All things in life need to grow and develop. This applies to our relationships as well. This also applies to our relationships with our dogs. Whether you have your furry best friend and need to plant the seeds of a harmonious long-term friendship, or you have been living together for a while, and want to take your relationship to the next level, most of us need guidance sometimes. And just like you’d go to a specialist if you wanted more out of your relationship with your spouse, you’d go to a.. . Dog training school if you had to work on your relationship with your dog.
The question is, how can you find a good specialist? Now, if you’re just feeling under the weather, you’d probably go to a general practitioner. I bet you would visit a dentist instead! Same with dog training. First, you need to decide whether you want to work on general obedience, aggression, separation anxiety, or perhaps you want to take on therapy dog training or a protection dog training course. And then you must read on because we created a list of local hidden gems in San Diego area that specialize in exactly the kind of dog training classes you want!
Now, what types of dog training schools are we going to look at exactly?
Dog Obedience Training
Aggressive Dog Training
Behavior Modification Dog Training – Dog Separation Anxiety Training
Therapy Dog Training
Service Dog Training
We’ll also take a look at such training types as a dog training camp, group courses, in home dog training and online dog training.
All these gems have 5-star ratings on Yelp, heaps of happy clients and they are local, oftentimes family-owned businesses, so you can make great friends one of your neighbors while doing some training as well!
First things first, there are loads of options out there in regards to dog training. How do you know which one is good for you? Here are 6 tips.
6 Strategies for Picking the Correct Dog Training School
1. Know The Dog Training Industry is Unregulated
That means that virtually anyone can call him or herself a trainer, regrettably. However, there are certifications and organizations that can help you identify those who actually have the right designations and experience. Always check to see if the trainer has some of the following certifications: The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), The Academy for Dog Trainers (ADT), the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT KA), the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPAATB), or the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Being the key educational organization for coaches, APDT has a very useful resource called Trainer Search that allows you to find coaches in your area according to your city or zip code. Great tool!
2. Know the Training Techniques Used
Now, all coaches have different training methods, but here are a few fundamental things that would help you swim in the sea of coach jargon. There are currently 4 standard procedures of training that stem from behavioral psychology: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. The words positive and negative are not representing the concept of”good and bad” here, they function more like they would in mathematics, with positive significance addition and negative significance subtraction of something.
This is the most popular method now, and, sure enough, you’re all familiar with it. The trick is to pick the ideal time: just as your dog does the desired behavior, reward him or her right away, and supplement the treat with a high-pitched”good dog”, to make sure your pet understands how happy you are with this behaviour. See the way the treat is added here? This is the positive part, also.
This technique involves taking something disagreeable away to reinforce the desired behavior. That is the way electric fences work, for instance. When a dog gets too near the perimeter, it gets a shock, but the shock disappears the minute the dog moves away from the border. This way, the dog learns to stay away from the perimeter. Watch the subtraction here – the unpleasant sensations are taken away to reinforce a behavior, this is negative reinforcement.
With punishment methods, the trainer is trying to make a particular behaviour happen less often. With positive punishment, the coach adds some unpleasant stimuli to discourage a behavior. With excessive barking, by way of example, a trainer may add a spray bark collar into the practice, so that every time a dog barks, it gets sprayed. The dog will associate nuisance barking with being sprayed, and this will discourage him or her from barking all night long again. Did you see how with this technique a coach would include (=positive) something to dissuade a behaviour (=punishment).
This technique means taking something away (=negative) in order to discourage a behavior (=punishment). A good example is if a trainer turns away from a dog that is leaping on him or other people to get attention. He takes the attention away from the dog to discourage undesired behavior. This method is frequently used together with positive reinforcement to reduce the unwanted behaviour and reinforce the desired behaviour.
Ah, that was really a bit of advice, right? Did it become somewhat clearer what the different training methods do? Great. There’s still much debate around the best training methods in the trainers’ world, but what you choose remains up to you.
Now that you have learnt more about the behavioral psychology, do you start seeing some similarities between how we train dogs and how the government trains us? On to the next tip.
3. Choose the Training Type
Group Classes, Boot Camps, In House Training or even Skype chats – there’s every type of dog training you may need under the sun. Consider the advantages and drawbacks. With in house dog training the apparent advantage is that you will receive more personal attention. If you need your dog to have the experience of a full immersion, then a dog training camp is going to be the best option. Whereas, if your budget is tight, online dog training may be the solution you’re looking for. Deciding on the type of instruction you need will make the job of finding a good dog training school way simpler.
4. See a Class Before You Enroll
As soon as you picked a course or a coaching school, take some time to come to one of the training sessions and just observe. Focus on the following:
How large is the class size and whether you will be getting enough attention,
How many degrees do the courses have (basic, intermediate, advanced),
The way the trainer disagrees with the dogs,
How dogs respond to the training,
Whether everyone seems to be having fun and enjoying the process.
If you ticked all the checkboxes here, and are comfortable with the surroundings, you’ve discovered a fantastic candidate.
5. Don’t Forget About Vaccinations
Safety first! Make sure your dog is properly vaccinated before you start any dog training and get the green light from your veterinarian. Next, be sure that the training college requires every dog to be vaccinated and is requesting a proof. This way you can rest assured that the safety component of your training is covered.
Now, what happens once you have completed the course? Maybe there are no follow up visits if a problem does arise. Be sure that you ask the school or the coach about what happens once you are done with their program.
Now, we are introducing you to the 10 hidden gem colleges with 5-star Yelp evaluations that specialize in the sort of dog training you’re searching for.
Top 10 Dog Training School Hidden Gems in San Diego Area
The best time to start training is when your pooch is between 3 and 14 months old, it doesn’t indicate that your puppy doesn’t learn well afterwards, but it’s just the juiciest time when he or she absorbs new tricks such as a sponge, so take advantage of this if possible! The next stage where pet owners often need help is the 6 months mark, when pups transition into adolescence, and this time is much like the teenage years we have all been through – rough.