Choosing the right dog school for your pet

  • Animals
  • Wednesday, 10 Feb 2021

Group training is especially useful for dogs that otherwise have little contact with other dogs. — dpa

A well-educated dog makes life much easier – no more tugging on the leash or snarling at other dogs. Dogs can also be stressed if they don’t have set boundaries and know what is expected of them.

That’s why many dog lovers choose to get professional training for their pets.

Generally, dog training school is about learning to understand your dog, interpreting its behaviour and reacting in an appropriate way by giving the right signals.

“It makes sense not to pick the first available school but to have a look around, ” says Melanie Schneider, trainer and owner of a dog training school in Herten, Germany.

Asking other pet owners can be a good starting point. “Most dog owners are well connected because they meet other dog owners while going for walks, ” Schneider says.

It is important to compare dog schools’ websites: “You should look at which qualifications the trainers have and if they have a certificate, ” Schneider recommends.

The best trainers tend to have some experience. “If you have a specific problem, it makes sense to look for someone nearby who specialises in that, ” the training expert says.

It is important the training is animal-friendly. “Sometimes you can tell from the website, otherwise you can ask or will see during the first session.”

Schneider recommends not to use props that inflict pain or scare the dog. “That includes collars made of chains or with spikes and no-pull collars.”

Trainers should work with treats and not punishment or subordination, in order to reward positive behaviour.

It is best to opt for individual training first to get to know the school. Then you can always decide to switch to group sessions if that is more to your taste.

Some dogs have little contact with other dogs. “Then it makes sense to go to group training where the animals can get in contact freely and play together, ” says Katrin Umlauf, pet expert at the German Animal Welfare Federation.

But individual sessions also have their upsides, as the trainer can focus on your animal and work on its problems more precisely. This can be beneficial especially for dogs that have had noticeable problems in the past, Umlauf says.

The training sessions should not overwhelm the dog, not be too long and always end with a positive experience for the animal. – dpa

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