Dog Training: Choosing a Dog Training School


Learning how to become a dog trainer is not just about training puppies and dogs, y0u must know how to choose a good dog training school. A trainer not only must know about obedience training and canine behavior but they must also enjoy working with the people who own the pets. What a trainer really does is to train people to train their dogs. In addition to loving dogs and working with their owners, let’s take a look at other qualities that can greatly assist in kicking you off to a good start as a trainer. Assuming that you are in decent physical condition and have reasonable hand-eye coordination, other considerations are:

  • Excellent people skills
  • Motivation and a “self-starter” work ethic
  • Strong business sense
  • Good organizational skills
  • Sales and marketing skills

If you pass muster here and you want to continue, what qualities would you look for in a good training school? A good school should: Keep classes small to give you a lot of good one-on-one attention with an experienced trainer. Large training schools have lots of overhead so the classes tend to have up to 25 or 30 students per class, therefore time with each student may be limited. The school and trainer should teach you exactly what you want to learn and more importantly, what you will be doing in your career as a trainer.

You definitely must have the “hands-on” experience of training a dog during your time at the school. Most schools provide canines for the students on which to practice and usually test the students on the training of their particular canine. This is critical because every canine is different and some canines come with behavioral issues. For example, you might be assigned to a dog that is afraid. A good training school will provide you with the right tools and knowledge on how to approach and train a dog that is afraid or timid. The school must help you understand the different temperaments of caninesso you will be better prepared for your career as a professional trainer.

The school you choose must have teachers who can give you an excellent academic base of obedience training plus, they must possess the ability to teach the science of animal behavior and how this knowledge is applied in real life situations. Understanding the evolution of dog training, the fascinating and proven science on how canines think and how they learn, will allow you to develop your own philosophy of training and pet behavior as you hone the skills of your trade. To best do this you need the most current information from nationally-acclaimed trainers and professionals working in canine behavior. More importantly, you will definitely need to know how it all applies to your future clients and their pets.

To best understand academic applications to your future client’s pet issues, consider the following as well in your decision of which training school to choose: books and theory will only take you so far, you must be able to learn and understand the people part. You must get a crystal clear understanding of real-life on-going case studies that are representative of what you will be experiencing in your career as a trainer. This should be mandatory.

Participating in real-life case studies would be an ideal way to actually see how people present their pet’s problems to dog trainers and hear the recommended solutions. Being able to follow through on the outcome and see the problems solved would be the icing on the cake. Because how you handle your first client will be critical in developing your career confidence with people and their specific pet issues. There are many dog training schools around the country, so keep all of these thoughts and questions in mind. Whether you visit schools personally, on line or talk with them over the phone do your homework before starting school – you’ll be glad you did.

Becoming a professional dog trainer can afford you the luxury of taking your passion and turning it into a lucrative, fulfilling career. It is imperative that you have the right tools and knowledge that will allow you to understand the canine psychology and understand how usually, bad dog behavior is owner error, and not the dog. Your professional dog training school must devote individualized attention to you to enable you to achieve your dream. Be thoughtful in your choice of dog training schools and attend the best.

Harsh Treatment of Your Dog Can Cause Aggression

Sometimes it’s easy to get upset and frustrated when training your dog, but hitting or shaking by the scruff should never be involved in obedience training or behavior modification training.

This type of harsh, aggressive treatment causes not only frustration for you and your dog, it can stop and even make your dog regress in its training. Worse case scenario is that your dog will tire of the abusive treatment and snap at you or even bite you. There is a lot of truth to the saying, aggression begets aggression.

When training there are a couple of things you can do to make it more pleasant and fun for both you and your dog:

  • Train when you are relaxed and the dog is relaxed
  • Train in a neutral, quiet area without a lot of distractions
  • Train for short periods of time 5-10 minutes max per session

One of the most frequent mistakes people make when training is to yell, scream or feel they have to give the dog commands like a drill sergeant. To truly have your dog listen to you, there should be NO emotional energy in your voice at all. Dogs do not understand, nor do they know what to do with a lot of emotional energy. A lot of emotional energy in your voice can also cause high anxiety and stress for your dog.

