When you adopt a dog, one of the biggest and most important decisions that you have to make is whether or not to sign your dog up for a training class. While attending weekly classes with your new pet is a commitment of time and money, dog or puppy training classes are a great way for you and your pet to bond while you learn basic commands. Knowing what's expected of them helps your new best friend become the loyal, loving and well-behaved member of your family they long to be. Attending a dog training class with other dogs is also a wonderful way to make sure your puppy continues to get regular socialization with a variety of other dogs and people at a crucial stage in their development.

Dog training classes vary, but most classes for puppies start slow and start off by teaching basic commands and self-control. Your puppy is a ball of energy, so it’s important to teach them the right behavior early on, including how to greet guests, younger family members and strangers, how to walk on a leash properly without pulling, coming when called and a host of other good habits that will make it easier for you and the new pet to enjoy each other.

A good trainer can also be a big help in helping you head off any negative behaviors or habits your puppy may be starting to form that will cau

se you major problems if not corrected early, such as chewing, being too possessive or territorial, play biting, problems with crate training or potty training, etc. If your dog is exhibiting traits or behavior that is concerning to you, ask the trainer for tips on how to handle it. You will be surprised how easily some of these behaviors can be addressed and corrected if caught early enough before they have a chance to get well-established. A well-behaved dog is always a better fit for a family than an animal that doesn’t know how to control their energy and aggression.

After your basic puppy training class, there will be more advanced options available for teaching tricks, getting their Canine Good Citizenship certification, agility training and even training your dog for dog shows. These types of classes can be found at many dog training centers and many owners enjoy continuing on with their dogs education, bonding and learning with their pet as they go.

Even older dogs can benefit from a high-quality dog training class. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks, especially if positive reinforcement methods are employed. Many older dogs have the patience and attention needed to learn difficult tricks that require combinations of movements.

Now, back to the puppy stage, once you decide to proceed with a puppy training course, the next step is finding the right class that works best for you and your pet. Some good places to start are to check at your local pet store. For instance, Petsmart has an excellent (and affordable) training class that takes your dog from learning the basics to more advanced classes.

Another good source of information on good training programs is to ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Friends, family and the internet are all great places to find information about local trainers, but you’ll never really know how well you and your dog will click with a particular trainer and their methods until you go to a class. If you’re unsure, look for a free trial class where you and your dog can meet the trainer.

It’s also important to mention that only one person should be responsible for taking the dog to the training class. It should be a person the dog feels is an authority figure and someone who isn’t distracting. It should also be someone who can ensure that the training is continued after the class ends. Most training classes teach you the technique and then it is up to you to follow through. So wh

oever takes the dog to classes should be someone who is capable of being responsible to consistently follow up on that training. Of course, that person can and should teach other members of the household, including children, the commands being taught so that everyone is using the same methods and commands.

Once your dog is properly trained, you will quicky realize that your investmet of time and money was absolutely worth it as you and your pet reap the life-long benefits. Trained dogs make excellent companions and can be depended on to behave while out and about on walk, at the park and enjoying life with. The greatest gift you can give your dog is the gift of obedience, so sign up for a dog training or puppy training class today.