Beginner dog training

The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of a Beginner Dog Training Class

Dogs, by nature, are pack animals with a well-defined social order. As you and your family become your dog's pack, your new dog will look to you – the leader of the pack – for guidance. Leadership can be established in a firm but friendly manner. Keep in mind that it is unrealistic to expect the dog to abide by the rules of the household without the leader teaching appropriate behavior!

Much like people, every dog is different. Some are hyperactive. Some are laid-back. Some are serious. Others are silly. Some are shy, and yet others have too much confidence. Regardless of these differences, training is necessary for all dogs and beneficial to your entire family.

Training will

  • Deepen the bond between you and your dog, and to increase the enjoyment, companionship and satisfaction of your relationship with your dog.
  • Ensure your dog's safety and happiness.
  • Nurture good canine companionship for the benefit of your family, neighborhood and community.

Types of Training Classes

  • Puppy Class - A developmental training course for the 3-to-5-month-old puppy. A puppy class emphasizes socialization with people and other puppies. Instructors usually offer information on growth, nutrition, grooming, housebreaking and problem-solving and teach basic household commands.
  • Basic Class - A basic training course for dogs 5-to-6 months and older, aimed at training you to train your dog. The basic class emphasizes the essential training commands needed to make a dog a good companion: heel on a loose leash, sit, stand, down, stay in position, and come when called. Instructors also usually provide information on nutrition, grooming and problem-solving. This basic training is important in keeping your dog safe.
  • Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Class - May be a separate class or a part of a beginner class at AKC clubs and other organizations. CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs that have good manners at home and in the community. Your dog will need to know the commands and exercises taught in a basic training class to qualify for a passing score on the CGC test. Dogs that pass the CGC test receive a certificate from the AKC and are recorded in the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Archive.
  • Training Classes for Companion Events - A variety of classes that prepare students and their dogs for competition in obedience, agility, tracking and other AKC events. You will be instructed in the levels of competition and titles available, how to teach your dog the required exercises, and the regulations that apply when you are competing.

How Do I Get Started in Obedience?

The best advice is to START TRAINING EARLY! Training a puppy is easier than training an adult dog because a puppy is more open to new ideas and has not yet developed "bad habits."

While it's best to start young, the old saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is only partially true. It is never too late to train your dog, although it may take longer to retrain it to eliminate undesirable habits.

Most AKC clubs conduct a variety of classes instructed by trainers who have won awards in obedience competition with their own dogs, and they make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest training techniques. They have experience training all breeds of dogs and can help solve behavior problems. Most clubs accept all types of dogs, mixed breeds and purebreds, and prospective students are usually welcome to observe a class before signing up for a training course.

When you attend classes with your dog, instructors will show you how to teach it and will expect you to practice at home. The younger the dog, the shorter the practice sessions should be. For the best results, both you and your dog should enjoy frequent short sessions, combined with some play and rewards.

Tips for the First-time Exhibitor

  • Register your dog with the AKC.
  • Be sure your dog is current on all inoculations and health check-ups.
  • Visit the AKC website to find a local obedience club.
  • Attend obedience classes with your dog.
  • Become familiar with the AKC Obedience Regulations.
  • Attend obedience trials, and become familiar with the ring procedures.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions of experienced exhibitors.

Tips for the First-time Spectator

  • However tempting, do not pet a dog without first asking for and receiving permission.
  • Many obedience trials have vendors and an information booth with helpful information for the general public. Browse, gather information and ask questions.
  • Arrive early, and bring a chair! Obedience often starts very early in the morning.
  • If you bring a baby stroller to an obedience trial, be careful not to run over any dog's tail. Be sure your child respects the dogs and does not grab or poke at them. Due to space requirements some trials do not allow baby strollers.

Purpose of AKC Obedience Trials

Consider taking obedience training with your dog to a whole new level. Enter the world of AKC obedience and help your dog realize its full potential by competing in obedience trials and earning obedience competition titles. AKC Obedience Trials demonstrate the usefulness of the dog as a companion to man. Obedience trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. AKC trials and tests allow exhibitors and their dogs to enjoy companionship and competition as they proudly earn AKC titles.

Types of Obedience Trials

  • All-breed Obedience Trials, the most common types of trials, offer competitions for the 180 breeds and varieties of dogs recognized by the AKC. Also Foundation Service Stock breeds and our Canine Partners (mixed breed) dogs are eligible.
  • Specialty Trials are restricted to dogs of a specific breed or to varieties of one breed. For example, the Flat-Coated Retriever Club of America Specialty is for Flat-Coated Retrievers only. But the Poodle Club of America's Specialty Obedience Trial could include the three varieties of the Poodle: Standard, Miniature and Toy. *Note: Specialty Clubs under certain circumstances can be allowed to hold trials with All-breeds and mixed breeds alike.

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible to compete in obedience trials, a dog must be:

  • Registered with the AKC
  • Listed with the AKC Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP) program
  • Listed with the AKC Canine Partners program
  • Be a Foundation Stock Service (FSS) recorded breed.
  • 6 months of age or older.

Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege

Dogs of any breed recognized by the AKC that does not have registration papers or known parents may qualify for a Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP). PAL/ILP dogs may participate in certain AKC Events, such as Obedience, Agility, Tracking and many performance events. Photos are required to prove the dog is a registerable breed. The dog must be spayed or neutered. For information about the PAL/ILP program, visit the PAL/ILP section on the AKC web site, or e-mail questions to PAL@akc.org.

Related posts: