Champaign, IL —
To find a good training club is not as easy as it might appear. One of the most important things to remember is that just because a club is two minutes away from your home, it does not necessarily mean it is the right one for you.
Yes! But where can I go?
The Federation of Dog Trainers and Canine Behaviourists (FDTCB) can step in to make your decision easier. All Federation Members have been vetted and their training practices are continually scrutinised, to ensure that the training methods that they use are not unkind. Members train by using primarily the rewards and play training method, none use a choke chain, spike, prong or electric collar.
Federation Members will be able to help you understand your dog, giving the reasons behind its behaviour. Plus furnishing you with the skills to modify the behaviour that you do not like, such as chewing, biting, barking and pulling on the lead. Most vets are more aware how important puppy social classes are and work with local training clubs.
Most clubs offer starter courses, usually of 8 or 10 weeks duration, a fee is payable before you start. All clubs should insist on seeing vaccination certificates as well. Always ask if you can watch a class before you join. If you are told NO, then do not consider paying for something you have not seen. It is worthwhile watching not only the class you will be joining, but also the higher class to see what can be achieved.
What should you expect to see at a training club?
Expect to see friendly people and happy dogs.
DO NOT expect to see people shouting at their dogs all the time, hitting them or continually checking them on a check chain, shouting ´heel, heel´ at the top of their voices.
Expect to see dogs being taught the recall (to come back when called). In a happy manner, being praised and played with, not being yanked in on a lead, or the owner calling them in a threatening manner, and the dogs coming back hesitantly.
Listen to the Trainers
Are they telling people to praise their dogs? Are they encouraging and imparting information at the same time? Is the whole class involved and interested, or are they bored and talking amongst themselves.
Some bad clubs have a bully type person as a so-called trainer. This person stands in the middle with everyone walking around them, shouting all the time and humiliating the person that gets it wrong. This is not repeat NOT training, and you and your dog will learn nothing. Your trainer should be able to advise you numerous things such as toilet training, tips on chewing. But if you have a specific behavioural problem you might need an in-depth consultation and the training club is not the place for this. Speak to your trainer about a private session in your home, if they cannot help you, they will know someone that can.
ABOVE ALL REMEMBER THAT YOUR DOG IS FOR LIFE AND ITS TRAINING SHOULD BE AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE. A WELL TRAINED DOG IS A JOY TO OWN, AN UNTRAINED ONE QUICKLY BECOMES A MENACE AND A BURDEN.
Finally, do not attend a club that insists on putting a check chain on your puppy. With the right type of training it should not be necessary.
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