When correcting your dog for something he is DOING (notice I did not say DID) wrong simply say, No, off. If your dog has already made a mistake and you find it, forget about it, correcting at that time is useless. Dogs have a 1.0 to 1.5 second window of opportunity to understand correction or praise to a deed. Anything past that is irrelevant.

Use the pitch of your voice to indicate to your dog he has done something well by saying in a little more high pitched voice, Good BOY.

Do not be heavy handed with your dog. Hitting accomplishes nothing positive. What it does accomplish is that you will be left with either a fearful dog that is afraid of you or a one that sooner or later will return the favor and bite you. Either way, because of your mistake, the dog loses.

A dog will respond to training and to you better if you establish yourself as a strong but benevolent leader. This simply means that you are consistent in the messages you give, you reinforce leadership by setting your dog up to succeed on appropriate behavior and you learn how your dog thinks and what he needs to be balanced.

Be consistent with your training and remember to make training fun for you and fun for your dog. Dog owners generally get the kind of pet they create. Be good to your dog, have patience when training and have a wonderful member of your family.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!


Tips for Obedience Training Your Dog

The Amazing Benefits of Obedience Training Your Dog

Owning a well behaved, happy, well balanced dog takes work. So before you run out and get a new dog or puppy, give it some serious thought. Make sure you are ready for the commitment and care it takes to add a new dog or puppy to your family.

Unfortunately many dog owners do not take the time to teach their dogs to obey commands. Lots of new dog owners are amazed that their untrained dog will not come to them when called or their untrained dogs pull them on a leash so badly they look like a tail on a kite. Lots of dog owners simply let the dog or puppy have the run of the house and allow them to jump on the furniture, tear things up and have their own way. Not only is this detrimental to your home, it doesn’t teach your dog to respect you. It certainly doesn’t help him view you as his leader. Next stop – the local shelter. No fault of the dog!

Here are some easy to follow suggestions to help you get started obedience training your dog:

  • Be consistent. Training your dog to perform a specific behavior one day, then the next day allowing him to do as he pleases is being inconsistent and confuses your dog. Train for 5-10 minutes each day, the same way you trained the day before, using the same hand signals and the same words.
  • Give praise and an occasional treat. When you ask your dog to perform a behavior such as a sit, the minute his butt hits the ground you say in a happy voice Good Boy. If you want you may then give a treat. If you wait more than 1.0 to 1.5 seconds after his butt hits the ground to praise, your dog is clueless as to what the praise is associated with.
  • Always use the exact same words to request a command. If you are teaching your dog to come to you and you use the word come then always use the word come, and all family members must use the same word. If you use come and another family member uses here—you are again being inconsistent.
  • Be patient. You will have times when your dog has learned a command, the next day you ask for the behavior and he looks at you as if you are speaking a foreign language. Try a couple more times, if again, he doesn’t do it, stop for the day and pick back up tomorrow. Dogs will sometimes do that. There is a saying that goes, your dog has not truly learned a command until he has learned the command, forgotten it, then learned it again.
  • Don’t try to teach too many commands at once. Get one mastered before venturing on to the next one.
  • Very important – dogs learn in context. This simply means if you teach your dog to sit in your den, that’s where you dog will sit—not in the kitchen. He hasn’t learned sit in the kitchen. Point being, you have to teach your dog the command in different areas.

When you have a dog that is well mannered and obeys your commands, life is much easier and happier for everyone. You don’t worry about him jumping on friends and visitors. Your dog understand what the expectations are and HOW to meet them, he views you as his leader and you in turn have a well mannered, well balanced, happy, happy dog. Everyone wins!


Six Minutes A Day To A Well Trained Dog

Lots of people believe doing obedience training with their dog at home takes too much time and effort. The truth is, if done correctly you can teach your dog to perform many commands and behave the way you want him to behave, by yourself, in your home. That’s where he needs to behave isn’t it?

