Dog

How to find a good dog training school 

Dog/puppy training schools – what to look out for

17.4.2021

Dog training and a sound knowledge of handling a dog are essential for the harmonious relationship between a dog and its owner. The basis for successful dog training is building a positive relationship and a close bond between the owner and their dog.  

Attending a puppy training school is especially important for puppies up to the age of 16 weeks. During this time, they go through the socialisation phase and, above all, the contact with other dogs is crucial for the later interaction with other dogs. 

But dog training schools are not only crucial for the socialisation of puppies, but also for older dogs. Basic obedience is vital for all so that they are able to understand what is expected of them and to navigate our human world. They need to walk on the leash and listen to commands (which can also save their life such as stopping before crossing roads). 

Choosing the right dog/puppy training school 

The following criteria can help you to find a good dog/puppy training school: 

  • Dog trainers have the necessary expertise (training qualifications, formal recognition, verification etc.) 
  • Dogs are taught with positive reinforcement (praise, treats etc.) and not by punishment 
  • The trainer checks the health of the dog and any necessary vaccinations before the dog is admitted to the class 
  • Dogs with behavioural problems receive individual training 
  • The training takes place in small groups 
  • Puppies and adult dogs are trained in separate groups 
  • All exercises are explained and instructed step by step in an understandable way 
  • All exercises correspond to the age and temperament of the dogs 
  • The trainer recognises ​​the individual strengths and weaknesses of the dog 
  • Dogs that are stressed in groups are offered individual training 
  • After each training session, there is a play break 
  • Communication takes place using body language and hand signals 
  • Family members are welcome to participate in the training 

There are also some signs, which point to a bad dog/puppy training school. If any of the following occur, we advise that you look for an alternative school that fulfils the criteria above:

  • Use of aversive training methods: choke chains, chemical and electronic training equipment is offered or recommended 
  • The animals are trained with force, such as shouting, prodding, kicking etc.  
  • The training sessions are very long and dogs with different needs are mixed in together 

It is important that you find a good dog training school, where the dog can learn how to behave in a positive environment, without force. Dogs thrive on learning in a positive way. Reward-based training involves the use of rewards such as praise, treats and play to reinforce desired behaviours. Furthermore, this approach supports a healthy and trusting human-animal bond. 

In contrast, aversive-based methods compromise the mental and physical health of dogs. The consequences range from elevated stress and stress-related behaviours during training, to disturbances in learning and performance, and negative emotional responses such as fear and aggression. 

And remember training is not just about training an animal, it is also about training the owner as well especially in terms of how to communicate with their dog, this is key for a harmonious relationship between owner and their pet!  

Infografic: Finding a good puppy/dog school

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