Training your dog seems overwhelming if you are a new pet parent. However, you can achieve this project step by step. Socialization, positive reinforcement, and unwanted behaviors are a dog’s basic needs and can be training for them at any age.
This training builds confidence and creates a stronger bond between owner and pet. It is essential to begin training your dog as soon as he comes home, i.e., sit, go outside for potty, and go to their crate.
Training is an integral part of happy dog life, but the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically affected this industry. According to a study, the vet community is trying to find the risks of Covid-19 to companion animals and the possibility of zoonotic transmission.
Most of the coronavirus infections in domestic animals were linked to gastrointestinal disturbance and other mild clinical symptoms and recovered in a few days. However, there are rare cases of infections in animals, but pet owners are advised to adopt preventive measures.
So dog training programs were also suspended to avoid spreading infection among companion animals. But these training classes now resume with standard operating procedures in training clubs and communities.
Training Clus and Covid-19
Most training clubs resume training for dogs, but it is best to check relevant nations’ websites for more information. Rules are different regarding risk assessment in other countries according to government guidelines.
According to countries’ policies where dog training programs are held, preventive measures, social distancing, and face covering are a must in public gatherings, either outdoor or indoor.
Most training clubs provide a copy of the risk assessment for training and take into account respective measures if requested.
General Guidelines for Training Clubs Due to Covid-19
Due to global health and safety issues, dog training communities and clubs start private and group classes with standard operating procedures (SOPs). Here is a view of some guidelines that training clubs adopt:
- Must maintain social distance (6 feet) during an emergency and when passing the pet to the instructor to avoid contamination.
- Wearing masks and gloves is mandatory for trainers and owners.
- To provide hand sanitizer (alcohol-based) at the venue and during classes. Members should also bring their anti-viral hand sanitizer.
- To provide poop scop bin for dog waste.
- To provide a waste bin for rubbish.
- To provide first-aid facilities.
When Should You Start Training Your New Puppy/dog?
The general recommendation to start new puppy or dog training classes is as soon as you get him homes. Some experts and breeders suggest that the ideal time for training is after the completion of vaccination, but that is too late.
The perfect age for puppies to start training is between 6-16 weeks of age. Socialization helps them introduce themselves to new dogs, cats, and locations at this crucial developmental stage. Enrolling your puppy in training classes will allow him to learn socialization.
This socialization will make him a human-friendly and happy dog when they pass through the age of 8-18 months of their teenage.
Choose a Training Class That Suits Your Needs
As a dog parent, it would be overwhelming to choose a suitable training class for your pet with all options. Early socialization skills are critical to success in dog training programs.
Private classes provide one-on-one interaction, while group classes provide an excellent environment for learning. Classes are an ideal place to learn skills with all distractions around.
Daily physical exercises are vital for the mental stimulation and the overall well-being of dogs. Virtual training classes are a great option to make a bored dog happy if you are too busy to go for physical training classes or it’s rainy or too cold/hot outside.
These virtual classes also provide a great opportunity when your dog suffers from an injury or has undergone surgery. You can ask from following for recommendations before enrolling your dog in training classes:
Ask to Watch a Class First
Before signing up for a class, you can ask to preview the class first. Many training communities and clubs offer client owners to sideline the training sessions to understand the training program better.
This will enable you to decide whether it is suitable for your dog and how these classes run. Next, consider whether the course meets your dog’s training expectations and goals.
Finally, you can ask questions regarding timings, hygiene measures, teaching styles, and methods trainers adopt to teach.
Ask Friends, Neighbors, and Online Reviews
If you know some dog owners whose puppy/dog went through the training classes, you can ask for their views and experience.
Online reviews will also help you choose how these classes work, which course is best for your dog, and what teaching techniques are used in these classes.
Ask Your Vet
Your vet’s recommendations are essential for training classes as he knows some trainers in your area and how they run training programs. He may hear experiences from different clients. Your vet will also make sure that your puppy/dog has been dewormed and fully vaccinated before exposing to other dogs and public places.
Private Dog Classes
Some dogs face behavioral challenges that need extra support during training. So a group class setting may not be appropriate if you have particular questions and requirements that can only be addressed during one-on-one training classes.
Private lessons are ideal for evaluating situations such as pulling on the leash, barking, jumping, counter surfing, barging out the door. Advanced courses also deal with behavioral challenges such as fighting, biting, phobias, and aggression. In addition, a private lesson provides extra support between the classes through email, text, or phone.
