How Beneficial Are Group Classes?
While our Orlando dog training programs are mainly in-home, we do try to offer group classes in the area. Many people request and specifically seek out group training classes for their dogs. It’s a good way to approach dog training for certain people and dogs, and gives the dog more opportunities to be around other dogs, people, and distractions during the training.
Group classes can be a fun and exciting way to train your dog, just ask our friend who is a dog trainer in Cincinnati. However, it’s not best for all dogs and owners. In some cases, group classes could be more detrimental, rather than beneficial for your dog’s behavior progress. Here are a few things to consider when investigating group class options:
1. The attention your dog needs. If you think your dog needs extra help, or “special” attention, then a group class may not work out. Group classes tend to involve multiple students, ranging from three dogs/clients to maybe even twenty, depending on the trainer’s available space. If your dog needs more attention than usual, that might be hard to get that in a group class. In-home training can provide this one-on-one attention and work.
2. Socialization. This is usually the biggest reason why people want to enroll their dogs in group classes. They see the class as an opportunity to work on their dog’s socialization with other dogs and other people. If your dog has never really been socialized with other people and dogs, it’s probably better to start slowly. I like to recommend meeting other dogs and people in smaller doses, before throwing them in an unfamiliar environment, teeming with other dogs (of different temperaments) and other people. This can be overwhelming at first, and should be something to work toward. Do doggie play dates before the dog park or group classes. The last thing you want is to put your dog in situation where they are going think socializing with other dogs or people is a negative thing. You don’t want to inadvertently build more fear or aggression in your dog. Prevent this from happening by gradually desensitizing your dog under controlled circumstances.
3. Severity of behaviors. Most group classes cover a lot of basic obedience, working on manners, commands, proper greetings, desensitization and distraction work. However, if your dog is known to be very reactive or aggressive, then the group class environment may not be the best situation. It sets your dog up for failure at the get-go, sets you as the owner up to be on edge and anxious immediately, and your dog may not even be allowed in the class, due to possible safety risks. No one wants their dog to get bit, or for their dog to act out and be the one that bites a person or another dog.
Group classes can be great for socialization and for basic obedience, but also think hard if this is something that should be attempted later. If you feel like you have no control of your dog in your home, then you’re probably not going to have much control outside of the home, even with a trainer standing by. It’ll be easier for you and your dog to do private in-home work, and then use group classes as a way to reinforce the one-on-one training, but with some distractions includes and setups for greeting, socializing, etc.
If you’re interested in any of our dog training programs, call us at 800-649-7297 and we’ll find the program that is most suited to you and your dog’s needs!