The Advantages of Group Dog Training Classes vs. Online Training Advice

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In today’s world, everything can be found online. It’s convenient and instantly accessible wherever or whenever you need it. So many well-meaning folks offer information and advice for free on YouTube, Facebook or other social media outlets. While we at Pack of Paws frequently share dog training advice on our blog and our Facebook page, this is in no way a substitute for a well-run group dog training class.

The advantages of group dog training classes: Exercise, Socialization, FUN!

Sure, there are advantages to online learning, but let’s talk about what Dog Training really SHOULD be. Your dog should leave the house. Not only is it good socialization, but walks provide valuable exercise for both you and your dog!

What about shopping at the pet store? A dog that is only trained in the home without experiencing the rest of the world isn’t necessarily able to transfer their skills to unknown environments.

Participating in a Group Dog Training class means that your dog is working for you while ignoring the distraction of other dogs and people. Your dog trainer and coach can help you develop the right approach to attain a focused dog when there is distraction.

Yes, even professional dog trainers need coaches!

A good Dog Training program means that you have a coach who will work with you, observing and helping you improve on your mechanical skills and the communication between you and your dog. A coach can help you effectively raise criteria. A coach will make the experience fun, laugh along with you and elevate the entire training experience!

I’ve been a professional dog trainer for a long time. My best-trained skills were learned with the help of an in-person coach. A coach can feel the relationship between you and your dog, help you to improve on your own skills and therefore help the dog understand what you are trying to teach. A coach can also work with your dog so that you can observe. I still train with a coach every week and will continue to meet with a coach for as long as I own dogs!

So many training tools – which one should you choose?

It’s easy to get confused with the myriad of dog training gadgets, equipment, hardware and gear out there. An educated dog trainer can help you select the right tool for your specific training purpose. From flat collars, buckle collars, martingale collars, to front hook harnesses, back hook harnesses, so many brands, which one should you choose and why? Is a prong collar appropriate for your dog? and how is it supposed to be used? What is a slip collar or choke chain for anyway? How should it be used? Cloth leash, leather leash, chain leash, each one has its use, which one and why and how do you use it?

Education + Experience = Expertise

I saw a post on Facebook recently with a photo of a coffee mug that said “Your Google Search does not beat my Law Degree”. The same thing applies to a great dog trainer. Great dog trainers are certified by the CCPDT and Great Dog Behavior Consultants are certified by the IAABC. Certification is important because it proves a minimum knowledgebase and skill level. It also proves a commitment to continued education. Would you want your children to have a teacher who attended their last conference in 1978? Between a bookkeeper who did moderately well in basic math in high school vs a Certified Professional Accountant – who do you want doing your taxes?

Take your training to the next level!

Your dog is part of your family and great training helps the dog become an enjoyable member of that family. When you embark solely on free or low cost dog training on the internet, or the only training you get is from webinars, the entire aspect of hiring a coach, hiring a dog trainer, training your dog to the highest levels is not possible.

The brightest children go to school, participate in extra-curricular activities, and have real in-person friends. Even children who are home schooled participate in programs outside of the home.

What can you expect from a well-run group dog training class or even private lessons? A good coach, camaraderie, fun and an excellent learning experience – all paving the way to a well-mannered, fun dog.

Next time you are seeking information about training your dog, look to a professional and highly acclaimed training center or private dog trainer.  Choose to work with a professional dog trainer/coach in person to get the most out of training, build your own training skills and to help your dog reach their full potential.