When you get a dog, nobody gives you a guide on how to navigate pet parentdom. Unless you have a really nice friend who gets you a Dogs for Dummies book, you’re likely left scratching your head at your dog’s idiosyncrasies. In the case of pet parents seeking dog training, there are several questions to ask. Ultimately, you want to find a program that speaks to your dog’s specific needs. But with so many programs out there, how to tell what’s going to best serve your dog?
One of the fundamental splits in the dog training world is between obedience and behavioral training. These two veins cover the most common issues that dogs deal with. Whether your dog needs to learn to unwind stress or honor boundaries, you can find solutions within these two types of dog training programs.
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. Additionally, they 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.
- Day training, which is when a trainer takes your dog for the entire day and works with them.
- Board and train programs that require your dog stay with the trainer for 2-3 weeks at a time for focused, 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.
Dog Training Wisdom
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.