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School’s Open!!! Finding the Right School for Your Dog


It’s back to school time for kids and a good time to consider schooling for your pup or even full grown pet.  Here are tips for training programs for your furry friend.

1. Puppy Kindergarten- 10 weeks old is a great time to start school for your pup. It’s a time of rapid learning where your pup will learn basic behaviors including house-training, jumping up, nipping, sit, stay, come, and loose-leash walks.  A bit of training at this early age will make for a happier life for both you and your dog.

2. Obedience Classes – At 6 months your pup is a teenager in dog years and effective training programs can help navigate the rocky teenage years. Children go to school to become good citizens and it’s the same with dogs. The goal is to develop behaviors which foster healthy relationships and positive interactions with humans and other dogs.  A quick Google search will find many such programs in your area or a check of Yelp will provide a list of reviews.

3. Canine Good Citizen Training – In 1989 the American Kennel Club introduced this standardized program. It includes important daily living skills such as: meeting strangers, sitting politely, walking on a loose lead, walking in a crowd, coming when called, interacting with another dog, reacting to a distraction and supervised separation. You can find more information and clubs in your area by clicking here.

4. Going to School in the City – Dog parenting in urban settings poses special challenges and risks. There are many programs which offer this kind of curriculum.  The best known is the American Kennel Club’s Urban Canine Good Citizen.  Offered by clubs around the country it offers your city companion skills to live in and navigate a city environment with skills such as entering new buildings, walking on crowded sidewalks, reacting to loud noises, attention by strangers, navigating stairs and elevators, and entering public transportation. A pet stroller may serve as a transport vehicle to and from school.  A search tool is available here to find a program near you.

5. Online Dog Training Programs – Online education has moved from the local college to provide stay at home training programs for you and your pup. While these don’t have the standard curriculum of the AKC programs, they are accessible and let you train your dog in his home environment. Here are a few examples:
E-Training for Dogs
Cyberdog Online  
The Online Dog Trainer
Udemy Catalogue of Online Courses

6. Individual training programs – Tutoring, small group instruction and “after school” help is available from a wide variety of individuals and organizations.  Yelp makes it easy to find and evaluate services near you – just click on this link to search in your area.  Before signing up visit several programs and watch how the trainers interact with the dogs. Look for trainers who hold certifications from one or more of the following organizations:
  • The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
  • The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC
  • The Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP)
  • The Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI)
  • The International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP
  • The National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI)
  • The Karen Pryor Academy (KPR

Educating your pet will make a better life for both you and your pet. 

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