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Dog training boot camp 101.
As more people join the pet industry, so do new problems. Dogs don’t bark, they whine. They don’t eat right, they’re overweight. The pet industry is expanding at a rapid rate and so is the volume of questions in need of answers. I’ve been in the pet industry for 10 years now. I’ve seen everything from the best pet supply store in town to a dog training boot camp with no formal training to become a professional trainer.
I thought I’d try to answer as many questions as possible.
First off, let me make this very clear. I have NEVER been to a dog training boot camp. I have no certifications. I have never, ever taught people how to train a dog. I don’t even know much about dogs.
The following information is strictly a guide based on my knowledge and experience. Everything in this blog post should be considered a general guide. You should never take what you read as gospel and always seek out professional help from a professional trainer.
When someone asks you “should I invest in a training class for my dog?” your first thought is probably “why not?”. This article should answer the question “why not” for you.
What are dog training boot camps?
Dog training boot camps are a series of group classes geared at teaching people how to train dogs. The classes are usually 4 or 5 hours in length and are a combination of lectures, role playing exercises and one on one time with trainers.
I’ve been to one dog training boot camp in my life and there’s only one way to go. They’re a blast, filled with an all out social atmosphere. It’s definitely a fun way to spend your weekend.
I’m not going to get into the debate as to whether dog training boot camps work or not. It is an investment. Just like a good book, a quality training class can help you achieve a great deal in your dog’s life.
Here are 3 reasons you should attend a dog training class:
1. Improve your ability to understand dogs and teach them.
Dogs that learn from a professional trainer are better equipped to learn from you as a person. If you know how a dog thinks and learns, you will have a better understanding of what it takes to teach it.
Dogs are individuals, just like humans. What works with one dog may not work with another. Every dog and owner has different needs and abilities. A trainer will be able to customize a program for you based on your needs and your ability.
2. Learn to teach your dog a new behavior in less than 30 days.
As a dog owner, I understand the frustration of not knowing how to solve a problem. Sometimes I simply have to wait for a new behavior to develop.
Here’s what we can do as trainers in just 2-4 weeks. We can teach you to become a more consistent handler. If your dog learns a new trick in just 4 weeks, imagine what a week with a professional trainer would do?
3. Earn your Dog Trainer Certification
Dog training certifications are important to the trainers who teach and the trainers who take them. The American Dog Trainers Association (ADTA) recognizes the value of certification. The organization also recognizes the need for standards to become and remain a licensed dog trainer in the US.
The ADTA developed an online learning program that allows candidates to take the exams in the comfort of their own home. It doesn’t get much easier than that. The cost of the program is $45.95. To learn more visit http://www.theadtaa.org/ or call 1.800.827.3827.
4. Stay healthy and strong.
A properly-trained dog will always be stronger than a poorly-trained dog. I don’t care how long or short you’ve been training dogs. I don’t care if your dog is just 2 months old or a year-old, in the long run you’ll be the stronger trainer.
Your dog will respond to you more quickly and in a more positive manner if he is mentally and physically healthy.
5. Be a good team.
Trainers don’t teach dogs. But trainers learn from the dogs they train. Dogs can teach their trainers a lot of things. Dogs know where we are most vulnerable, they know what is safe and they know what they like. And they will use those behaviors as leverage against us.
I’ve always told my students that I take a leadership role when we train. I know you have a lot of work to do, and you don’t always feel like working. But as a trainer I know you can’t make the grade unless you lead. The fact that you are reading this book means you’re working hard enough.
What can we say about leadership? Well, there are many books written on the subject. This book is not about leadership but it is about teamwork.
But let’s start with the easiest one.
I can’t lead a team unless we are on the same page.
I know that you have been teaching your dog for a long time. And I know that you have the love for your dog. I know you want to do well for your dog. But if your dog isn’t going to do his part, then you’re not going to succeed.
6. Show off your dog.
If you’re going to be part of a team you have to work together.
Let me be clear, I want to see your dog do his best. I also want you to do your best.
The same goes for a team. If you’re going to be part of a team you have to work together.
You should be encouraging and supporting each other as you work. That’s how it works. In our training, I tell my students that this is what I am looking for when we are teaching our dogs. Cooperation, attention, focus and effort.
7. Make your dog work for you.
You don’t have to make your dog work. I often see that in obedience classes. You think the owner is doing their best for the dog, but often it is the owner doing the most. I am a huge supporter of hard work. That’s why I was so disappointed when I had the chance to work with a student whose dog was so lazy. We worked hard, and the student was so happy. But they didn’t really do anything for the dog. The dog didn’t care.
That’s why I was so disappointed when I had the chance to work with a student whose dog was so lazy.
Don’t make your dog work. When I was a kid I remember one of my brothers and I would work all day long. But it was all for fun. We didn’t have to do anything, but it was a lot of fun.
8. Let your dog win.
You need to think about what is going to benefit your dog. If you want your dog to be successful you need to consider the benefits to him. That’s what it’s all about. Your dog’s training doesn’t need to have every little thing as the result of your effort. Remember when we talked