Such classes are usually held at your home or indoor or outdoor training places, which suits you and your pet best to meet the desired behavioral challenges. In-home lessons are outstanding if you want to teach your dog home manners and housebreaking skills.
Your dog will get 100% attention from the trainer. The instructor will also teach you how to deal with distractions in your living environment.
Some private lessons also offer to take your dog to the local dog park, or for a walk in your neighborhood, and to other places where you usually go so they behave well at those places. Such lessons will help you deal with your reactive dog when other people, dogs, and animals are around.
Group Training Lessons
Some clubs offer group classes, a great option if you are looking for some fun time for your dog. These lessons are also inexpensive, relatively private ones to improve the obedience performance of your pet.
These classes are usually arranged with other dogs and people that provide a classroom environment. Your dog will learn positive reinforcement under the supervision of a trainer in a controlled and supportive environment.
A great feature of group training classes is that your dog will learn many skills in many different ways apart from obedience. In addition, these classes provide more opportunities for social dogs when more distractions are around.
Training clubs offer different types of group classes. These classes are usually arranged in small groups but socially distancing and other preventive measures must be observed.
Everyone’s safe participation is ensured by the ability of the instructor to control the class. This usually depends on the restraints and space of the training area being used and the ability of handlers and dogs to participate in the class.
You can choose which course suits your dog best and join the advanced ones according to progress in training.
Life Manners (Dogs 4 Months and Older)
A study shows that puppy training classes prevent behavioral issues at around four months. An obedience and manners class is the communication gateway between owner and dog. Young puppies are easy to train as they are impressionable.
These classes address basic manners like sit, come, stay, leave it and leash manners, and how to politely greet people. Advanced classes have the option of life manners, canine good citizen class.
Be sure to check with the trainer before enrolling in the class if your dog has a history of aggression, barking, lunges, and over-excitement. The trainer will decide which class suits your pup best according to his history. These classes teach some basic skills related to daily life are:
Name of Your Dog
You shouldn’t wonder if your dog does not know his name or show no response when you call his name. This is typical behavior. As soon as you bring your pup home, it would be best to build a strong relationship with him.
Start with their name and build a strong understanding of their name. You can pair this up with a treat. Call their name and if he turns their head toward you, reward them with a treat. Try to avoid overusing their name as they will start ignoring it.
The primary thing to teach your dog for training is to focus on you. Every time you introduce any skill to your dog, focus and paying attention are crucial factors.
This is like teaching your dog to respond to basic cues like “look” or “watch me.” This is die heard needed for public training classes, strolling in a local park, or hanging out with family.
For the safety of others and dogs, teach them a solid understanding of the cue “come.” If you see that your dog is not responding to your cue, “come” one, two, or three times.
It would be best to stop it as they will learn that they need to respond to the cues when you repeatedly say it.
The “drop it” or “leave it” cue will teach your dog to ignore or leave things on surfaces or the ground. If your dog is trying to eat something toxic, this cue will stop him from doing so.
When your dog ignores unwanted stuff (trash or something harmful), you can reward them with a tasty treat. The treat should not include any food or treat; you were told to leave.
Handling of Body
As a new pet parent, you will be amazed that your pet feels sensitive about touching different parts during a vet clinic visit. It’s crucial to address the handling issue of the body.
You can also take help from a trainer. Regular petting, handling, and touching are important cues to teach them. So they do not feel sensitive to touching any part of the body, especially ears and feet, when handled by a groomer or during a vet clinic visit.
Socialization (Puppies 8-15 Weeks Older)
Teaching socialization to your dog is crucial and should be started as soon as possible. These lessons cover aggression prevention, obedience training, socialization exercises, and manners appropriate to their age, so your dog build a healthy and happy life.
In these classes, your pup will enjoy off-leash time or loose-leash walking to enjoy and play with other dogs in a safe environment. These group classes also provide solutions for problems like digging, potty training, chewing, etc., and provide a safe environment for socialization.
You will notice that your dog reacts outrageously when seeing other dogs, cats, and cars on a leash during a walk in the evening. They become tough to control. Such behavior will keep joy out of the walk. Reactive rover training deals with lunges and barking, and you must consider enrolling your dog for training.
Barking is a normal part of training sessions, so keep training sessions positive. The primary purpose of this training is to evaluate the cause of barking and provide your dog with an alternative way to communicate.
This class is for timid, fearful, and shy dogs who can enjoy treats in a calm environment. These classes are best for 3-4 months of age. These build confidence in your pet and blossom him into a brave dog.
Dogs care about praise, either food or a toy. Positive reinforcement class deals with rewards for any desired behavior, i.e., toys treats, or anything your dog finds prizing.
