We often get calls from potential clients looking for group obedience classes for their puppy or adult dog. We are one of the only dog training companies operating in Salt Lake and surrounding areas that doesn’t offer group classes for initial training. We feel that group classes are an inappropriate way to train a dog for the following reasons:
- The majority of our clients have been to group classes before ever coming to us. That, in and of itself, speaks to the effectiveness of group classes. Our clients often complain that group classes offer very little ‘real life’ training and that upon completion that the dog may perform a few tricks at class but aren’t reliably obedient at home. Group class attendees also report that issues such as house training, aggression, destruction, and manners are never addressed.
- Do the math. If you get ten people into a six week class that means ten people/dog teams for six hours of access to a trainer. If half the class is spent on teaching a new behavior and the other half is spent with the trainer working individually with each owner/dog team that means that you get a total of 18 minutes of one on one time with the trainer during the entire course. When you consider that group classes typically cost $100-$125 it doesn’t work out to be a cost effective way to train your dog. It is very effective for the trainer who earns $1000-$1250 for six hours of work, but what do you get out of it?
- The quality of training suffers in a group class. Which do you think is more effective, a one on one session with a trainer devoting his entire attention to you and your dog, or a group environment of ten loud and active dogs all trying to be corralled by one frazzled trainer?
Many people like the idea of group classes for the socialization aspect for their adult dog or puppy. Group obedience classes are possibly the worst environment to socialize your dog. Socialization should be a positive experience for a dog. Dogs that attend group classes often get bullied or harassed by other disobedient dogs and you end up with a dog that has dog fear or aggression issues that weren’t there in the first place. CommuniCanine can show you numerous ways to socialize your puppy or adult dog that are safer and free.
- We feel like obedience classes are valuable AFTER initial training has been done. After your dog has gone through some private training group classes are a great way to continue working on details, they are a great way to use other dogs as distractions, and a way to stay on top of your dog’s behavior. As a result, many of our training programs include what we call ‘Meet The Trainer’ sessions after your initial private coaching sessions are complete. These classes are a great way for you to stay on top of your canine education.