January is “National Train Your Dog Month”! Whether you are thinking about getting a dog or if you are brand new puppy parent, the word “training” can sound overwhelming. The thought of where to start, how much to spend, or “will my dog be okay?” are all very important things to consider when deciding on how to train your dog. We will go over the different styles of training such as in-home or a training school. We will also dive into the different types of classes often made available by trainers. Training is meant to bring you and your dog closer together and improve communication between the owner and the dog.

“Should I get my dog trained?” is a question we get nearly every day. The answer is yes you should. There can be a misconception that training your dog takes out the playfulness in them, when in fact providing your dog with consistent commands and boundaries will make your dog more relaxed. Providing consistent leadership allows your dog to trust you and assure them that everything is okay. Of course, training will help when our dogs are in social environments, provide better manners, help with separation anxiety, help with aggression problems, and really equip them with a higher level of obedience. If you are thinking “I should be okay without training”, we highly suggest getting training for your dogs’ sake. As mentioned, having training allows your dog to understand you better, and a lack of understanding can often times present a lot of stress on a dog. Hiring a dog trainer does not by any means, mean that you failed as a dog parent.

The next question we normally get is “Should I train them in-home or at a training school?”. This is a great question which does not have a right answer as it really depends on the dog and the owner and what is right for their lifestyle. Of course, just like anything there are pros and cons. Lets begin with pros to training in-home versus in a dog training school. Some Pros to at home training are building a stronger relationship with your dog, as you are the trainer who is instilling the rules. Training at home is also cost effective. No, it is not free as we still strongly urge you to use training tools such as treats for positive reinforcement, and the Starmark Pro-Training Clicker for making positive reinforcement more efficient. Spotty Indoor Dog Potty Pads work great for teaching your dog where it is okay to do their business indoors. And the last thing item we will suggest is Grannick’s Bitter Apple Taste Deterrent for Dogs, which discourages your dog from fur biting and hair chewing and prevents hot spots. Can also be used on household surfaces. Some of the cons to training at home is the fact that your dog is not getting to socialize with other dogs. Socializing is a big part of training your dog. Training at home also does not challenge your dog to listen to you in an environment outside of your home where plenty of distractions present themselves. Some of the pros to hiring a trainer or enrolling your dog in a school is knowing that your dog is in the hands of someone who has a lot of experience training dogs and has the proper training and certifications (always ask them for proof of certifications). Hiring a professional is great for helping with temperaments and aggressive behavior as well. Again, there is no right or wrong answer as to what style of training is better. It is important to take the time to weigh the pros and cons and consider which is best for you and your dog.

Not all dog training is the same. It certainly is not a one size fits all as all dogs are unique and need guidance in different areas than perhaps another dog. There are all kinds of classes such as kennel training, puppy training, leash training, off-leash training, protection training, and more!

Dogs are born to be dogs, not humans. So, without training it is impossible for dogs to know what we expect from humans. We strongly urge you to look into at-home training or hiring a trainer for both you and your dog’s best interest.