We all know that training our dogs brings numerous benefits. Keeping our dogs under control not only helps to prevent them from becoming involved in hazardous or dangerous situations, but it also strengthens the bond between owner and pet.
With a wide variety of dog training options available, an increasingly popular choice is group training classes. Read on to find out the reasons why your pup – and you – may benefit from attending a group dog training class.
What to expect at a group dog class
Group classes vary from a private lesson in one very obvious way – the number of other dogs (and humans) present.
With the potential to meet a number of different dogs, group classes could appear to be a daunting prospect if you have a dog who is particularly hyperactive when meeting others for the first time. Similarly, you may be anxious about signing your dog up if they are timid or skittish. Yet the group atmosphere can actually prove to be a positive in the long run.
“Naturally, it can be a little overwhelming at first – for both the dogs and their owners,” explains Stasia Dempster, a group class trainer at Highland Canine. “But as the weeks tick by, you’ll notice a distinct change in your dog’s confidence. Private lessons are great, but group classes offer a unique opportunity for your dog to gain invaluable experience around others.”
Whilst private lessons usually focus on aspects specific to your dog such as behavior modification or specific sport or trick training, group classes are far more generalized, as Stasia explains.
“In each group class, there will be typically be a ‘lesson of the day’ with an explanation as to what your dog will learn, why it’s useful, and how to apply it. Once we understand the theory, we’ll go through a demonstration, and then the owners and dogs will try it for themselves. We’ll troubleshoot any problems and ensure everyone is able to implement what they’ve learned before they leave.”
What are the benefits of group dog training?
Bringing your dog to a group class run by a professional trainer can provide lots of useful benefits:
- Your dog will benefit from socialization. If you simply want to work on basic manners or give your pup the opportunity to interact with other dogs, there is probably no better setting than a group class. It can be the perfect environment for your dog to meet and play with others, particularly for puppies who are at an age where socialization is critical.
- Your dog will have to learn around others. Group classes have plenty of in-built distractions for your dog. By being in the presence of others (humans and animals), your dog will learn the necessary discipline about when to learn – and when to play.
- You’ll meet fellow dog owners. The group dynamic allows participants to share their stories and learn from one another, and you may find that members of the group will be able to help and motivate one another during the class.
- Your dog will learn lots of new skills and commands. As a group class can cover a number of topics, your dog will gain the ability to learn lots of new skills. This will make it easier for you to control your dog both at home and in public, and will further build the bond between the two of you.
- You’ll learn about other training issues. During the course of the group class, there will usually be opportunities to ask questions of the trainer leading the session. This can be a great learning experience and, by listening to the answers, you’ll gain the knowledge to resolve issues that may occur in the future.
What types of dog group classes are available?
One great feature of group classes is that you can encourage your dog to learn in lots of different ways – it doesn’t have to be confined simply to obedience or commands. You can teach your dog to hone its agility skills or try their paws at a dog sport.
For example, at Highland Canine, we offer several different types of group classes. In addition to our basic and advanced obedience classes, at various points throughout the year, we also offer:
- Clicker Foundation
- Therapy Dog
- Agility for Fun
- Dog Tricks
- Rally Obedience
- K9 Scent Work
- Tracking for Fun
- Canine Rehab
For more information on upcoming group classes at Highland Canine, refer to our dog training events calendar. If you’re interested in a class that isn’t currently listed on our calendar, please contact us to find out when it is scheduled to take place!
Group classes can be fun for your dog - and for you!
A group dog training class is not only a great way to keep your dog socialized and teach them new skills, but it also allows you to meet and build a rapport with fellow pet owners in your community.
Your dog will be able to add to their skillset, which in turn, will increase their confidence – and build upon the existing bond and trust between yourself and your pup.