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It is a question many pet owners face:
does my dog need some obedience training?
"Yes, I recommend obedience training
for all dogs, because not only does it help provide basic obedience
and command recognition, it also helps bolster basic interactions
between people and their pets," Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences (CVM), explains.
Eckman suggests that all dogs are good
candidates for training school.
"Those who are generally more timid
may become less fearful or shy around other animals and people
after training," Eckman says. "Those pets that are very boisterous
may learn some."
Obedience training now encompasses
classes for dogs of all types, whether your dog is a puppy or needs
training in a certain discipline. Classes today are not just for
dogs that need correctional discipline due to an unruly
"Most of the classes focus on basic
commands and communication between pets and humans, certainly not
just for dogs that act out," Eckman explains. "These classes are
good socialization exercises also."
Eckman adds, "There are 'puppy'
classes that are offered that can be started when pets have a
minimum number of vaccinations. These are great classes for
learning interactions, potty training, etc. There are classes for
all ages and stages, so they can start at any time."
It is best to start at an early age,
because it is much easier to establish consistent rules from the
beginning than to go back and try to retrain an undesirable habit
the dog has been allowed to develop. Once a behavior has developed,
training takes longer.
Animal owners have recognized the
importance of obedience training and have expressed a need to have
opportunities to help train their animals. Therefore, there are a
plethora of opportunities around the nation available for your dog
to attend a class.
Before you choose your trainer you
should follow a checklist. For instance, you should find out how
long the person has been training, and how many animals has that
trainer instructed. You should also ask them how they keep up with
the current knowledge in the field. One last item is to check their
training method. Do they use toys and rewards, or do they verbally
explain their disappointment to the effect that it can cause
lasting damage to your dog. Then, research trainers in your
area who follow the same philosophy that you prefer. After this,
word of mouth is the best resource when finalizing your pet
"Once the basics of training are
learned, these techniques can be applied at home and expounded on,"
Eckman says. "Books can also offer great advice. Online information
is also available, but I am skeptical of these due to the large
amount of mis-information that can be given over the Internet."
Owners should remember that dogs are
all very different. It is important to understand the needs of your
dog so you can match them with the best trainer. It is also
important to be patient with your dog, as they all learn at
different rates. If understanding, patience, and knowledge are in
play, obedience training can be very rewarding for all dogs and
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