Dog Training Classes

It’s never too late to start!

If you’ve gained a four-pawed family member in the last two years, you will probably have missed out on ‘in person’ dog training classes. I know many trainers took their classes to the virtual world, which was a good compromise but it didn’t offer one of the key benefits of joining a class. Meeting other dogs.

If you’re in the market for classes, it doesn’t matter how old your dog is. A trainer might not want your mature dog in their puppy class, but they will be keen to welcome you to their ‘improvers’.

What to look for in a training class?

If you’re looking for training classes, as an IMDT Trainer myself I will always recommend looking for a qualified trainer in your area via the IMDT website. Alternatively, you can look for members of the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter.  Look for a trainer who can support you in motivating and rewarding your dog, this will help you to build a positive relationship. Ensuring that your dog wants to watch and listen to you, and most importantly sees you a person that adds value to their lives.

If you’re looking to attend a training class with others (a great opportunity for your dog to meet other dogs in a controlled way), I suggest you contact the trainer and arrange to go and watch the class first. A trainer will want to meet you and your dog before you start their class anyway, so this may be a good time to arrange this. Once, of course, you’re happy it’s a class that suits you and your dog.

Suggested questions ask the trainer

  • How are you qualified to train?
  • Are you insured?
  • Is there a dog first aider present?
  • How are the classes formatted, and what will I learn with my dog?
  • How much do classes cost?
  • How long do classes last?
  • What is the maximum class size?

 

A class should be relaxed, with enough space for people and their dogs to work separately. You should be able to see and hear the trainer clearly, and (believe it or not) it should be ‘relatively’ quiet. If dogs are barking loudly it can mean they’re not happy, or they’re over stimulated. Neither is what we’re looking for in a class environment. Firstly, dogs will be distracted and won’t be learning. Secondly, it won’t be enjoyable and may put your dog (and you) off from attending the next class.

Equipment

Each dog should be vaccinated (or have proof of immunity), have a lead and a collar with ID, and the person should be carrying lots of treats (for their dog!). Personally, I do prefer to use a harness with my dogs to protect their neck vertebrae when using a lead. Training should include walking nicely by your side (loose lead walking). You should have poo bags with you (mandated by legislation).

The trainer may have equipment for exercises or to help demonstrate techniques, usually cones, mats, toys, long lines etc. Your trainer will let you know in advance if there’s anything else you need to bring.

Enjoy!

Until next time

Jen

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