Back to school time is upon us and, what with the spirit of learning and self-improvement in the air, why leave your dog out of all the fun? There are plenty of ways to help your pup be the best dog they can be, and with your kids out of the house all day, what better time to start? With classes geared towards dogs of varying age, size, and ability, there is a little something for everybody out there.
Getting Back To Basics
A great way to ensure that your dog is always playing nice is to go through some behavioral and obedience training. Whether or not you take your dog to a professional trainer, you should at least consult with a professional or follow the example of a reputable training book.
While these two types of training (behavior and obedience) may seem synonymous, they both focus on a separate part of establishing that solid foundation that every young dog should have before pursuing advanced training.
1. Behavioral training
Behavioral training focuses primarily on keeping your dog from acting out, even in high stress situations, and helping them learn how to act around people and other pets. Behavioral training should be the first step, laying the groundwork before you embark on more specific forms of training.
2. Obedience Training
Obedience training means making sure your dog listens when you talk and knows how to follow your directions. Learning commands like sit, stay, heel, lay down, and other basics, obedience training makes it easier to control your dog.
This type of beginner training is undoubtedly easier to instill when your dog is young, but it is never too late to start.
Ready for Some Advanced Training?
So your dog already knows all the basics, you say? Well, let’s kick it up a notch! Here are a few more advanced types of training you can try out. See if your pup can keep up!
3. Agility Training
Ever seen those dog sized obstacle courses at fairs or dog shows? This growing sport is known as agility training, and it requires a fair amount of discipline. It is, essentially, a bunch of pretty difficult tricks all done in sequence. Not a field suitable for all breeds, this is primarily an athletic dog’s game (think Retriever, Collie, Shepherd, etc).
4. Therapy Dog Training
Our dogs are incredible. That goes without saying, but is it fair to keep them all to ourselves? Getting your dog certified as a therapy dog is a great way to show the world how great your dog is while doing something awesome for those in need. Great for dogs of any breed, therapy training is in many ways like an advanced level obedience course, with one heck of a final exam. But if your dog passes, they will be state certified as safe for anyone to be around AND therapeutic. Your dog just became medicine.
5. Guard Dog
For those among us that have a big dog and would like to put those powerful mandibles to work on something that isn’t the corner of your sofa, guard dog training can be a very worthwhile endeavor. Despite what people may think, this is not at all like training a fighting dog. A guard dog is still as sweet as ever around their family and those people their family is comfortable around, only using their training when they sense a serious threat. Definitely not for all dogs (maybe let your Basset Hound sit this one out), big, athletic dogs like German Shepherds or Rottweilers can be quite menacing, and when properly trained, one of the best burglar deterrents around.
6. Musical Canine Freestyle
Feeling funky? Want to dance with your doggy? Well, this new sport involves a complete mastery of a number of different tricks, all done in sequence, and done with their human partner to a song. Like some kind of trans-species square dance, musical canine freestyle combines all of the fun aspects of competitive obedience, and puts it to some groovy tunes. See how well your dog listens the artsy way by creating some command choreography.
Wondering how to get started?
Check out these Top 1o Dog Training Tips.