With so many types of training programs available to dog owners, it can be difficult to decide which kind of program is best for you and your pup. There are programs specialized to unravel years of behavioral issues, others meant to socialize dogs, and there are those that simply teach your dog how to high-five and roll over. If you’ve enrolled your dog in a training program and found the results were less than satisfactory, it may be because the type of training program wasn’t suited for your dog’s needs.
Training Options Overview
There are a couple different options when it comes to dog training programs:
- Group classes that meet once a week, usually to work on obedience training. These are usually pretty affordable and are ideal for people who work during the week and want to work with trainers during their sessions.
- Private classes where a trainer meets individually with you and your dog at your house, a park, or other designated location.
- Day training, which is when a trainer takes your dog for the entire day and works with them on behavioral or obedience training.
- Board and train programs that have your dog stay with the trainer for 2-3 weeks at a time for intensive, individualized training.
There has been much-debated research as to what kind of training is most effective, but ultimately it comes down to what works best for you financially, time-wise, and of course taking into consideration the type of training that will address the issues you want to see improvement within your dog.
Behavioral vs. Obedience Training
There are two main types of dog training:
- Behavioral Training is geared towards unwinding years of behavioral issues within your dog. This is ideal for rehabilitating dogs who have separation anxiety, aggression, or other behavioral issues that require a sort of “rewiring” of the brain to unlearn bad habits.
- Obedience Training focuses on teaching dogs commands, quick response, and setting boundaries. This type of training is ideal for puppies and other dogs who may not necessarily show behavioral issues but could use a lesson or two in how to heal on a leash, for example.
While this might be common knowledge in the dog world, we understand that not all owners know the difference. When it comes to correcting behavioral issues, we spoke to our principal trainer Jeff about common misconceptions that owners have when it comes to training their dog:
“Sometimes owners have this idea that they can just hire a trainer and all the dog’s problems will go away. There’s a whole process that has to be practiced continuously. Kind of like someone who’s in recovery, certain impulses are always there, and you have to be active and present in order to curb those impulses– it’s the same with the dogs. Dogs have a lot of impulses that may trigger them to act on certain behaviors. It’s a lot of work that both the trainer and the owner have to do.”
Since behavioral issues can address and unwind certain impulses, but may not completely get rid of them, we asked Jeff how you might keep unwanted behavior at bay. “The more a dog practices being in a certain situation, the more the brain will form certain connections. So basically, when a dog practices a bad behavior, the more inclined they are to practice that behavior. Whereas if you put the dog in a situation that reinforces good behavior, where the dog is happy and not stressed, then eventually they will become a calmer dog.”
Jeff Soto is our principal trainer that offers behavioral and obedience training here at Fitdog. More information our programs, can be found here.