Classes and Trainers

Whether you are a first time dog owner or an experienced one, everyone can benefit from professional assistance at some point.

Most people wait until their dog is exhibiting a behavior problem before seeking help. That’s too late! Dogs benefit from training and socialization throughout their entire lives. You should consider enrolling your dog in an obedience class as soon as your dog comes into your life.

Obedience and socialization classes have many benefits, including:

  • You and your dog learn to communicate better with each other.
  • If you already have experience with dog training, classes not only offer you a refresher course, but may also open up new techniques to try.
  • Your dog learns to focus on you and obey you despite distractions (the other people and dogs in the class).
  • You have access to a professional who can answer your questions and provide direct advice tailored to you.

Private lessons and assistance from a professional may be necessary if your dog is unable to attend classes, if the behavior problem is severe, or if the behavior problem occurs only in specific situations. It is important to get advice from a professional when your dog is acting aggressively or fearfully, as these behaviors can get worse if they are left untreated or are treated incorrectly.

In the U.S., there is no national government organization that oversees licensing or certification for dog trainers and canine behavior counselors. Just about anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. Therefore, it is important to know how to select a good dog trainer. These links offer some advice:

ADTN: How to Choose a Dog Trainer
IACP: Selecting a Trainer
Guide to Selecting a Behavior Consultant

Group classes are fairly easy to find. You can check with local animal shelters, rescue groups, your veterinarian, pet stores, and local pet publications to find nearby facilities that host classes.

If you need some serious help from a professional, these are some organizations who certify dog trainers and canine behavior counselors:

Association of Pet Dog Trainers
National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors
International Association of Canine Professionals
Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors
Animal Behavior Society

Next Page: Canine Sports
Previous Page: Training, Socializing, Managing

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