So you’ve adopted a new dog. What’s next? It’s time to go to school! Besides helping your dog become a well-behaved, respectable part of your family, obedience training is a great way to bond with your pet. It helps establish you firmly as your dog’s “alpha” and lets you channel your dogs energy in positive ways.
Even if you don’t want to spend lots of time working on tricks, you can still benefit from some basics of obedience training. All dogs–even ones that are primarily kept inside–should learn to come, sit, and stay on command. This is so that if your dog does get off-leash unexpectedly, you can recall them to you and keep them safe from traffic or other dangers. You should be able to tell them to “leave” something and they will ignore it–very useful if your dog likes to get into things they shouldn’t either at home or on walks. And of course, good behavior around people is essential if you want to be able to have friends over without your dog jumping on them constantly.
Whether you’re looking for basics, wanting to start doing agility training or rally, or looking for advanced training to complete canine good citizenship or be able to do hospital or school visits, you can probably find a trainer in your area. See if you can observe a class before signing up, and decide whether you want group training or one-on-one sessions. Ask for trainer recommendations from friends with well-behaved dogs.
If you’ve just adopted a dog, ask your shelter if there is a trainer who works with them to provide training for newly-adopted animals. (For example, our shelter works with Bark Boulevard in Kansas City, and adopters from Unleashed get the first session free.) Find a trainer you like, with a program that meets your needs, and both you and your dog will be happier for it!
Share the stories of your puppy school stars in the comments!