by Sojos | October 16, 2012
Even for the most planned, organized person in the world, getting a puppy or a dog can be all about emotion. Seeing a sweet look on that cute little critter’s face can somehow make it feel as though everything will be easy and turn out well. But after you’ve brought a new dog home, no matter his age, challenges usually start to appear, and it’s up to you to handle them with a calm demeanor.
Dog owners have a spectrum of ability levels when it comes to training. Some know next to nothing, some make their living at it. However, most of us fall somewhere short of “pro.” That’s why, for many people, getting some extra assistance is incredibly important when establishing a relationship with a new dog. Whether you choose private training or group lessons, it is up to you, but working with a knowledgeable trainer in some capacity is a good idea. In fact, it can make all the difference in developing an unconditional bond or a needing to find this friend a new home.
True, it will likely cost a bit of money. However, it’s important to think of it as an investment – what you spend to lay the behavioral groundwork for your puppy will yield lifelong results. Puppy classes are a great way to help you and your puppy establish a rapport and a relationship, but they will also help with socialization around people as well as other dogs – and helping your dog learn that even when there are distractions or other animals, he should pay attention to you. You might also consider puppy play dates, which are less about training than interaction with other dogs.
If you adopt an older dog, he may know some tricks already, but working on training together will build your bond. Check with the organization you’re adopting through to see if they have training services or recommendations for trainers. If your dog knows the basics, see if there’s a more advanced class available, or talk to a trainer about working on certain issues, like begging, barking or separation anxiety.
As much as training is about giving your dog good manners, it’s also about giving you, as a dog owner, the right “tools” to communicate with your pet. You’ll learn how to handle stressful situations that arise unexpectedly, as well as the basics of how to teach your dog right from wrong. If you’ve been to training classes before, remember that getting a refresher can help ensure that you’re up to date on using the best methods to build your relationship with your dog. After all, he wants to be your best friend.