Whether you are taking your new puppy to their first training class or teaching your old dog new tricks, there are many types of dog training methods and classes to fit your personal needs. Some dogs may need behavioral training that includes house training and good manners such as no barking or chewing. Others may need obedience training for basic commands such as sit, stay, and come. Vocational training provides specific skill sets to dogs that have been chosen for specialized rescue, therapy, or working jobs like herding and hunting. Before enrolling your dog in a training class, it is important to determine your training goals.
Types of Dog Training Classes
One-on-one classes and group classes are the two main types of training to choose from. Both have their own unique benefits. Before you commit to any class, you may request to sit in on a session to make sure the trainer and class environment will be a good fit and positive experience for both you and your dog.
One-on-One or In-Home Classes
One-on-one training lessons can be provided either at the training facility or in your personal home. During one-on-one lessons, your trainer will be focused solely on your dog. This will allow the trainer to address specific training issues you and your dog may be facing and provide a personalized training plan to effectively train your dog. If you chose to have one-on-one lessons in your home, you will be able to work in an environment with limited distractions and focus on behaviors that are specific to your home and neighborhood. One-on-one and in-home training may be useful for dogs that are fearful of other dogs, and can also provide a flexible option to fit your personal schedule.
Group classes provide a great opportunity for socialization. This is especially important for new puppies to practice good manners with other dogs. While group classes are common for puppies, these classes can provide training for all skill levels and ages. Group classes provide an opportunity to learn from other dogs in a group learning environment. Another benefit of group classes is a consistent schedule. Once you pick a class schedule, your dog will have consistent and frequent classes to improve their skills.
Methods for Dog Training
Alpha training is based on the theory of social hierarchy and pack mentality. Historically it has been seen that dogs are submissive to the dominant dog in the pack. Using this theory, owners may practice training methods to be seen as the alpha dog in their home. By showing confidence and authority, your dog will naturally start to feel a social hierarchy. While practicing this training method it is encouraged to have your dog sit and wait for you to eat first, leave rooms first, and not allow your dog on furniture.
Positive reinforcement training is used to reward positive behaviors while ignoring unwanted behaviors. Rewards for positive, desired behaviors include treats and affection. Unwanted behaviors are not approached with punishment, they are ignored.
- DO: Reward dog for relieving themselves outdoors (desired behavior).
- DO NOT: Punish dog for reliving themselves indoors (unwanted behavior).
- DO: Reward dog for dropping their toy or ball during playtime or fetch (desired behavior).
- DO NOT: Punish dog for pulling toy or ball away during play time, or jumping for attention (unwanted behavior).
Similar to positive reinforcement training, clicker training uses a reward for desired behavior. When beginning clicker training, a verbal command is given, the behavior is executed, and a reward is given to the dog at the same time as the clicker is sounded. Clickers and whistles provide a short, sharp noise to alert the dog when the desired behavior has been completed. With consistent training with this method, the dog will learn the connection between the clicker noise and the reward.
Electronic methods use shock or vibration collars to alert the dog to undesired behaviors. This method is effective for dogs that are training off leash, including dogs that are learning yard boundaries. Improper use or overuse of electronic collars can create long term stress and fear. When using the electronic collar method, it is important to consult with a professional dog trainer.
Breaking through History
Dog training methods were first seen well before the 1900s. In ancient times, it was a common belief that the spirit of dogs, animals, and even young children needed to be broken. Later in history, people began to adopt more humane methods. In Europe and North America, people began to approach animal training with a science-based methodology. Helene Whitehouse Walker and Blanche Saunders trail blazed the idea of dog training throughout the Great Depression. This new-aged idea of training focused on praise, collar training, and physical guidance for desired behaviors. Throughout the new century, dog training has continued a progression toward more positive reinforcement based training methods. These more dog-friendly training methods have introduced concepts such as treat training and socialization.
February is Dog Training Awareness Month. This concept was started in 2010 by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. This campaign brings attention to the importance of training and provides resources to make training and socializing a fun and useful experience. Providing training that is effective for both you and your pet will provide a foundation of good behavior. It is the hope of this campaign that proper training of dogs will curb the number of dogs surrendered to shelters due to lack of training and socialization.
Training Resources in the Brevard County, FL Area:
890 N. Banana River Dr. Merritt Island, FL 32952
*I have numerous clients who have successfully trained their pups here and had a wonderful experience! She uses Positive Reinforcement Training only.
Brevard County, FL: Melbourne, Palm Bay, Viera, Suntree, Malibar, Beachside
Central & South Brevard County, FL: Palm Bay, Melbourne
Your dog training may include a variety of methods and classes to accomplish your training needs and goals. Just like people, dogs may have good days and bad days. Some days your dog may show great improvement, and other days may feel like things are still a work in progress. Training is an ongoing learning process throughout your dog’s life, not a onetime fix. It is important to keep calm and limit stress during training. Always keep in mind that training should be a fun and positive experience for you and your dog!
Training your dog and maintaining their good behaviors will be beneficial to both you and your dog. Good behavior is essential to attract and keep the best pet sitters. When you need extra help with pet care, work with a professional pet care service like Space Coast Pet Services who will work with you and your pet to provide ongoing training so all of your hard work isn’t wasted. From dog walking, house sitting, and even pet taxi rides, Space Coast Pet Services provides reliable, trustworthy care for your favorite pet friends.
After traveling the world as a ‘military brat’, Melanie settled in Brevard County, FL in 2013. She is the mother of 2 amazing children and 2 adorable pups. She volunteers at her children’s elementary school, Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds (HART) and served on the Committee of her son’s Cub Scout Pack. When not being a Mom Taxi between hockey practices, Cub Scouts, fire stations, horse riding lessons and various school activities, she enjoys reading, swimming, hiking in the mountains and traveling. (And naps!)