All things in life should grow and develop. This applies to our relationships as well. Whether you have your furry best friend and need to plant the seeds of a harmonious long-term friendship, or you’ve been living together for a little while, and want to take your connection to another level, we all need guidance sometimes. And just like you would go to a specialist in the event you wanted more out of your relationship with your partner, you would go to a.. . Dog training school in the event that you had to work on your relationship with your dog.
The question is, how do you find a great specialist? Now, if you’re just feeling under the weather, you would probably go to a general practitioner. But what if you had a toothache? I bet you would visit a dentist instead! First, you want to decide whether you would like to work on overall obedience, aggression, separation anxiety, or perhaps you want to choose therapy dog training or a protection dog training course. And then you must read on because we created a list of local hidden jewels 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’ll also have a look at such training types as a dog training camp, group courses, in home dog training and internet dog training.
All of these gems have 5-star evaluations on Yelp, tons of happy customers and they are local, oftentimes family-owned businesses, so that you can make great friends among your neighbors while doing some training also!
How can you know which one is good for you? Here are 6 tips.
6 Strategies for Picking the Correct Dog Training School
1. Know That the Dog Training Industry is Unregulated
That means that almost anyone can call him or herself a coach, regrettably. However, there are certifications and organizations that can help you identify those who actually have the ideal designations and experience. Always check to see if the trainer has some of the following certificates: 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 trainers, APDT has a very practical resource named Trainer Search that lets you find trainers in your area based on 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 allow you to swim confidently in the sea of coach jargon. There are currently 4 basic methods of instruction that stem from behavioral psychology: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. The words positive and negative aren’t representing the concept of”good and bad” here, they work more like they would in mathematics, 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’re all familiar with it. The secret is to pick the ideal time: just as your dog does exactly the desired behavior, reward him or her right away, and supplement the treat with a high-pitched”great dog”, to make sure your pet understands how happy you are with this behaviour. See how a treat is added here? This is the positive part, also.
This technique involves taking something unpleasant off to reinforce the desired behaviour. That is the way electrical fences work, for instance. When a dog gets too close to the perimeter, it receives 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 techniques, the trainer is attempting to make a particular behaviour happen less often. With positive punishment, the coach adds some unpleasant stimuli to dissuade a behavior. With excessive barking, for instance, a trainer can add a spray bark collar into the practice, so that each and 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 dissuade a behaviour (=punishment).
This technique implies taking something away (=negative) so as to discourage a behaviour (=punishment). A good example would be if a trainer turns away from a dog that’s jumping on him or other people to get attention. He takes the attention away from the dog to discourage undesired behavior. This system is often used together with positive reinforcement to reduce the unwanted behaviour and reinforce the desired behavior.
Ah, that was quite a bit of advice, right? Did it become somewhat clearer what the various training methods do? Great. There is still much debate around the best training methods in the trainers’ world, but what you select remains your decision.
Now that you’ve learnt more about the behavioral psychology, how do you begin seeing some similarities between how we train dogs and the way the government trains us? On to the next suggestion.
Group Classes, Boot Camps, In House Training or Skype chats – there is every sort of dog training you may need under the sun. Consider the advantages and drawbacks. With in house dog training the obvious advantage is that you will get more personal attention. If you need your dog to have the experience of a complete immersion, then a dog training camp is going to be the best choice. Whereas, if your budget is tight, online dog training may be the solution you’re looking for. Selecting the type of training you need will make the task of finding a great dog training school way simpler.
4. Watch 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 big is the class size and if you will be getting enough attention,
If puppies and adult dogs are trained individually,
How many levels do the classes have (basic, intermediate, advanced),
How the trainer interacts with the dogs,
How dogs react 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 have found a fantastic candidate.
5. Don’t Forget About Vaccinations
Safety first! Make sure your dog is properly vaccinated before you begin any dog training and get the green light from your vet. Next, ensure that the training college requires every dog to be vaccinated and is asking for a proof. This way you can rest assured that the safety aspect of your training is covered.
Now, what happens after you have completed the course? Maybe there are not any follow up visits in case a problem does arise. Make sure to ask the school or the trainer about what happens once you’re done with their program.
Now, we’re introducing you to the 10 hidden gem schools with 5-star Yelp evaluations that specialize in the sort of dog training you are looking for.
Top 10 Dog Training School Hidden Gems in San Diego Area
Let’s start with puppy training. The best time to start training is when your pooch is between 3 and 14 months old, it doesn’t mean that your puppy doesn’t learn well later, but it’s just the juiciest time when he or she absorbs new tricks like a sponge, so take advantage of that if you can! The next stage where pet owners often need help is the 6 months mark, when pups transition to adolescence, and this time is similar to the teenage years we have been through – demanding.