Seeking Expert Outside Help

In This Chapter

^ Knowing your training options ^ Choosing an obedience school ^ Hiring a personal dog trainer ^ Deciding on a dog camp

ou have a number of choices when it comes to Buddy's education.

You can

1 Train out of a book, such as this one. 1 Participate in group classes. 1 Have someone else do the training.

Each choice has its own pros and cons, and your own personality and lifestyle determine your preference.

No matter what decision you make, you need to keep in mind that there are enormous quality differences, not only in terms of training effectiveness, but also in how the dogs are treated. Dog training is a completely unregulated area, and anyone, yes, anyone, can proclaim himself a trainer.

When you attempt to make a rational choice, remember that there are many ways to train a dog. Beware of anyone who says only their way is the right way. Successful dog training depends not so much on the "how," but on the "why." Dogs aren't a homogeneous commodity, and the approach to training has to take into account the dog's Personality Profile (see Chapter 5), as well as your own personality.

Teaching skills aren't the same as training skills. To teach people how to train their dogs, an instructor needs good communication and people skills, as well as a thorough knowledge of dog training.

Table 20-1 breaks down the three major categories of training resources available to you.

Table 20-1

Available Training Choices

Choice

Pros

Cons

Training out of a book

Least expensive.

You can train how you want, what you want, and when you want.

You're not tied to a regular schedule.

Location isn't a problem.

You need to be highly self-motivated or training will fall by the wayside.

You have no one to critique you.

Possibly not enough exposure to other dogs.

Someone tells you what you may doing wrong and can help you succeed.

Schedule and location may be inconvenient.

The instructor dictates how, what, and when.

You get the opportunity to meet similar people.

It keeps your training on track with weekly sessions.

The training method may not be right for you or your dog.

It provides continuous socialization with other dogs.

Having someone else do the training

Little time commitment required of you.

Very expensive.

Training method may not be how you want your dog trained.

Within these three major categories, you have additional options. The other choices include

Ii An obedience class: If you find you need outside help after trying the techniques in this book, we recommend an obedience class where you're instructed how to train your dog. Aside from the socialization with other dogs, the time you spend together will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. (See the next section, "Going to Class — Obedience and Training Schools" for more information.)

^ Lessons from a private dog trainer: You can take private lessons from an instructor, either at your house or some other location. Under such an arrangement, the instructor teaches you what to do, and you're then expected to practice with your dog between sessions. In terms of time and effort, this is one of the most efficient arrangements. (For more info, see "Finding a Private Trainer" later in this chapter.)

^ Boarding school: We typically don't recommend sending your dog away to a boarding school, but we do include it because it is an option for some people, especially when dealing with extreme aggression. You send your dog away for three to six weeks during which time an instructor trains your dog. (See "Heading to Boarding School" later in this chapter for more tidbits.)

Another related option is a doggie daycare center, many of which offer training, but again, you'll have to learn how to get Buddy to respond to your commands.

^ Doggie camp: These camps are perfect if you and your dog want to head away for a short vacation. On the vacation you spend time with an instructor who helps you train your dog. (Check out "Enjoying The Great Dog Camp Adventure" later in this chapter.)

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