Look if you can take 6 minutes to hard boil an egg, take that same 6 minutes to work on having an awesome well trained dog!

Here’s are a few pointers:

  • From the earliest age possible, begin to teach your puppy or dog control commands, such as sit and down.
  • Use food treats (in the beginning) to shape the behavior so that your dog wants to work
  • Always, always praise when your dog gives you the behavior you request.
  • Never punish or scold when he does it wrong, simply say WRONG and try again

Here’s the hard boiled egg part. At a convenient time of day for you, but preferably when the dog has not eaten yet so he’s food motivated (not starving but motivated), and you’re relaxed, not in a rush and are excited about training your dog, work on one or two commands with your dog for 6 minutes.

Six minutes! Doesn’t sound possible does it? But here’s the key. Yes, it’s a short amount of time, but the trick here is consistency. You’re training every day for 6 minutes on commands that are going to be important to you and your dog. It’s very much like teaching children. Repetition and consistency, Repetition and consistency. Like the shampoo bottle says: Rinse and Repeat.

Once your dog gets good on these commands in your house, increase distraction levels by taking him outside in your back yard and work on the same commands. Remember, dogs learn in context so don’t be surprised if he looks at you like you’re nuts when you ask for a sit outside. You might have to re-introduce the food treats in the beginning to keep his attention. Also remember, working your dog on a leash keeps him in the classroom!

Once you’ve mastered those commands in your back yard, progress to your front yard. Now the wonderful world of distractions is going to kick in and you’ll have to work harder to get your dog to listen. Again, you probably will have to break out the food treats again for a short time.

The progression of all of these sessions of 6 minutes results in a dog that will listen to you no matter what the distraction level is and he will listen to you because you have made training fun, a positive experience AND you’ve practiced your leadership role.

So go ahead, put the egg on the stove to cook and go train your dog!

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!


How Soon Can Puppy Training Begin?

Lots of puppy owners have the incorrect belief that puppies are not capable of learning at such an early age. To the contrary, early training of your puppy is the best time to begin. Instead of waiting till later and allowing the puppy to learn bad behavior, train early and teach good behavior from the beginning.

Ideally 10 weeks of age is a nice time to start training. The puppy is generally old enough to stay awake and participate in the short training sessions. Here are some easy tips to incorporate when training a new puppy:

  • Be patient, no yelling or harsh treatment. This early time in a puppy’s life is critical. Harsh treatment or abuse gets ingrained in this fear imprint period. You can certainly ruin a good puppy by being too hard on them.
  • Puppies have very short attention spans in their early months. Train in short intervals.
  • Keep everything pretty basic. Remember, a young puppy is NOT going to hold a sit or a stay for more than a few seconds. Keep your expectations in line with the age of the puppy.
  • Build your puppy’s confidence by setting your puppy up to succeed instead of fail. Be proactive in his training, not reactive.
  • Initially concentrate on the commands and behaviors that are important to you AND are age appropriate.

Some commands that are appropriate for a 10 week old puppy to begin learning are:

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Come when called ( this takes a while)
  • Walk on a leash
  • No biting
  • No jumping
  • No nipping

And of course the usual house training and crate training.  If you need help now, check out our  DVD  puppy training.

Make training fun for you and fun for your puppy. Once your puppy is completely vaccinated and usually around 4 – 5 months of age, a group obedience class is appropriate for your puppy to get better at the basic commands around controlled distractions of other people and other dogs.

If where you take your dog for basic obedience allows playtime once temperament of all dogs has been evaluated, that is a wonderful opportunity for more socialization for your puppy and a great place for him/her to learn how to play appropriately with other dogs.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”


Hurry Up and Train the Dog – Sometimes Slow and Steady Wins the Race

You may want to train your dog to obey all of those nice little commands such as sit, stay and so on. Owners who are willing to put in the time have actually trained their dogs to wait, go to bed, stand and respect boundaries. They even have dogs that won’t go out into the street without a certain leash on. Amazing? Yes and no. It’s like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.

