Dog Obedience Training: How To Find The Best Training School


Whether you want to teach your new puppy manners or your rescue dog needs some refresher training, here is everything you need to know before enrolling your sweetie in a dog obedience class.

Before enrolling, read.

The dog training industry operates unregulated and without a license. Whether this is true or not, anyone can claim to be an authority on dog training or canine behaviour. It’s up to you to research and pick your pet’s best dog obedience training centre. Here is what professional dog trainers tell you to look for and what you need to know about the overall process of training your dog. If you have a puppy that you are training yourself, avoid making these training blunders.

The right age to start training your dog’s obedience

According to Nick Hof, a certified professional dog trainer and canine behaviour specialist at Paws Look Listen. Puppies are ready for dog obedience training between eight and twelve weeks. The age cutoff is essential because of the developmental stages our puppies go through, according to Hof. Socialization is crucial at this stage. Puppies need lots of pleasant interactions with people, other dogs, and the environment to develop into happy, confident adults. Puppies are susceptible to situations, so look for small class sizes with an experienced trainer—ideally, one trainer for every four to six dogs. When your dog has mastered the basics, teach him these easy tricks at home to build on his success.

Can a seasoned dog teach new skills?

Yes! Saying that you can’t is untrue. Dog obedience has no age restrictions. According to Hof, group classes are beneficial for dogs of any age. There are lessons available that are specifically designed for senior dogs, and rescue dogs that are young and older make excellent candidates for dog obedience training. Take care not to rush things, though. Give your new dog a few weeks to become used to their new family and environment while gently going over the house rules, says Janelle Metiva, a dog behaviourist at Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles.

Sniffing the area

Although Google reviews are an excellent place to start, they cannot replace physically visiting a facility and talking to potential dog trainers. Any trainer should be ready to discuss their methodology in an interview and be able to address questions, says Metiva. Ask them how long they have been training dogs and what their responses are to both the successes and failures of the dogs. According to Metiva, coaches shouldn’t hesitate to employ food as a training aid. Don’t miss these additional dog training techniques you wish you knew sooner. As she says, “Animals labour for food.” “If they don’t, they’re probably full, satisfied, stressed out, or scared,” the author writes.

Follow the trainer.

Next, watch how the trainer interacts with the dogs and their owners. According to Metiva, a dog should turn its heel and run away if a trainer uses compulsion, strong words, a loud voice, force, fear, or pain because the dog doesn’t “understand it.” A trainer should never strike a dog or use a tool to stop a behaviour (unless there is an immediate danger). Metiva underlines that these methods are outdated and have a poor track record. This could cause the development of phobias, redirected aggression, or suppressed behaviour without having any impact on the dog’s mental condition. For instance, a dog may stop lunging and barking when powerful approaches are used. However, he will still be cautious of or frustrated by other dogs.

Observe the dog students.

To witness what happens in a class, ask the training centre (or the trainer, if they offer independent dog obedience training) if you can observe a session. As you watch, look for cues in the dogs’ body language, says Metiva. “Are they wiggly and loose while paying attention to the trainer, or are they hesitant and stiff?” Dogs who are clearly under stress may be licking their lips, yawning, or have a slouched or low body posture, pinned-back ears, or a worried expression.

Verify the trainer’s credentials.

Numerous institutions provide training and certifications, but Metiva notes that this does not guarantee that the trainer will uphold the moral ethics of the institutions. A dog trainer whose primary focus is to seek a connection of trust with your dog should be polite and considerate. When you have that mix, your chances of achieving your objectives significantly increase. Those who have obtained certification from the CCPDT and the IAABC have agreed to a single code of ethics that follows LIMA—a Least Invasive, Minimally Aversive training methodology. Verify the trainer’s qualifications online and read the certification program’s mission statement. If you follow this advice, you’ll be on the right track to picking the best trainer. Once things get going, try to stay away from making these common pet parent mistakes to undercut your trainer’s efforts.

However, believe in your gut.

The media makes the rapid observation that there are exceptional dog trainers who lack certification. Look a little more before dismissing a trainer you like who is uncertified. As well as other details, ask the trainer about their mentors, the books they have read and would recommend, and the conferences, seminars, and workshops they have attended. “All of these comments will offer hints into their methodology and experience, which can help a parent make an informed choice,” says Meta.

Impossible obstacles

Even though we take advantage of product warranties, Metiva believes that a guarantee in dog obedience training is a red flag. The use of terms like “alpha,” “dominant,” “submission,” or “pack” is another red flag, according to Metiva. “Dominance theory in pet dogs has been thoroughly debunked, despite its persistence in popular culture. No one can guarantee a behavioural outcome any more than a doctor, or a teacher can guarantee how well your child will perform on a test.

A group class is not appropriate for every dog.

If your dog has a history of biting or if you experience more complicated behavioural issues, including resource guarding, reactivity, separation anxiety, or aggression, Metiva advises that you should let your trainer know. Simple dog obedience training cannot resolve these kinds of issues. Instead, seek out a certified trainer or behaviour analyst.


The basics are quickly learned in a classroom setting under the close observation of your instructor. What occurs after class, though? Hof says that a companion dog class should focus on practical skills with everyday applications as opposed to traditional obedience (practice a ten-minute sit-stay), which is the norm (remain on the bed when I open the door). Hof advises practising a particular behaviour up to three times per day for two to five minutes to make it automatic. Keep it casual, and don’t be concerned if your dog has difficulties. If you persist and maintain your composure, he will eventually comprehend.

Hof says rewarding your dog for sitting with utilitarian rewards rather than treats when they are succeeding is best. Sending your dog outside to play ball is one illustration. The two most crucial elements of training are developing a relationship with your dog and communicating with them. You can!

What is the cost of training an obedience dog?

Depending on where you live and the kind of experience you’re looking for, dog obedience schools offer different types of training. A six-to eight-week class typically runs between $100 and $200. Media estimates that a private behaviour consultation for complex behaviour issues will cost around $300, with subsequent sessions costing between $60 and $100 per hour. Even though it might seem expensive, doing so will be good for your and your dog’s long-term health. Here are the specifics on how much owning a dog truly costs, along with helpful advice for saving some kibble.