Dog Training: Private Lessons or Group Classes?

Concerning dog training, the question of taking private lessons or group classes is a big concern in the minds of dog owners. There are advantages to both for your puppy or mature dog.




The Advantages of Private Lessons for Your Dog

With private lessons you get “one-on-one” coaching. The entire session is dedicated to you and your dog, and is tailored to your needs. Your trainer can teach your dog the basics, and explain why some things work and some things don’t. Also, since many of the annoying behaviors that many dogs exhibit occur primarily in the home, they can’t be duplicated in a class so the owner keeps getting angry or frustrated. Dogs jumping visitors, counter-surfing, stealing things, destroying property, and more are taken care of where it’s happening in private lessons at home. Both good manners and basic behaviors are worked on without the distractions found in a class with several dogs and owners who are trying to hear the instructor and train their own dogs. At home the schedule and the program are worked around the owner’s needs, and the dog has a better opportunity to focus and learn, usually in a shorter time period. The trainer will also go outside with you and your pet, and build skill levels in a variety of places. In addition, most trainers can include family members in the sessions, whereas almost all group classes will only let the adult owner handle the dog. Including spouses and children in the private lessons is extremely helpful so that each person gets their opportunity to work with the dog. Summarizing, privates offer flexibility, individual coaching, and usually faster results.


The Advantages of Group Classes for Your Dog

Group classes do have some advantages. First, they are usually more affordable. After all, in privates the time and attention is dedicated only to the one client, whereas the group trainer has to split their time amongst the needs of all of the dog/owner teams. The dogs get socialization, and puppy classes should have some short period of time for a monitored play. It must be remembered that socialization goes beyond a classroom, and should mean introducing and including your dog in meeting other adults and children, and exposing them throughout their lives to different places and things. In group classes the owner may have to work harder to get their dog to focus, but by doing that the dog starts to learn with distractions. Owners do need to know that group classes are not set up for dogs that have problems with other dogs or are very reactive to other people. The trainer is responsible for working with all the owners and dogs, and may have a difficult time working in the lesson agenda if having to spend an inordinate amount of time with dogs with issues. In both the privates and the groups, the instructor is still looking for success for each of the owners and their dogs.

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