Choosing the right training for your dog or puppy

You might be surprised to learn there’s no one-size-fits-all dog training class. Dogs need training for behavior, obedience, and, sometimes, breed-specific training. Whether you’re a new dog owner or have had a canine friend for a long time, you’ll want to make sure your dog is properly trained.

What are the different kinds of dog training?

Most dog owners will want their pets to go through behavioral and obedience training schools, as both types of training are important for every dog. There can be overlap, and some doggy schools may combine behavior and obedience classes.

  • Behavioral dog training focuses on teaching your dog the difference between right and wrong – even when you’re not around. Behavior training focuses on preventing bad habits like chewing on furniture, digging, or barking at the wrong time, and even potty-training your puppy.

  • Obedience training focuses on teaching your dog commands, on- and off-leash, and also usually includes fun tricks or games like fetch.

  • Special training will help your dog develop certain skills that are required for some specialized work or breeds. For example, if you want your dog to compete in agility competitions you’ll need to train them accordingly. Dogs that work with law enforcement, search and rescue services, and people with disabilities need to go through special classes and training for these highly specialized tasks. Some breeds have such strong instincts that it’s virtually a requirement to hone their skills with some special training – unless you want your Australian Shepherd misguidedly trying to herd geese at the park.

What kind of training does my dog need?

All dogs will need at least some behavioral and obedience training. Dogs need to be properly socialized so they won’t present a threat to other dogs or humans, not to mention that they need to know their boundaries and respect your commands.

Obedience and behavioral training are best implemented when your dog is still young – as an overused saying makes clear – but old dogs can still learn behavior and obedience with some time and effort.

Other types of training such as agility, herding, or other specialized training, will come after your dog has the basics down, which can be very early in their life, or after a few years of training.

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