According to the study, it’s a powerful tool for changing a dog’s behavior because reward makes him repeat positive reinforcement and show improvement as time passes.
However, positive reinforcement can only be successful when linked with timing. Immediately give a reward for desired behavior; otherwise, your dog will not associate it with the required behavior.
Besides the truth that most countries have leash laws, sometimes keeping on the leash is for dogs’ safety. So, every dog needs to learn how to walk on a leash.
If you want to introduce a leash to your puppy/ dog, you need to teach them how to walk on the leash. Research indicates that male dogs tend to create more leash tension than female dogs. Teaching loose leash walk encourages them not to lunge or pull on when on a loose leash.
Virtual Dog Training
You can opt for in-person classes with virtual courses. The virtual class is ideal if you or your pet avoid posing to infection during private or group classes. The trainer will access you through video conferencing on software, so the trainer does not need to enter your home.
These classes are less expensive than private classes and provide the same benefits as one-on-one classes. In addition, most training clubs use online software like zoom to keep pet parents updated for classes.
Safe Virtual Dog Training Options
Some online software is easy to use and functional for an online dog training class. This software includes FaceTime, Zoom, and skype. FaceTime is only for Apple users. This software can be used for both private and group lessons.
How Much Time Should You Spend Training Your Puppy/dog Every Day?
Ideally, you should train your dog every day. Different training clubs offer different time duration for the training of dogs, and it also depends on the type of class you are going to sign in for your pup. Dog training classes should not be last more than one hour as they quickly get distracted or get bored.
When your dog is going for training classes, you should dedicate 30 mins by yourself to train your dog so he won’t forget the last behavior learned in class.
At home, 15 mins are enough, and these sessions are divided into 5 mins and can be done throughout the day, usually in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
You can even rehearse small cues during a commercial break during your favorite tv show or in the morning when you are waiting for your coffee to be brewed. Longer sessions make them make mistakes.
How to Control Distractions and Excitement During Training Classes?
A dog responds well to command in a calm environment with few distractions like a training facility or home. But in the real world, they can’t ignore distractions, but you must teach your dog how to focus and ignore distractions no matter what is happening around you.
A study shows that building distractions slowly to large ones in the surrounding environment. You can make your dog focus on chosen reward (favorite toy, any food, or small treat) that should be highly motivated for the given command and perform the desired behavior.
You can also use cues like “let’s go,” “watch me,” and “leave it” to help him focus. Your pet will learn the worth of concentration on you step by step.
For some headstrong dogs, to ensure that they will respond appropriately to the desired behavior command, use a collar instead of a leash for additional control. You can direct the puppy to perform the order if he is not showing obedience and release pressure as soon as he performs the behavior.
What Do You Need to Bring for the Training Class?
Your training club may provide you with a list of things according to the outline of the course. Some general stuff you need to bring with you include:
- Current vaccination record
- Portable dog bed
- Lots of tiny sized treats
- Bully stick to keep him busy chewing while the instructor is talking
- 5-6 foot long leash with a standard flat collar
- Water bowl
A trained dog is a well-behaved pet. Training your dog is a dedicated task, either at home or at the training facility. The best option is to adopt a puppy and start teaching him small cues at home until his vaccination course is completed to enter into a training club.
Training facilities offer different classes, including in-person private and group lessons and virtual private and group lessons.
These training teach your dog socialization, positive reinforcement, teach them basic life manners (sit, stand, go, come, leave it, watch me, pick it, potty training, going to crate, etc.), to control aggression, barking, fighting, housebreaking, over-excitement, and shyness.
You can opt for virtual training classes for global health safety issues or if your dog is sick or has undergone surgery. You should also train your dog at home in small sessions, so he won’t forget the behavior learned in class. This will also develop a strong bond with your pet.
Make sure to check the requirements of the training center before signing in. Those requirements are usually provided to you in printed material form, or you can have a look at their website.
In addition, asking for recommendations from friends, family, other pet owners or online material about the experience of the training sessions for dogs would be great. Such recommendations help you decide on the course and list questions or concerns you want to discuss with the trainer.
Due to global health issues (Covid-19 pandemic), dog training centers were also closed due to reports of a few cases of infection in companion animals. But now, as covid-19 has become slow down due to the global vaccination program, training clubs have started to resume their courses.
But it all depends on the training facility’s location as different countries have different guidelines for indoor and outdoor public gatherings apart from general preventive guidelines (social distancing, face mask, hand sanitization).