How to do you train your dog to obey every command you give them? It takes plenty of time and patience. The biggest mistake people make is trying to teach their dog all of the commands at once. Not only will this not work, it will frustrate your dog and he will lose interest and desire because you get impatient. Dogs are very much like kids, so you have to show patience and understanding.

  • Choose one command you want your dog to learn and stick with that one command until your dog performs. Use training exercises and do those exercises over and over again, each and every day. You don’t have to work your dog hours every day, just fit in three or four 5-10 minute training sessions a day.
  • Always remember to start a training session when you are relaxed, not stressed, not in a hurry and not around a lot of distractions at first. The more fun you make it for the dog, the more he will enjoy it and the faster he will learn. Use calm energy, no shouting, no yanking on the leash. Dogs respond best to a happy voice and a simple “no wrong” when they mess up. There is absolutely no need to be hard on your dog – it will backfire on you.
  • Always, always end your training session on a positive note. If the training on a new command is not going well, when you’re ready to end the session, have the dog do a command he knows so he gets praised or rewarded with a food treat.
  • Some folks are lucky and they’re retired or don’t have to work and sure, they will get results with their dog faster. But it still takes a lot of work and repetition. If done correctly, you can train your dog to obey any command and it is even easier if you start when they are puppies. If done right, training your dog to listen and obey will make them respect you even more, because they know they will get rewarded with your attention, praise and maybe a food treat when they behave well.

Taking the time each day to train with your dog is the key. This is the consistency part of the equation. Each day, work with your dog on the command you want him to learn for a couple of sessions, five minutes each until you achieve success. This is the repetition part.

Keep at it and soon your dog will have learned a new command. Certain commands build on each other. You can get your dog to roll over it your dogs knows how to do a down. You can get your dog to shake hands, if your dog knows how to sit. You will be amazed how many fun things you and your dog can do when you know how to teach the basics. So go on, take the time to train your dog – I promise you’ll enjoy it – and so will the dog.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children, and remember, “Opportunity Barks!”


Dog Not Listening To You? Here’s An Easy Secret To Changing That

Does your dog ignore you and not listen to you when you attempt to get him to obey? This is a pretty common dog training complaint with dog owners, but it is also a complaint that is pretty easy to solve. Here’s one way to look at understanding how to make your dog listen to you. Dogs are much like children. You must have patience and be consistent in your training in order for any type of dog training to work. Here are a few tips to help you understand the best way to get your dog to listen:

  • Relevancy is key in dog training. What this means is: If you teach your dog certain behaviors, but only teach those behaviors in the kitchen, then the dog will very likely only perform the behavior in the kitchen. Dogs learn in context. So to have your dog respond to your request for a certain behavior, you need to practice teaching that behavior or behaviors in many different settings. Especially settings that are highly relevant to you. Example: You like to take your dog to Starbucks, sit on the patio and have your dog sit next to you. Then you must practice teaching him sit at Starbucks.
  • Consistency. Teaching your dog obedience isn’t really that difficult, but you must be consistent. Practicing dog training only occasionally will not work. Taking the right action each and every time is what will instill obedience in your dog. If you choose to train your dog only when you are in the mood, it won’t work.

Here’s a little secret for you. Understand what your dog views as important. This can include anything from going to a walk ,to playing with other dogs, to dinner time. Once you understand what’s important to your dog, you begin to show your dog that he has to earn those important things. He want’s to go for a walk. Require a sit before you put on the leash. He wants to go outside, require a sit or a down before you open the door and let him out. If the requested behavior is not given, the dog does not get what he wants. Walk away and come back in 2 or 3 minutes and try again. Dogs do what works. Once they realize you are not going to give in and instead they have to give you the behavior you request, they’ll do it.

You will find that by training your dog in this manner which is totally positive and non-confrontational, training get easier and can be a lot of fun. Remember to train in different locations and around different distractions. That’s what will give you a well trained dog.

Dog training is really common sense and understanding what dogs need to be balanced and what are the things that are important to your dog and how do you control those things. Put all that together and you become a good leader to your dog and your dog becomes a wonderful, obedient pet. All achieved through patience and practice.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”