Private or Group Dog-training Classes?
Although the old saying holds that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” it’s actually never too late or too early to train your dog. We absorb information more readily at certain ages -- and dogs do as well -- but with time and patience, you will likely see positive results.
Group sessions are usually easy to find, whether they’re at a pet store or through another local service. The truth is, however, that not all dogs do well in group sessions, much less get through them without feeling terrified or even over-stimulated by all of the fun new people, dogs and smells around.
In their book Dog Lover’s Daily Companion, Wendy Nan Rees and Kristen Hampshire suggest that your dog will benefit from private training if your pet:
- Becomes too distracted in groups and is not able to focus properly
- Displays aggression toward other dogs and/or people
- Has a shy owner (you) who will not feel comfortable asking questions and requesting help in group situations
- Can only seem to learn commands in familiar places, such as your backyard or living room
You can often solve some of these problems with a private trainer, and then later enroll your dog in public classes. It’s also nice to do a combination of the two, if possible. Just like kids who receive private tutoring, your dog would then benefit from the personalization of private training, as well as the socialization pets can receive in group classes.