Unless a school has been recommended to you, it is a good idea to visit a class without your dog. Here are few hints and tips to be looking for from a good dog training school:
- The location the class is held in should be clean and is better if held indoors (less distraction for the dogs)
- Only positive training techniques should be used. Classes that use punishment methods of teaching (e.g. use of choke chains or throwing items at the dog) should be avoided as these training methods are ineffective and can cause the dogs to develop behaviour problems.
- Allow the dogs to socialise under supervision by the trainers and their assistants.
- Classes should not be a free for all where all dogs are just let off their leads without knowing that all the dogs will play safely together.
- The dogs should be enjoying themselves and at ease.
- Are children allowed to attend the classes and can they also try some of the items you are taught. It is a good idea if everyone in the household can come along so everyone learns the same good training practises.
- Do the trainers allow you to ask questions or discuss concerns?
- How many dogs are allowed in a class? Too many and you may find it hard to listen, the dogs are distracted easily, not have much time to practise the exercises in class and you may not get chance to ask the trainers questions.
- Do the trainers have any qualifications in dog training, animal psychology and/or behaviour? Ask if you can see them.
- Do they have insurance cover in case of accident?
For a list of APDT members, and the code such dog trainers abide by, please see the APDT web site.