So you just got a new puppy or rescue dog! Congratulations! Most new pet owners seem to recognize that training is a very important part of helping a new dog adapt to the household and respond appropriately in all situations. Historically, the group dog training class has been the ‘go-to’ setting to train the new dog. Just about every dog trainer offers group classes, but is the group setting the optimal environment for training your new partner? Here are 6 reasons to consider private training instead:
- Reduced Excitement: Group classes can be chaotic, exotic and over-stimulating for many young dogs. I have found that all dogs learn faster when they are able to concentrate, without the constant distraction of a new environment filled with lots of strange dogs and people.
- Reduced Anxiety: Many young dogs, and particularly rescue dogs have anxiety and fear issues. They are unable to cope in a group class environment. They will react fearfully or aggressively and cannot learn new skills when in this heightened emotional state. These dogs do far better in a quiet, private setting where they can relax and engage in the learning process without anxiety.
- Convenient for your schedule. Group classes are offered at regimented dates and times. A tremendous advantage of private training is the ability to schedule a lesson at a time that is convenient for you and your schedule. Further, the trainer comes to your house…How great is THAT!?
- Get more for your money! Private training in your home allows the trainer to teach the usual obedience training skills, but they can also help you with other common house behavior issues such as potty training, barking at the door, bolting out of the door, scavenging behavior etc.
- One-on-One instruction. The trainer in a group class environment must divide their attention among the entire group of dogs --- typically 8-12 dogs at a time. Private, one-on-one instruction is the optimal way for a dog and owner to learn how to work and live together in a cohesive manner and to receive comprehensive instruction and support.
- Save money in the long run! I have worked with a large number of clients who paid and attended group classes, only to later turn around and hire me for private training, when they realized their new dog was not learning or responding appropriately in the class setting. In short, they would have saved money in the long run, by starting with the private training program.
There is certainly a place for group dog training classes and for those dogs who are social, confident and able to focus in learn in this environment. However, as more qualified trainers move toward personal training models, is worth taking the time to consider your dog’s age, temperament and ‘quirks’ and give serious consideration to private training! It just may be the best investment you make for your new pal!