If you want a well-trained dog you need to become a well-trained owner who knows the right commands and how to give them properly. You'll also need to get that new pup started as early as possible if you want a well behaved dog that doesn't run into the street, jump on visitors, bark incessantly, or chew your furniture.
Get a head start. It's much easier to train a puppy and prevent problems than to wait till you have the Tasmanian Devil at the end of the lead. Some puppy classes start as early as 8 weeks. These early puppy kindergarten classes start owners off on the right foot and also socialize your puppy with other dogs and people.
Older dogs are perfectly capable of learning. I teach an adult basic class with dogs ranging from 6 months old to 4 yrs old. This class suits graduates of puppy class , rescue dogs, and any dog that is in need of a refresher class.
There are a few different options when it comes to training your dog and that depends on your budget, your available time, and your dog's personality. As I professional I stress that whatever training method you choose they all require a commitment to practice with your dog.
One training option is obedience classes. For those choosing an obedience class, professionals advise observing a session before signing up. It's always good to make your own assessement.
Private lessons is another option. The trainer will come out to your home and coach you on how to train your dog. This is done in individual sessions. There is also a day training option where the trainer will go out 2-3 times per week and train the dog and then schedule sessions with the owners to transfer what the dog has learned each week.
Obedience Class: Pro: Dogs get socialization experience. Con: Must share instructor's time with other owners.
Private Lessons: Pro: Individualized training. Con: More expensive then obedience classes.
Day Training: Pro: Good choice for busy owners. Fast. Dog is trained in weeks as opposed to months. Con: Very expensive. Usually several hundred dollar and if the fee does not include transfer session or time spent with owners teaching proper use of commands the dog, although trained, may not behave for the owner.
And by all means, if you see someone with a well-trained dog, ask them how they did it!
Dawn Lowery, CPDT-KA , Owner of One Smart Dog, LLC, teaches Puppy Pre K, Family Dog Basic Manners, and Family Dog Intermediate at Bark Avenue Pet House in Milford, CT. For information on private training you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.