Group dog training Classes May Not Be Right For You
Many canine owners inquire about group
obedience classes, however, classes are wrong for most dogs
and owners. Group dog training classes are very popular and
with good reason. They are affordable for most families and
they seem like a practical solution to your dog training
needs. However, this is usually not the case. Please take
a moment to review our position on group dog training classes
and perhaps you too will reconsider whether or not they are
a good choice for you and your dog.
Many people think that obedience classes are a good place to socialize their dogs, which sounds like a perfectly reasonable assumption. The truth is, proper socialization occurs when dogs are in the litter, which is the most critical time for social development. Many strays and dogs belonging to “backyard” breeders are separated from their mothers and littermates too soon which contributes to many socialization issues. Anytime you introduce dogs with aggression issues to other dogs, or dogs that need to be socialized for any reason, you need to be sure you're doing it right. You need to be in a situation geared towards socializing and you need the help of an experienced professional to guide and assist you. Obedience classes do not focus on socializing, which is the reason why the instructors cannot take time out of the class to help socialize all the dogs properly. We offer a free, basic class every Saturday at Millbrook Dog Park that will get you started in the right direction. Please contact us for more information.
If you need to teach your dog good obedience, keep in mind there are 3 phases to training. The LAST phase is generalizing, or in other words, teaching the dog that sit means sit no matter where you are and what’s going on around you. Classes have it backwards by introducing distractions while trying to teach the meaning of a command, setting you and your dog up for failure. The acquisition phase, or learning phase, needs to be done in a distraction free environment. The reality is that classes are simply easy money for trainers and most people find the $125 fee affordable.
Some people will claim that it is a good idea to train around distractions. Unfortunately, the type of distraction found in a class is not a real world scenario even if that logic applied, which it does not. What classes have kids screaming and running or riding on bikes and skateboards? What classes have cars driving through them? What classes have visitors ringing doorbells and coming through your front door? If you want your dog to be prepared for that type of real world distraction, then you need to train your dog in a distraction free area first, then slowly introduce these obstacles.
Classes are also not a good idea for:
• People who are shy or have public speaking anxiety.
• Professionals or busy families with busy schedules.
• The elderly.
• Pregnant women.
• Owners with disabilities.
• Dogs with specific behavior problems.
• Dominant or aggressive dogs.
• People who want fast results.
Dogs get stressed out in classes, which could lead to aggression. You need to be aware that if your dog is the slight bit aggressive or easily stressed out, you will be asked to leave the class. If you don’t believe me, go watch a class on the first night and see how many dogs snap and lunge at each other and get told to leave. Plus, if people are in a class, it’s reasonably safe to assume they have no control over their dog and wouldn’t know what to do if a fight broke out.
Classes are also bad ideas because a trainer cannot solve a problem that occurs in the home without seeing it happen and seeing the circumstances involved. The owner's opinion of what is happening, or the way they describe it, is often misleading because they may be leaving out vital information that a good trainer will identify as a contributing factor when they see it firsthand. People do not associate certain things with the problem that is occurring. Trainers always need to see the entire picture without biased accounts from the owners to solve the issues.
If all this wasn’t enough to convince you, consider this. Classes do not account for individual temperaments, or, personalities. They train all dogs the exact same way! These are not assembly line parts, these are our dogs. Every dog I ever trained was different from the last and required a slightly different approach. Classes do everything one way because there is no time to offer the individual attention each dog deserves to have if they are going to be successful.
Lastly, why does it take 8 weeks to teach basic obedience? I can tell you that it does not take 8 weeks. We teach all this and more in only 4 sessions. The best dog trainers spend just as much time with the owners as they do the dogs. They realize that people unknowingly sabotage their dog's success using faulty logic and by applying human psychology to their dog. A responsible trainer will not only train your dog, but will also prepare you to deal with any potential issues that may arise in the future and show you how to control these problems with ease.
If you do not connect with your dog on a psychological level, all you are left with is brute force and bribing with food. At Born to Lead K-9 Academy we have a very simple mission statement: “The last dog trainer you’ll ever need to hire for any reason.” We stand by that, and we are here to make you and your dog successful. Don’t be fooled by the allure of the cheap classes. Remember the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” Even if you don’t hire us, hire a reputable and experienced trainer that offers private, in home training if you want to put an end to the madness and start to truly enjoy the magical
companionship of your dog.
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