Tips for Choosing an Obedience Class

Back to school is an exciting time for kids from coast to coast. And as you watch the kids head off to class, it might occur to you that your dog could use a little education time, too. After all, a well-trained dog is an asset to any community. He’ll be welcome in more situations and be safer overall. But before you sign up for a class, be sure to consider all of your options.

What are Your Goals?

Before you start your search for a doggy training class, take a moment to think about your goals. What do you expect to get out of the experience? How much time are you willing to commit to the experience.

Be realistic! You may think you want that perfectly trained pup you see at the dog parks but you have to remember that you’re limited by the raw materials you’re working with—your dog and your own skill level. If your dog is a difficult case, it will take more than a couple of introductory classes to get where you want to be.

Who is the Right Instructor for You?

When you’re looking for a trainer to work with, you should be looking for two important qualities. The first is someone with experience and skills right for your situation. You can do that by checking their references and training certifications. Most will be happy to share this information with you.

Secondly, you want someone who has a similar obedience philosophy as you do. If you’re pretty laid back, you can’t go with a drill sergeant of a trainer. If you end up working with someone whose philosophy you don't respect, you’ll never keep up with the ongoing work after the class is over.

What Type of Class Would Be Best?

There are just as many kinds of classes as there are trainers. You can choose one on one sessions or group classes. Classes vary in length for times and session, from a few short sessions to ongoing weeks of work.

Some classes are restricted to certain breeds or dog sizes. There are puppy classes for basics and refreshers for older dogs. And of course, there’s your cost considerations. You may be looking for an intensive several week-long obedience school but you may have to settle look for more budget conscious options.