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 just got your furry best friend and want 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, we all need guidance sometimes. And just like you would go to a specialist if you wanted more out of your relationship with your partner, you would go to a… dog training school if you needed to work on your relationship with your dog.http://us-k9.com/
The question is, how do you find a good specialist? Now, if you were just feeling under the weather, you would probably go to a general practitioner. But what if you had a toothache? I bet you would go to a dentist instead! Same with dog training. First, you need to decide whether you want to work on general obedience, aggression, separation anxiety, or maybe you want to take on therapy dog training or a protection dog training course. And then you got to 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
Protection Dog Training or Guard Dog Training
Behavior Modification Dog Training – Dog Separation Anxiety Training
Therapy Dog Training
Service Dog Training
We will also take a look at such training types as a dog training camp, group classes, in home dog training and online dog training.
All of these gems have 5-star ratings on Yelp, tons of happy clients and they are local, oftentimes family-owned businesses, so you can make great friends among your neighbors while doing some training as well!
First things first, there are plenty of options out there in regards to dog training. How do you know which one is good for you? Here are 6 tips.
6 Tips For Picking the Right Dog Training School
1. Know That the Dog Training Industry is Unregulated
That means that virtually anyone could call him or herself a trainer, sadly. 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 primary educational organization for trainers, APDT has a very useful resource called Trainer Search that allows you to find trainers in your area based on your city or zip code. Great tool! Note that if a trainer is certified by the APDT it does not necessarily imply that he or she uses a specific training method, which brings us to the next tip.
2. Know the Training Methods Used
Now, all trainers have different training methods, but here are a few basic things that would help you swim confidently in the sea of trainer jargon. There are currently 4 basic methods of training that stem from behavioral psychology: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. Now, the words positive and negative aren’t representing the concept of “good and evil” here, they function more like they would in math, with positive meaning addition and negative meaning subtraction of something. It will become clearer in a second.
This is the most popular method today, and, sure enough, you are all familiar with it. Positive reinforcement has, at its core, rewarding a dog for desired behavior usually with a treat, a toy or play time, depending on what motivates your dog the most. The trick is to pick the right timing: 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 realizes how pleased you are with this behavior. See how a treat is added here? This is the positive part, the addition.
This technique involves taking something unpleasant away to reinforce the desired behavior. That is how electric fences work, for example. When a dog gets too close to the perimeter, it gets a shock, but the shock disappears the moment the dog moves away from the boundary. This way, the dog learns to stay away from the perimeter. See the subtraction here – the unpleasant sensations are taken away to reinforce a behavior, this is negative reinforcement.
With punishment techniques, the trainer is trying to make a particular behavior happen less often. With positive punishment, the trainer adds some unpleasant stimuli to discourage a behavior. With excessive barking, for example, a trainer can add a spray bark collar to the training, 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 trainer would add (=positive) something to discourage a behavior (=punishment).
This technique implies taking something away (=negative) in order to discourage a behavior (=punishment). A good example would be if a trainer turns away from a dog that is jumping on him or other people to get attention. He takes the attention away from the dog to discourage undesired behavior. This method is often used together with positive reinforcement to reduce the unwanted behavior and reinforce the desired behavior.
Ah, that was quite a bit of information, right? Did it become somewhat clearer what the different training methods do? Great. There is still much debate around the best training methods in the trainers’ world, but what you choose remains up to you.
Now that you’ve 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 is every type of dog training you might need under the sun. Consider the benefits and drawbacks. With in house dog training the obvious advantage is that you will get more personal attention. If your dog has some socialization issues, in home training won’t be as effective as group dog training classes, where both you and your fido can learn to be around other dogs and work around so many tempting distractions. If you want your dog to get the experience of a full immersion, then a dog training camp will be the best option. Whereas, if your budget is tight, online dog training might be the solution you are looking for. Deciding on the type of training you need will make the task of finding a good dog training school way easier.
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