If you have a dog, you’ve almost certainly heard about dog obedience training at some point. This type of training is a good idea for every dog to undergo. It will make them a calmer, more confident dog, as well as make them much easier to handle and control for their owners. Dogs that go through obedience training are generally better behaved and less troublesome than dogs that don’t.
In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at dog obedience training. What is it, and how is it different from other types of training? We’ll answer these questions, along with discussing training costs, different routes you can take, how long you should expect to spend on training, and a lot more.
What Is Obedience Training?
Obedience training is training your dog to obey basic commands that are necessary for keeping proper control of the dog. This makes the dog safer for the world and the world safer for the dog.
According to the American Kennel Club’s guidelines, there are a minimum of five basic commands that all dogs ought to know and respond to, which are:
These commands constitute basic obedience training, though obedience training can go much deeper than the basics. Obedience training is all about teaching your dog how to behave in social situations and environments.
Your dog should be able to respond to your commands no matter where it is or what’s going on around it. The best-trained dogs can even lie down on a busy street and watch their owner walk away, never moving until they see the signal. Some dogs are trained to walk directly between their owner’s legs when on a crowded street surrounded by people.
What Sets Obedience Training Apart from Other Types of Training?
Obedience training is considered to be one of the most important types of training as it teaches your dogs the fundamentals of obeying commands. It also teaches your dog how to be trained. Both of these make it possible for your dog to learn far more advanced things in the future, but without those basic building blocks of obedience training, your dog won’t be able to graduate on to other types of difficult tasks and training.
Additionally, obedience training is training that could save your dog’s life. You never know when your dog responding to your command at an instant could mean the difference between life and death.
Also, consider how obedience training builds the bond between a young dog and a new owner. Dogs should begin obedience training at the young age of 8 weeks, making it the perfect opportunity for a new owner and their dog to start forming that close, lifelong bond.
Different Ways to Do Obedience Training
Once you’re ready to start obedience training, you have several options as to how you wish to proceed. The cheapest way to obedience train your dog is to do so at home using a DIY approach. Slightly more expensive, but probably a bit better overall in a group training setting. You can take your dog to regular obedience training classes where you’ll train together with other dogs and people.
There are also some pricier ways to have a private trainer take care of the process. A private trainer will train your dog without all the commotion of a class full of people and dogs. Or, you could opt for a boot camp kennel or dog obedience school, where you drop your dog off for the week and the trainers perform the obedience training without your input.
Really, deciding between these methods comes down to two questions: how much effort do you want to put in, and what level of professional help do you want along the way?
How Much Does Obedience Training Cost?
The cost of dog obedience training depends greatly on what type of training you opt for. If you decide to train your dog on your own without any professional help, then you could do it for free. Alternatively, you could purchase a program that will give you some guidelines to follow when you’re navigating the waters of first-time dog training.
Things start to get far more expensive when you decide to take your dog somewhere for training. Classes are much cheaper than private training sessions, but they can still put a sizable dent in your wallet. At the low end, classes start around $30 per session, though they can be as pricey as $80 for each class. The average cost is about $50 per class, and each class usually lasts for an hour.
If you’re looking to hire a private trainer, expect to spend quite a bit. Prices begin at about $80 per hour, though that’s on the low side of things. The average cost of a private trainer is $120 per hour, which is more than twice the average hourly cost of attending an obedience class with your dog.
For those who want to drop their dog off as it is and pick it up a week later with noticeable better behavior, a boot camp kennel or dog training school might be the most choice, though it’s also the most expensive by far. These are inclusive programs where you drop your dog off for a set amount of time and they take care of the rest. You can expect to spend $200-$600 each week your dog is in dog obedience training school or $500-$1200 every week it attends boot camp kennel training.
How Long Does Obedience Training Take?
The amount of time you have to spend in obedience training depends on several factors. How often are you performing training sessions and how long do they last? If you’re training 5 days a week, your dog will be trained much faster than if you were training just 2 days each week.
Also, the experience level of the trainer will affect how long training takes. A more experienced trainer might be able to train a dog in fewer sessions than an inexperienced trainer.
If you’re training on your own, it could take you 4 weeks or 4 months to train your dog. Taking it to obedience training classes, you could expect to spend somewhere between 6 and 10 weeks in training, depending on how many classes you attend each week. With a private trainer, it will depend on the trainer, their methods, and how well your dog responds.
Professional Obedience Training Programs
If you’re looking for a professional obedience training program or a private trainer for your dog, then you have many resources to help you. One of the best is the American Kennel Club (AKC) obedience training club search. This interactive map lets you open a list of AKC-approved obedience training centers near you by simply clicking on your state. Any training facilities on this list are trustworthy according to the AKC, which means it’s hard to go wrong taking your dog to any facility on this list.
DIY Obedience Training Programs
For those who want to take their dog’s training into their own hands, DIY obedience training might be the best way to go. While you won’t have the professional guidance you’ll get from other training methods, you’ll get to build a strong bond with your dog and can even train in the comfort of your home.
When you decide to train your dog on your own, you’ll still want to find some sort of program to follow. For this, you can try searching on YouTube, as many experts have put out tons of videos detailing their training methods and techniques. Find someone you trust and follow their methods to help you successfully train your dog in obedience commands.
Keys for Successful Obedience Training
No matter which route you take, training your dog on your own or hiring professional help, two keys are essential for success.
Without consistency, your dog will never benefit from obedience training as fully as it could. You’ll need to make sure you’re constantly reinforcing the same rules the same way so that your dog doesn’t get confused. If you let it on the couch sometimes and not others, it won’t understand what you want. Similarly, if you allow your dog to jump on you in only some clothes, it’s not going to know when it can and can’t jump.
Along with that, you’ll need to be consistent with commands. Pick a single command for each action and always use the same command when you’re trying to get your dog to perform that action. If you change commands, you’ll just be confusing your dog when it might truly be trying to give you what you want.
Dogs don’t naturally understand what we want from them. In order for them to get what we’re asking for, they need some sort of sign, which usually comes in the form of a reward. Rewards let your dog know that what they did was right. Once your dog associates a reward with an action, you can get it to repeat that action in anticipation of receiving a reward.
Of course, rewards don’t always have to be material. Treats and toys do make great rewards, but you can also simply provide lots of love and praise when your dog does something right. This makes your dog feel great and still signals to it that what it did was what you wanted.
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Every dog and owner will benefit from obedience training. Not only does it strengthen the bond between owner and dog, but it also makes the dog much easier to keep under control, which can greatly improve safety in many situations. Obedient dogs listen well and can be trusted in any situation, making them much safer for themselves, as well as the people around them.
Featured Image Credit: Paya Mona, Shutterstock