training Director


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