Training your pup strengthens the special bond that took root when you brought him into your family. But if you’re unsure about how to teach your puppy good behavior and habits, you—and your pup—can become quite frustrated. Enrolling your puppy in obedience classes is a great place to start. Not all classes are the same, though, so follow this four-step guide to help you find the perfect puppy school for your best friend.
1. Basic training or advanced tricks?
You’ll need to determine exactly what you want your puppy to gain from obedience school. You may just want him to learn the basics, such as sit, stay and come commands. On the other hand, you might want your pup to learn more advanced tricks, like how to shake your hand or roll over. Or you may want him to learn to behave better when the two of you take a walk. Knowing what you want your pup to get out of obedience training will help you weed out schools that don’t quite align with you and your fur baby.
2. Do your homework
Check to see that trainers at the obedience schools you are considering have the proper certifications. Not all schools will have certified trainers. This doesn’t mean the school can’t be a good fit for you and your pup, but certifications do hold trainers accountable to certain standards. On the other hand, not everyone who is certified is truly an expert. Sometimes trainer experience is more important than a paper hanging on the wall.
3. Talk to other pet parents
Referrals are a great way to evaluate potential puppy schools. People who have had experience with the school will give you the inside scoop on the training process prior to signing up. If you don’t know anyone who has taken their puppy to obedience classes, ask the school you are considering to provide you with a list of current and previous clients. Most obedience schools will be happy to provide this information.
4. Pay attention to red flags
Some obedience schools will allow you to view a typical training session prior to enrolling your pup. Use this time to identify any red flags with either the trainer or the school in general. Are the classes too large? If so, your pup might not get the one-on-one attention she really needs to succeed. Also take note of any safety procedures the school follows to protect their furry students. You want to make sure that your pup is being trained in a safe and enjoyable way.
5. Take the lessons home.
Once you select the right puppy school, remember to practice the same training techniques in your home! This will provide the consistency your puppy needs to learn new behaviors quickly and will strengthen your relationship.
What criteria do you consider when searching for the perfect puppy school? Share your thoughts in the comments!