Does My Dog Need Obedience Training?

Good boy 🥰

dog obedience training

You love your pup to pieces, but does it ever feel like he’s not really listening to you? You know, like when you ask him politely to sit three times, but he’s standing there smiling at you and wagging his tail?

Moments like these might have you wondering if your BFF would benefit from dog obedience training. (Even though he’s still perfect just the way he is.)

Training can be good for you and your dog, according to Joan Hunter Mayer, certified professional dog trainer and owner of The Inquisitive Canine.

What is dog obedience training?

For starters, Hunter Mayer prefers not to think about it as “obedience” training.

“‘Obedience’ is a more old-fashioned, somewhat outdated term for teaching dogs manners and ‘life skills’ that would be useful for living and adapting to our human world,” Hunter Mayer told The Dodo.

Instead, she likes to think of it as teaching your dog “manners.”

“It could involve simple skills such as ‘sit,’ ‘down’ and walking nicely on leash, to more advanced skills such as lying down in an outdoor cafe, to coming when called at a crowded beach,” Hunter Mayer said.

How to get started with training

Before diving into training your pup, you should first figure out if you want to get professional help (like hire a trainer or enroll him in classes) or attempt it on your own.

If you decide to try a more DIY approach, there are going to be a few things you’ll need, like:

What to look for in a training program

When you’re researching training programs to teach your dog good manners, you should keep an eye out for a few things.

“​​Good practices would include using humane, force-free, reward-based techniques to teach, shaping the dog’s behavior slowly,” Hunter Mayer said.

Finding a trainer who’s Fear Free certified and doesn’t use negative reinforcement tactics is important because it’s the best way to make sure your dog isn’t scared or uncomfortable during training.

“We believe that a Fear Free and force-free approach with dog handling ensures the dog is safe, free from harm and encouraged to participate in the activities,” Hunter Mayer said. “We are giving the dog [the] choice to engage with the handler/caregiver or not.”

How much does dog ‘obedience’ training cost?

The cost of these training courses will vary depending on where you’re looking. But according to Hunter Mayer, you can find training at pretty much any price point.

“There are many training resources in the world,” Hunter Mayer said. “From those that are free through online resources, to low-cost at local animal shelters and rescue groups, to hundreds (and even thousands) through private training, board and train arrangements, and dog ‘camps.’”

How long does it take to teach your dog manners?

On average, according to Hunter Mayer, these training courses are typically six sessions and can be catered to your pup’s age and training level.

“Taking a couple of six-session classes is a great way to start, but dogs go through more than puppy and adolescent stages,” Hunter Mayer said. “I highly recommend that pet parents continue their dog’s education by attending classes and workshops, or even brushing up with private training, just to help keep the dog’s skills maintained — or maybe learn something new!”

And even outside of class, your BFF is always working on his manners. (Honestly, aren’t we all?)

“Dogs learn throughout their entire life, whether someone is actively training them or not,” Hunter Mayer said.

Dog obedience training can be a super fun bonding experience for you and your pup that’ll teach you both something new!