Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dog Trainers, is it worth it and do you need it?


As many of my readers know we have two dogs: Shadow and Nina. Shadow is the younger of our dogs, weighing in at a whopping 60 lbs and over a year old. Nina weighs in around 23 lbs and she is 3-4 years old! Shadow has been our problem child!

When I got Nina she was a day from being put down. I took her out of pity, but I love her she is nothing but a snuggle bug and she will lick you to death if you let her. She is also a bit snobby, and prissy... and she doesn't always like to follow commands.

Shadow is our half wolf! He had puppy mange when we got him and every winter develops a skin condition we are going to the vet tomorrow for. He also has gotten worms quiet a few times, and is a dog who you have to watch out for getting bloat! Beyond smaller health concerns for him he also has behavioral issues. It is hard to think of the biggest problems.... hmmm,

  • Fence Jumper (we have a enclosed yard and he can't be outside without a leash)
  • Eating Unauthorized Food (I found him ON the counter once and he routinely takes anything he can)
  • Whining, when he doesn't have to go out!
  • Pulling on a leash, anymore he only does this when there is another animal
  • Jumping on people, he gets over excited with guests and will jump!
  • Not ALWAYS coming when called, when he does get loose his recall isn't great
  • Doesn't obey commands outside
We have seen a dog trainer for him, but only to get him to walk on a leash and address his nutritional needs. Since watching how quickly that trainer whipped him into shape I have often considered taking him to classes. I would rate my skill at dog training above the average joe but perhaps not. My dogs know tricks but they have many undesired and rude behaviors. 

Classes in our area are around $300-$700 for a 7 week basic class... the problem is my dog already knows the tricks!

In my opinion, trainers can be VERY useful but basic classes are great when your dog is a PUPPY! I have already taught my dog most of what is taught in the classes, at his age I would think one on one personalized sessions would be much more effective and cost efficient! 

What are your thoughts on dog trainers?