Most dogs can benefit tremendously from a well-taught obedience class. "Most dogs" and "well taught" are the operative phrases. Is dog obedience training school for your dog? How do you evaluate basic dog obedience instructors? Even experienced dog owners can often benefit from some expert tips on how to train a dog, and a good instructor should provide valuable feedback on how you can improve your training skills.

However, not all dogs are ready for group class, and some may benefit from private training instead. Finding a good trainer and knowing what type of services your dog needs is key to setting him up for training success.

Choosing A Dog Obedience School

Selecting the right trainer can often be a frustrating process. Dog training is an unregulated industry, so anyone can print up business cards and market themselves as a dog trainer, behaviorist, or "psychologist," no experience or education required. We do not allow people to cut hair or apply acrylic nails without a license, and it is sometimes scary that no certification is required to train dogs.

It is worth taking the time to find the right trainer. Here are some places to find trainer recommendations:

Parks frequented by dogs: Look for happy, well behaved, confident dogs. Ask these owners if their dogs have received professional training. If so, ask for feedback, and make a note of their recommendation. Follow up on it with a phone call or email!

Review the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior's Guidelines for Choosing a Trainer . Keep them near you as you call around to local trainers, use them as a reference.

Call around: Ask questions about the methods employed by various local trainers. Ask for veterinary, client, and colleague references and follow up on them. Ask what trainers they refer to, and what trainers refer to them - follow up on these leads also! Inquire about education and experience and remember not to feel guilty for being selective, you are interviewing each of them for a job and your dog's behavioral health is at stake. Behavioral problems are the no. 1 reason for euthanasia and shelter turn-ins, so choose wisely!

If you are satisfied with a trainer's phone interview, ask to observe a class. If a trainer will not allow you to observe a basic obedience class, look elsewhere. When you visit class, talk to the students about their classroom experiences, and observe the dogs - are the dogs happy, eager to work, with wiggly body language, shining eyes, and happily wagging tails? Dogs and humans should be enjoying the training process in a well-taught class.

Puppy Training Obedience

If you have a puppy, it is advised that you look for a class which emphasizes socialization and prevention of behavior problems. At this stage of development, the need for socialization, development of appropriate interaction skills, and behavior problem prevention (now is the time to prevent such common behavior problems as unwanted barking, ...