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Does Your Dog Need Obedience School?

Find out when it's time to send Fido to dog obedience school.

Time for a Dog Trainer?

Besides obedience school, another option is to hire a personal dog trainer for one-on-one sessions.

With a trainer, you can focus on problems specific to your dog. For instance, Reid says, if your dog won’t leave the dog park, you can go to the park and train him to come home.

Trainers can also work with your dog in familiar spaces, such as your home or local dog park. You're not limited to a classroom.

If you can afford it, Applebaum suggests hiring a dog trainer and taking your dog to obedience classes, where your pup will get to socialize with other dogs and people and learn how to deal with distractions, which are common in life outside the classroom.

Does Your Breed Like Training?

Every breed can benefit from obedience school. But some tend to have more success than others.

For instance, border collies tend to be easily trained. "They’re attuned to paying attention to people and picking up on signals that trainers and owners give them," Reid says.

In contrast, scent hounds -- such as beagles and bassets -- are bred for hunting and tend to have a harder time with obedience training.

But there are exceptions. Genetic wiring is only a small part of a dog's personality, Applebaum says.

"There are no bad dogs, just bad owners," Applebaum says, quoting the late dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse. "There’s tremendous truth to that."

Reid says, "You want a trainer who is open to whatever breed you walk in with. Your trainer should be creative and innovative and encouraged to succeed no matter what."

Reviewed on June 04, 2010

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