By: Amber Roberts
Obedience training is an excellent step in your relationship with your dog. Whether you have a new dog or a dog who could use a brush-up on manners, a basic dog obedience class is a great way to build a foundation of skills that will benefit both you and your dog in the long run. Additionally, training classes allow you to bond with your dog and allow him the opportunity to learn and exercise his mind, as well as his body. You’ve enrolled your dog in formal obedience classes; so what can you expect next?
How should I prepare for class?
Your initial class may be a humans-only orientation. This provides an opportunity to make sure you know what to expect, without the flurry of fur that comes with a roomful of distracted dogs in a new place.
Prior to class, make sure your dog is properly vaccinated and healthy enough to attend a class. This will require a trip to the veterinarian for a physical exam and vaccinations. You may need to submit your vaccine or health records to the trainer before your first class.
To make the most of each class you will want to bring along any supplies your trainer recommends, which may include:
- A dog collar with identification tags
- A non-retractable leash
- Bring a few varieties so you can find the best motivator for your dog
- For some dogs, a toy or praise may work better than food
- A treat bag
- A clicker
What will my dog learn?
If you have a puppy between eight weeks to six months of age, he may benefit from a puppy kindergarten class. Puppy classes tend to focus on socialization and may introduce some basic obedience skills, while basic obedience classes are geared towards dogs six months of age and older and will cover more ground.
A basic obedience class is more than sit and stay. Manners are important, but a beginner dog obedience class can help your pup learn about interacting with other dogs and people in addition to the many lessons on good behavior. Additionally, your dog is not the only one who will benefit from class; one of the goals of an obedience class is to hone your own training know-how with the help of your trainer. She will also be available to discuss additional behaviors you observe at home.
Enrolling in a group class can help your dog learn how to listen while surrounded by distractions, work on socializing with other dogs and people, and figure out how to pay attention even when you’re not at home.
A class size between five and ten dog and owner pairs is common. A small class size is ideal to help keep all of the dogs focused, and to ensure you’re getting any necessary one on one attention you may need from your trainer.
Skills you can expect to work on at a basic level are:
- Name recognition
- Leave it
- Polite greetings
- Leash walking
How does my dog learn?
You may expect to see a room full of dogs and their owners, the words “sit” and “down” ringing through the air until the dogs comply. The reality may be much different. Trainers will usually recommend that you limit the number of times you make a request. Instead of demanding that your dog sit, you should lure your dog into the correct position, state the command, and praise your dog for a job well done.
You may be wondering why you’d praise your dog for something you tricked him into doing. Your dog may not have known he was sitting when you said it, but because he wants to please you he will likely repeat the action in order to receive more treats and praise. If you reinforce the behaviors you desire, he will remember and repeat those behaviors in the future.
Positive reinforcement, providing a reward in response to the behavior you’re trying to achieve, is the most recommended training method. Reinforcement doesn’t always mean handing over treats and food. Part of training is phasing out the treats and replacing the food reward with praise. Many trainers recommend clicker training; the use of treats along with the “click” of a handheld clicker will teach your dog that a “click” means a job well done. Trainers also make use of a word such as “yes!” or “good!” rather than the sound of a click, making sure to use the word every time your dog receives a treat or does what you’ve asked.
How long does dog training take?
Training classes tend to run for six to ten weeks, meeting once or twice per week. This provides a good amount of time to work on basic manners and training, but every dog is different; breed (some may be more calm or excitable than others), age, and prior training should all be taken into consideration when setting expectations for your dog.
Practice is also important! If you’re working with your dog only once per week at class but not reinforcing that learning at home you won’t be doing either of you any favors. The skills you learn at class should be applied daily: practice at home, at the dog park, or while you’re walking. Without consistency your dog may struggle with the basics, and you will likely fall behind in class. Short practice sessions will help you and your dog advance your skills, so take five minutes a few times per day to have some fun practicing the skills you are learning at class.
While practicing new skills with your dog, there are some things to keep in mind. Training should be fun, so keep it short and simple at first. Always end your training sessions on a positive note, and don’t push your dog to continue if he seems to be getting frustrated.
Basic obedience classes are not meant to resolve larger behavioral issues (like leash aggression). If you have behavioral concerns aside from basic obedience and manners, you may need a private consultation and additional training. If you have other training needs, your trainer can assess your dog’s behavior and make recommendations for further instruction.
Should I enroll in a group class or private class?
