Sit, Stay, Speak!
Finally, what kind of support does the private instructor offer? For example, will you receive a written summary of your lesson with a specific training plan? What if a question arises? Does the instructor provide you with follow-up telephone or email support? If so, for what period of time after the lesson -- one week, one month, one year?
It shouldn't be surprising that in-home instruction is generally costlier than group instruction. However, one benefit is the prospect that fewer lessons may be necessary to accomplish specific training goals. According to Ford, "Since you'll work one-to-one with the instructor, it's possible to accomplish more in one private lesson than would be feasible to achieve in a group. Therefore, depending on the nature of your dog's specific training needs, and assuming that you're an owner who's committed to practicing with your dog regularly, you may be able to realize your objective with fewer training sessions. However, understand that dogs with complex behavioral issues may require ongoing instruction."
Another advantage to private training is that lessons can be customized to your specific needs. For example, suppose you contact a trainer for an in-home lesson because your adolescent dog is mouthy, a common challenge with some young dogs, especially when they're teething. When the trainer arrives and observes the dog, though, it's apparent to him or her that your dog may actually be developing a resource-guarding behavior (the overzealous coveting of food or other desired items), a behavior that you thought was part of growing up and would simply go away when your dog matured, but is actually something that would likely become more challenging with time. Training in the home setting enables the instructor to pick up on the nuances of your dog's demeanor and thereby provide you with great insight into your dog's needs. It also helps you to better understand and apply the training protocol that the instructor devises.
As you can see, the dog training journey you are about to embark upon has options. Happily, you've already made the most important decision -- you recognize that formal training is the key to a long-lasting relationship with your best friend. Now get out there and train!
Note: When searching for a group class or a private trainer, you may want to consider whether the instructor is a member of a professional organization, and additionally whether he/she is certified or endorsed by one or more of those organizations.
Dog training is an unregulated profession. In other words, anyone can say they are a trainer. Professional organizations are trying to bridge that gap by providing certification opportunities and continuing education for their members. For further information, check out the following links:
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers
- Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
- National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
- International Association of Canine Professionals
One caveat with regard to professional memberships, though. Training classes organized by local kennel clubs are usually taught by members who volunteer their time on behalf of their club and their community. Therefore, volunteer instructors may or may not participate in the professional organizations mentioned above.
Have you ever worked with a dog obedience instructor or training class? How did you make your selection? Tell us below!
2 years ago
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