How to Choose the Right Obedience Class

Do you dream of having an obedient dog? Make that dream a reality! Getting your dog into a good obedience class is key, and the sooner you start, the better. What makes a good obedience class? Read on to find out.


It should be standard protocol for pet owners to take each new pup (or any new dog without previous training) to obedience classes as soon as he is old enough. Sadly, some wait until common misbehaviors such as chewing on personal items, urinating in the house, or running away instead of coming on command have begun to get out of hand. As with any training, the sooner it begins, the better, because there will be less negative behaviors to unlearn.

Your dog must learn to obey your voice and basic commands as soon as possible. While their excitable behaviors might seem annoying but harmless as a pup, it won’t feel that way if they dart in front of a car, bite a child, or try to play with a vicious dog. Remember that they grow quickly, and patterns are learned quickly. Something as innocent as letting your pup sleep in the bed instead of providing his own place of comfort and security may lead to a full sized four legged shedding machine pushing you out of the bed in the future. Then again, some don’t mind that so much. You will however want to save yourself from the embarrassment your dog walking you in front of the neighbors as well as jumping on or humping the guests who enter your home. The list goes on.

So how do you find the obedience class that’s right for your dog?  Here are some things to consider when making your choice.

What Skills Should Be Covered
If it’s your first time looking into an obedience class, you probably only have a vague idea what your dog should learn. Such as sit, stay, and come may seem obvious, but there are other essentials. A good obedience class will also teach you how to get your pup to heel, leave or drop an object, play with other dogs in a friendly manner, and continue standing or sitting calmly by your side when you walk up to another person with a dog instead of greeting them.

Picking a Good Instructor
It is important for you to see high-quality references and excellent testimonials from satisfied customers. This should be something you look for immediately, because if the trainer doesn’t have these things, you wont need to waste time checking them out in person. Once you have a good recommendation, make sure they’re able to handle dogs of all ages, from puppies to adults, and everything from basic to advanced obedience.

How Young Is too Young
If you have a puppy that is still getting her vaccinations and obedience class is not an option, that doesn’t mean you should wait for training. Private trainers will still come to help with very young dogs, and you can even do more informal “training” like setting up a doggy playdate with a friend whose dog you know is healthy and vaccinated. If there’s any doubt, however, then a not fully vaccinated puppy should stick with humans only until her vet gives the okay.

What Questions to Ask
Feel free to ask how rigid the class structure is and whether or not dogs with specific needs are allowed. Some instructors, for example, won’t let a dog into their class if they are experiencing a behavioral problem related to their leash. This is understandable, since the leash is necessary to complete much of the training. If this is your dog, then it helps to know before showing up. A smaller class can be an advantage in this scenario as well as others, where instructors will have more time to deal with unusual issues while still teaching the rest of the class.

How to Spot “Red Flags”
Any class that starts with playtime is a big no-no. it’s important that dogs can come to class and be calm at first, and then the instructor may allow social play. Starting with playtime teaches the dogs that they should immediately be able to play with other dogs whenever they see them, which can create issues for owners in public.

Another red flag is class size. No obedience class should ever have more than 10 to 20 people, in order to allow an opportunity for one-on-one attention. Lastly, you don’t want a class that refuses entry to dogs unless they are older than 6 or 8 months. As soon are your puppy has completed his or her vaccinations, they’re ready to attend an obedience class.


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