Out of all the available breeds to choose from, why did you decide to add a Golden Retriever to your family? Chances are you probably wanted a companion and a friend.
You may have wanted a dog that could do things with you like run along the beach, catch tennis balls, and hike in the mountains. To do these things, however, your Golden Retriever needs training.
Many dog owners won’t admit their dog needs training. “He does everything I ask,” they say. Yet when asked specific questions about their dog’s behavior, the story changes. A trained dog is not going to jump on people, dash out the door each time it is opened, or raid the trash can.
Dog owners can benefit from training, too. Owners learn how to teach their dog, how to praise him, and how to motivate him to want to be good. They also learn how to prevent problem behavior from happening and how to correct the mistakes that do occur.
Dog training is much more than the traditional sit, down, stay, and come. Dog training means teaching your Golden that he is living in your house, and not his. It means that you can establish some household rules and that he is expected to follow those rules. It doesn’t mean that you will be turning him into a little robot, but it will cause your dog to look at you differently. Training isn’t something you do to your Golden, but rather something that the two of you do together.
Training helps build a relationship between you and your dog. This relationship is built on trust, affection, and mutual respect. Training can help your dog become your best friend and a well-mannered companion who is a joy to spend time with.
Both group classes and private classes have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In group classes, the dog learns to behave around other distractions, specifically, the other dogs and people in the class. In addition, group classes work much like group therapy for the dog owners. The owners can share triumphs and mishaps and can encourage and support one another.
The disadvantage to group classes is that for some dogs, the distractions of the group class are too much. Some dogs simply cannot concentrate, especially in the beginning. For these dogs, a few private lessons may help enough so that the dog can join a group class later. Dogs with severe behavior problems-especially aggression toward other dogs or people –should also bypass group classes for obvious reasons.
Private lessons are effective for dogs with specific problems, such as aggressive behavior. Private training is also good for dogs who are too distracted in a group setting or for dog owners who are reluctant to speak up in a group class. The disadvantage of private lessons is the lack of distraction. For many instructors, the goals of private training is to get the dog and owner to the point that they can eventually join a group class.
Dogs simply cannot concentrate, especially in the beginning. For these dogs, a few private lessons may help enough so that the dog can join a group class later. Dogs with severe behavior problems-especially aggression toward other dogs or people –should also bypass group classes for obvious reasons.
Puppy or kindergarten classes are usually for puppies over 10 weeks of age but not over 16 weeks. These classes are half training and half socialization. The puppy’s owner learns how to housetrain his puppy, how to set up some household rules, and how to prevent problems from happening. The puppy learns some basic commands like sit and come. In addition, the puppy gets a chance to socialize and play with the people and puppies attending the class.
Basic Obedience Class
This class is usually for dogs over four months of age. In this class, the dogs and their owners work on the basic obedience commands, including sit, down, stay, heel, and come. Most instructors also spend time discussing problem prevention and problem solving, especially the common problems like jumping on people, barking, digging, and chewing.
Dog Sports Training
Some instructors will offer classes preparing your dog to participate or compete in dog sports. These are the classes to take if you and your Golden will be competing in obedience, agility, flyball, or other dog sports.
Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book. This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.