The Benefits of Private Training….
according to the Monks of New Skete
In their book “How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend”, the Monks have this to say about private training vs. classes:
… even though obedience classes remain a convenient and economical way to train dogs, there are a number of qualifying factors to consider. Our experience has been … that classes are not as helpful as working with a private trainer, since the class setting is inevitably a highly distracting environment. Just imagine fifteen owners, each with a spirited, out-of-control dog at the end of a leash, valiantly trying to pay attention to the trainer’s instructions, and you see the difficulty. Ordinarily, the dogs are so focused on one another that it is extremely difficult to recoup their attentions without a lot of force and yelling. That can make training unpleasant and unproductive.
Dogs learn best when they can focus their attention completely on the trainer, in a quiet, distraction-free environment. With nothing competing for the dog’s attention, it is much easier to bring the dog to a basic understanding obedience exercises…
Since the instructor is working with a large number of people, it might not always be possible to to repeat information and answer every question….
Don’t expect tons of personal attention in dog obedience school. If you are lucky enough to find an instructor who insists on small classes, you may get some personal help. But in most large classes with a set time limit, the instructor simply can’t stop to take five or ten minutes with each person….. Our clients report that lack of individual attention is the biggest single drawback of obedience classes. Clients needing or desiring much counseling should not expect to get it in a large class. Some instructors, while skilled in teaching basic exercises, have little or no experience in diagnosing more complicated canine behavior and can sometimes hand out bad remedies.
Although more expensive than a local obedience class, the personalized attention you and your dog receive (from a private trainer) is well worth it. In general, it is easier to tailor private training to an owner’s specific needs and problems, and at a time that is convenient for you.
With a qualified private trainer you have the advantage of his or her undivided attention during the session, and the training can proceed more naturally at your own pace. Not only are you able to observe firsthand his or her techniques, but, more importantly, the skilled private trainer is continually helping you learn how to train your dog. Remember, that’s the real point.
You need to become comfortable working with your dog in real life, and this is more easily achieved under the tutelage of a professional who can steadily help you and your dog overcome the challenges of your specific living environment. This is particularly so in regard to setting up and dealing with distracting situations that have been difficult for you to deal with and that you need to be able to handle in everyday life.
Deep-seated canine behavioral problems cannot be solved simply by attending obedience classes. Though your dog might become expert with the heel, sit, stay, and lay down commands, the living room rug might still get chewed, the backyard excavated, of the neighbor’s cats chased and killed. Especially in the case of aggressive behavior, try to get individual attention and dog-owner counseling.
*How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend by The Monks of New Skete Copyright 2002