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What are the benefits to taking my dog to obedience class?
There are many great benefits to taking your dog to obedience classes and these apply whether you're an experienced dog owner or a newbie, and whether your dog is an old timer or a young energetic puppy, but for starters...
Obedience class is the key to socialization
The most important part to raising any dog is to socialize your dog with others, of many different breeds and sizes, so that your dog is happy and comfortable playing with their own kind in any environment. A socialized dog is going to be much more relaxed and carefree on a walk through the dog park, playing at daycare, or greeting a dog guest when your friends bring their dog over for dinner.
Your dog can make new friends
While you may have plenty of friends with dogs and therefore have no trouble meeting up for play dates, others may struggle. Obedience classes are a great way to experience plenty of new dogs, especially if you join one with rolling admission so it's not always the same every week.
Your puppy will end up playing happily with other dogs
If you're getting a puppy, socialization is absolutely vital and the most critical period is between 8 to 12 weeks, which will determine your dog's future personality. The first two of those weeks must unfortunately be spent inside to allow time for the vaccine to kick in. During this time, even though your puppy can't join training classes yet, it's a good idea to carry them along anyway and sit in the corner so your puppy is still being socialized while not at risk of getting infected or infecting anyone else.
Obedience class will remind you to train with your dog
While most dog owners will spend some time Leash training their dogs, and perhaps also work on Sit, Down, and other basic commands, it's quite common to forget to practice general good manners, like not jumping up or not mouthing, and then you may complain when your dog continues to do these things into adulthood.
You'll be able to practice lots of tricks
The best solution is to train little and often, and a neat trick is to use your dog's kibble as training treats, and therefore force them to earn their meal. This means you practice for 15-30 mins in the morning and evening, slow down your dog's eating, and help shape your puppy into a polite obedient dog.
However, if you are often busy and don't always have time to feed the kibble one piece at a time, the obedience classes mean you have an hour or so to solely focus on training your dog, and then you can reinforce this training throughout the week.
You'll help your dog improve on their Obedience skills
Obedience classes are quite a distracting environment with all those dogs and humans playing around, and the enticing smell of treats thrown in the mix. This gives you a chance to practice your tricks from at home in an environment where it's a bit harder to pay attention, to help you increase difficulty until your dog will obey you even in the middle of a dog park.
Obedience class is normally run by an experienced dog trainer and behaviorist
The Internet can only provide so much advice when it comes to dog training and behavior. Most of the issues you will face when being unable to train your dog or behavioral issues are down to little subtle cues that you yourself may not even notice. However, someone with years of experience in exactly this field of expertise and can see your dog in person is invaluable help.
You'll have an expert helping you train your dog face-to-face and, if needed, one-on-one
It's important to find a dog trainer with experience and credentials, who uses only positive reinforcement based training, and does not mention the dominance or pack leader myths that are so often spread around the dog world. Once you do, you're signing yourself up for a class of great advice on not just training tips, but life lessons on how to raise a happy dog.
You can sign up for show discipline-specific training classes
If you think you've covered Obedience enough to be able to continue just working on it at home, you'll then be able to move onto training in various show disciplines from sports like Agility and Treibball to perhaps working dog skills such as Tracking. Whatever you are interested in doing with your dog, there will be an organization out there with experts to guide you in training your dog in a clear and consistent manner so you achieve exactly the results you want.
You'll have another community of dog-related connections
I'm not suggesting you start using your dog trainer as a replacement for a Veterinarian in times of illness. But, your dog trainer can offer you advice on other aspects of dog life such as good collars, leashes, or harnesses to buy (some will even have some on sale for you); help with crate training or other things you're struggling with at home; or may even be able to link you up to other people in the dog network such as recommended breeders if you're looking for a new puppy to join your family.
Obedience class is great fun!
If the above benefits haven't sold you on immediately signing up to your local class, then picture this:
- You and your furry best friend playing games, running around, laughing and wagging tails, meeting new friends, and learning great life lessons along the way.
- This isn't a boring school experience where you'll be given pages of writing to learn and recite.
- You and your dog will be tested on how well you've picked up the tricks, but since your dog will earn their treats either way, no one's that bothered about the outcome.
- You'll be given homework to practice what you've learned, but when you can turn every training session into a fun and entertaining play session with your dog, this will be treated with excitement not dread.
- And at the end of the day, if you don't like the people in your class or if you disagree with your trainer's methods, there are plenty of recommended dog trainers out there with Obedience classes you can join to get the best experience for your dog...