A frequent question I get is: “How do your private obedience lessons work?”. I want to utilize this post to describe how I structure my lessons, and what you can expect to get out of them.

I primarily train using one-on-one private obedience lessons, for I’ve found these to be the most effective for dog training. I’m a firm proponent of the do-it-yourself mentality, especially in dog training. I want you to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to handle your dog and all of their behaviors, as the saying is true—it’s more about training the human than the dog.  A typical lesson goes between one and two hours. We start with a small warm-up, that way I can observe your confidence and skills as they relate to obedience training. Don’t worry—this won’t feel like a stressful test. I want to observe the areas of your handling which need improvement and extra focus, that way I can give you specific advice and pointers that’ll help you with your dog handling.

Next, I like to spend some hands-on time with your dog so I can better understand the problems you’re facing and find solutions that’ll work for you.  Every session is designed to make you and your dog feel comfortable—I never use methods or techniques that put a dog in pain or make you feel uncomfortable. I’m a strong believer of the philosophy: find the least aversive method possible. This is not to say I don’t agree with punishment, for I think punishment, along with positive reinforcement, is a healthy part of dog ownership. What this does mean, however, is that every dog is different—there’s no one-size-fits-all training program for dogs. Each dog comes with a unique set of instructions that enables it to pay attention, listen, and look to you for guidance—our goal is to better understand your dog’s instructions.

There is a lot of equipment out there that can help you accomplish this task, but it’s our job to find something effective that doesn’t put your dog in any unjustified pain. I like to use easy-walk harnesses, treats, gentle leaders, slip collars, martingales, and prong collars,  though I’m quite experienced with just about every piece of equipment out there. I understand there are negative associations attached to pieces of equipment like choke chains, pinch collars, and e-collars, and such is why I’ll work with you to demystify any myths about dog training equipment so we can find the right piece for you and your dog.

Private obedience lessons should be somewhat stressful for both you and your dog. We’ll work in short segments to ensure there is minimal frustration, allowing ample time in between segments for water breaks and relaxation. At the end of every training package, I offer the ability to take a free Canine Good Citizen test or Puppy S.T.A.R test, both of which are done through the American Kennel Club. I am an AKC-certified evaluator, and these tests are a fun way to measure skills and track progress from the beginning of training to the end. Also, I offer follow-up lessons and group lessons at a discounted rate for former clients, many of whom decide to push their training to the next level with advanced obedience, socialization, scent detection, protection, and more! If you are interested in signing up for our private obedience lessons head over to http://www.jtsdogtraining.com/contact for more information!