You may find that a group class is not the best learning environment for your dog. A reactive dog may benefit from a smaller class size or private lessons. A very shy dog may do well in a group class if given the time and space necessary to feel comfortable. If you communicate with your trainer and pay attention to your dog’s signals and body language you can find the right training option to meet your needs.
Experienced dog owners may wonder if a class environment is necessary. You may have the skills you need to teach your dog, but you have much to gain by attending a basic obedience class. The socialization that a class offers is a wonderful thing for your dog, especially if you don’t often have a chance to visit with other dogs. And the opportunity to learn in a new environment will help your dog learn that no matter where you are, he should practice his skills and manners. The trainer may also be able to offer new methods or make recommendations to give your training a boost.
If you start off on the right foot with your dog you can spend more time enjoying each other’s company and less time struggling with impolite behavior. Basic obedience training classes are a great option to supplement the daily training you practice at home.
14 thoughts on “What to Expect in a Basic Dog Obedience Class”
My husband and I just got a new dog and we were thinking we should take an obedience class. Thank you for all the tips about what we should do to prepare for the class. I agree it would be very important to make sure we get our dog properly vaccinated before we go to the class. I would want to protect our dog and other dogs. https://www.topdogschool.com/services
My dog is very vocal, but also very smart. He shakes with both hands, sits, lays down, rolls over and sits up pretty. He also sits by his food /water dish and waits until he’s told to ‘eat’. But i cannot get him to not bark, all the time. Hoping you can help me.
It’s interesting how you said that a training class would take anywhere from six to ten weeks. We just bought a little puppy and we want him to be well trained by the time that he is fully grown. I wonder if there is some kind of puppy preschool that I could look into that would be easier for him as just a little baby.
I’m thinking of getting a dog, but I want to get my dog enrolling in obedience class. It’s good to know that training classes generally run for 6-10 weeks. I’ll be sure to plan on classes to take about this long for my dog to get the training it needs. https://desertskyk9.com/home/family-pet-training/
My sister and her boyfriend have bought a puppy together. They’ve signed up for an obedience class, but they aren’t sure what to expect. This article is very informative about what to be prepared for and what to bring, like treats, a leash, and maybe toys. https://sodakgundogs.com/started-dogs
Need potty training help.
c b bvfhd hz fhgvhzhvhuyr gfyauyf ye g RY37T53 47YQ876T8R 4BD YF7 YEuDFGR u FUIAR
G LRpz oNH P[orj a hg hr hah bgu aui hoar5
A useful article about how dogs are trained. I also went through the training of my dog, went to a couple of classes, but because of the difficult work schedule, I did not have enough time, but it is important to train the dog while she is small. In dog obedience, online courses helped me https://www.outstandingdog.com/behavior/dog-obedience.html
It was interesting when you said that training classes teach the necessary skills for interaction with dogs and people in addition to basic command obedience. I want to find a professional dog trainer for my new puppy to ensure that our life together is as stress-free as possible. I’m glad I read your article and got an idea of what to expect from basic dog training classes! https://cincinnaticanine.com/
As a result of a study of 12 dogs on an MRI scanner, American scientists found that dogs can distinguish real words from pseudowords that have no meaning. https://www.fuzziebuddies.com/ Interestingly, it is the ability to distinguish words from gibberish that characterizes the ability to learn the language, and in people – to the ability to speak meaningfully.
Training your dogs definitely helps to create a bond between you and your dog. I have Golden Retrievers at my place and they are well behaved. Indeed an amazing article on obedience training. https://linktr.ee/dogtrainingforpuppies
Hello everyone, Thank you, very cool. A routine yearly visit for checkups assesses your overall health. It helps in preventing bigger health issues on time even before time. https://meditest.in/ The potential problem are often treated by the doctor if you conduct a routine test. Some disease is extremely subtle and it shows out only they get majorly serious. This can be identified well if you go to seek a doctor regularly.
I want to congratulate you for publishing such an informative content piece. Having a healthy relationship with the dog is good. And being close to your pet is beneficial. However, pet lovers/owners should be careful about their health, as many diseases have come to people via animals. So, pet owners should take proper care of their health. And having a full body checkup (https://www.uniqpathlab.in/)is beneficial in this regard. They will have treatment for an illness in its early stage, as such a test makes them aware of a disease as it starts developing in the body.
I really appreciate this post highlighting the concern of dog’s Obedience Class for their better appearances & training for them leading the Healthy Life, having a pet is more then just a blessing where as the dogs are considered the most lovable & loyal friend of us,
nothing feels better then looking the beautiful beach view with your dog sitting just by your side.