Making Your Pick
Choosing the right trainer for is a very personal decision and Denver offers various options to go with. There are countless ways to train puppies, and just like with teachers, not all trainers agree on the best training methods to use. This is why doing your research to find the best fit for you is imperative.
There are two distinctly different types of training in the dog raising world right now, positive reinforcement based and punishment based or "pack mentality" based. Depending on which type you go with, your experience will be drastically different. Positive reinforcement trainers are those who use praise and rewards to teach puppies how to go potty outside, be calm in their crate, listen to commands, and communicate effectively. Where as punishment based trainers, also sometimes referred to as "balanced trainers," use force, intimidation, and "corrections" to stop a dog from doing the behaviors they don't like. It's extremely important to understand the differences before selecting the best puppy training option for you and your new family member.
The American Kennel Club and Companion Animal Psychology both recommend. ALWAYS looking for a positive reinforcement trainer. Primarily because the techniques used are based on the science of animal learning and they have the benefit of building the dog and owner's bond. Punishment based training also had the huge downfall of potentially making the problems worse. These types of trainers typically use physical actions to get the dog to listen, like forcing their butt down to get a sit. They're also commonly known for using harmful training tools like e-collars, choke chains, and prong collars. Although 20+ years ago these methods would have been considered "normal," times have changed. In 2021 we now have numerous alternatives to choking or shocking our puppies. The gentler leader, for example, is a great alternative for those dogs who have a hard time with pulling. This tool causes absolutely no pain and is even more effective than the previous used tools. You also don't run the risk of accidentally damaging your relationship with your dog or even worse, cause your dog an injury like a collapsed trachea.
How Will I Know if They are the Right Trainer for my Dog?
Other than making sure they are purely positive reinforcement trainers, the best thing to do is simply ask them. Ask them about their training methods and ask if they use any type of harmful tools to teach. Be upfront about the fact that you will not be ok with any other type of treatment for your new puppy. Most trainers who are in fact positive-based, will usually proudly come out saying so.
Looking at their previous clients reviews is another great way to gauge their interactions with others and see if you find any red flag language like "forced the dog to submit" or "assert dominance." These terms will never be used by positive trainers. Be sure to give a fair assessment of their reviews because sometimes it is the clients who are voicing these words and they're not always coming from the trainers.
Should I Take my New Puppy to a Training Class?
While training classes can be a good options for socialization, they often don't give the same results as one-on-one training. This is mainly because classroom settings can be overwhelming for a new puppy. They do often cover the basics like sit, stay, come, but they don't usually have the dedicated time to answer any questions you may have as a new puppy owner. Especially considering questions around potty training and crate training, since these aren't things your dog would be able to learn in a training class. However puppy training classes do provide the right environment for your dog to make friends with strangers and other dogs as well. This is a process known as socialization. It has been determined by experts to be a critical stage in your puppies' life. They should be interacting with other dogs in order to learn proper dog greetings and play styles. This also gives them an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them in a safe and caring environment rather than a free for all at the neighborhood dog park. Trainers should always be monitoring the puppies when they are training or playing near others in class to ensure all inappropriate play is broken up. This the best way to go if you do need to get them in a class situation.
Ideally, getting them started with one-on-one training lessons is going to give you the best, most effective training results. Our trainers are all certified and we have several puppy training options in the Denver area. Let us help you give your puppy the best head start in life! Contact us today to get started.