Are Dog Training Group Classes Necessary?
Your puppy or older dog has completed basic obedience training. Congratulations! You and your pet have not only developed trust and strengthened your bond, but your puppy or dog is well on their way to becoming a loyal, loving companion.
Dog Training Elite West Michigan knows dog training is truly a lifelong pursuit. As your puppy or dog masters the basics, you can move onto more complicated tricks and training. Maybe you’ve progressed from “sit” to seeing how long they can hold it, or you’re working on taking your pet through an obstacle course.
It can be hard to come up with new ideas to train your dog, and after months of having structured training one-on-one with your pet it can be especially difficult to know what to do next. What will benefit both you and your dog the most?
Dog Training Elite offers dog training classes in Grand Rapids for puppies and older dogs that may be the answer you’re looking for. While group training classes aren’t always necessary, they can be extremely beneficial to both your dog and you.
Benefits of Group Classes
Just like humans, dogs all have their own personalities. Some may receive and respond to all the training they need from private, one-on-one instruction, while others may find great benefit from attending a group class. Group classes can be a great asset to both dogs and their owners, since it provides them with many different situations and experiences they may not otherwise have. Here are some other benefits of attending group dog training classes:
Group dog training classes have a number of benefits, particularly with socialization. Taking a puppy to group classes once they’re immunized will help them grow into a well-socialized dog comfortable with other dogs and humans. Older dogs who weren’t well socialized as puppies can learn to socialize in a small, safe environment. Trainers will recognize signs of possible conflict between dogs and help owners learn how to diffuse situations and take care of their pets, and dogs will learn how to interact appropriately with each other.
Dog training classes can also be beneficial for owners! If you bring your dog to a group class, you’ll meet other dog owners and become part of a community. Dog Training Elite West Michigan likes to make group classes exciting for both dogs and their owners, so expect to learn fun training games and enjoy an environment that feels less like a class and more like a social outing. Classes meet once a week, and both you and your dog will look forward to going every week.
Besides the socialization benefits, group classes are a great tool for dogs to learn to work around distractions. If your dog is perfectly obedient at home, but loses his or her mind at the dog park and forgets all they’ve learned, group classes are the way to go. Group classes are a safe way to help your dog learn to listen to you, even when they’re surrounded by exciting sights, smells and sounds.
Hands on Learning
In a dog training class, you are in control of the training. While your pooch may occasionally be used as the ‘demo’ dog, there will be very few instances where your dog only has to listen to the trainer. With a class, you are the trainer, and the instructor is just acting as a guide. With all of Dog Training Elite West Michigan’s training options - in-home or through a class - you will always be the No. 1 trainer, not just sitting on the sidelines as someone else takes charge.
Each dog is unique, and the small classes at Dog Training Elite West Michigan will allow you and your dog to still receive personalized attention and training. You will also have the opportunity to learn from other dogs and their owners. Imagine the trainer advises another owner how to help their dog learn to play independently. Later, you might remember the advice and apply it to your own dog, away from the class.
*Classes are open to all dog breeds and sizes, but all dogs are required to be immunized.
Our Balanced Theory
We base our training around the "Classical Conditioning" model (a.k.a. "Pavlovian" or "respondent conditioning"). This includes developing conditioned or automatic reflexes to commands. In its simplest form (after proper conditioning), when the owner says "sit," the dog automatically sits without thinking about it. Our unique techniques ensure our program is a success no matter what behavior we encounter.
We empower owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.
We deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.
We train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).
We support owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").
We work with all members of the household.
Simplified & Customized
We plan training around the owner's schedule and require only 15 min/day follow-up practice.
Additional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.
We follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.
Our high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.
clas·si·cal con·di·tion·ing PSYCHOLOGY noun A learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired; a response that is at first elicited by the second stimulus and is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.
The Dog Training Elite West Michigan Difference
Regardless of whether it’s an in-home training session or a group class, the Dog Training Elite West Michigan training method is the same. Dog Training Elite West Michigan focuses on positive reinforcement, also called “Classical Conditioning” or the “Pavlovian” method. Research has shown positive reinforcement to be more effective with longer lasting results than other training methods.
Dog Training Elite West Michigan does not use punishments or shock collars and instead pairs positive reinforcement training with an electronic collar for superior results. An electronic collar is not a shock collar and does not harm the dog. It is a gentle electronic pulse, similar to the tug of a leash, used to get the dog’s attention. It is never used as a punishment for bad behavior.
Other dog trainers use harsh static collars or spray collars which have been shown to be less effective. The difference becomes clear when comparing a dog that is trained out of anxiety and intimidation vs. a dog who truly desires to please from the inside out. Dog Training Elite West Michigan’s method of focusing on positive behavior reinforcement nurtures a dog’s loving and naturally obedient nature.
Signs Your Dog is Ready for Training
Every dog can benefit from training, and it can sometimes be a lifelong pursuit. If you’re wondering if training is right for you, here are some signs your dog is ready for training:
Your Dog is Destructive
Whether it’s chewing on furniture or shoes, going to the bathroom in your house, or anything else your dog is not supposed to do -- it’s time to get them trained out of these sorts of behaviors. Even older dogs who were previously well-behaved may develop bad habits later in life and need a training refresher.
Your Dog is Aggressive
Aggression can manifest itself in multiple ways; perhaps your dog growls or snaps at you when you get close to his or her food, or toys. Even more concerning is when your dog is aggressive towards other dogs or humans. Yes, sometimes dogs play in a way that seems aggressive, but if your dog is lunging at or snapping at people or other dogs while you’re on walks, it’s time to get a trainer’s help.
Your Dog Misbehaves on Their Leash
Walking nicely on a leash does not come naturally to most dogs but it is something that can be learned. Again, even older dogs who previously walked well on a leash may start to act out.
Your Dog is Anxious or Fearful
If your dog is dealing with severe separation anxiety, or is fearful in new environments, a trainer can help. For separation anxiety a trainer will work with you and your dog on a routine to reassure your dog. General training, especially in group classes, can help dogs build confidence.
Your Dog Ignores You at the Park
Or on walks, or whenever you’re outside. If your dog is obedient when they’re in your home, but loses their mind outside, he or she would benefit from more training. Group classes can be especially helpful because they put your dog in a safe environment with the kinds of distractions you experience outside. Training your dog in situations where there are other distractions helps them learn to obey even when there are other stimulating sights and sounds.
Join a Group Class Today!
Don’t wait! Find your nearest Dog Training Elite West Michigan location to find a group class schedule and join a group dog training class today. Start building a community for you and your dog, and continue to strengthen your bond with your furry best friend.
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Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation
At Dog Training Elite West Michigan, we believe that Service Dogs save lives. It is our mission to make these life-saving companions available to our Veterans, First Responders, Women Survivors, and Children with Medical Needs. Whether it be for PTSD, Mobility Support, or Special Needs, Dog Training Elite West Michigan work's with the Malinois Foundation to heal and empower these individuals with a specialized service animal, a partner in life, and a new best friend.