If you’re a savvy new puppy owner, you’ll go straight to the best trainers in your area and enroll in a reputable puppy kindergarten class. Getting started with training and socializing early will help you mold your puppy into the adult dog that will become a fully integrated family pet —one that can go everywhere with you and receives compliments about his or her behavior.
How do you Choose a Trainer?
Most folks know enough these days to read reviews and ask for referrals from friends with dogs. Go a step further and interview trainers to feel safe that you’ll be receiving the best training with the most current methodology. So many trainers out there are still utilizing old school, aversive training techniques. There is no reason in the world to employ techniques like “yank and pull” using choke or pinch collars. These methods went out long ago and have been replaced with better tools, like front clip harnesses or the head halti. I prefer the harness because dogs often dislike the material around their noses.
Many of the aversive trainers complain about having to give puppies treats and try to convince new puppy owners that they do not want their dog’s performing only when there is a treat involved. In this case, know that treats are only required in the beginning, while the puppy is learning. It’s important to reinforce the behaviors you like and most puppies will understand what is expected if a treat is delivered quickly. Once the behaviors that you feel are important are learned, the treats are “faded out” and the puppy learns to perform without them.
While you are doing your research, look at trainer’s websites, and be sure they talk about the science of canine behavior and the use of reward-based and positive methods. Training puppies using anything other than kindness will only create fear and fear may inspire aggression.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more puppy obedience how-to’s and dog training basics!
Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.