I have seen many posts on this list with pups that are challenging. I often recommend dog training classes. They offer so much more than most people know. I think EVERY dog and their owner should attend at the minimum of one basic obedience class. If you purchase a pup I think a puppy kindergarten class and basic obedience class is in order.
ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIALIZATION - Obedience classes give your dog the opportunity to be in a different environment with different smells, noises and distractions. This gives your dog the exposure he needs to learn to be comfortable in different environments.
DOG SOCIALIZATION - this gives your dog/pup the ability to be around other dogs in a more controlled environment to learn how to appropriately interact with other dogs.
HUMAN SOCIALIZATION - This is a wonderful opportunity for your pup/dog to learn to meet new folks of all different ages, shapes and sizes. Remember your dog will probably meet many people in its lifetime and the more comfortable it is with people the better he will enjoy going with you.
BONDING - Training offers a wonderful bonding time set aside for just you and your dog. This becomes a special outing where your focus is totally on your dog and not the normal routine of your home environment.
DOG RULES - Classes offer training to help you learn the most basic of rules that all dogs should know. Sit, down, stay and come are the most important. These classes teach you how to teach your dog and how to incorporate all of these rules in to a daily routine to help your dog become a good companion.
DOGS BODY LANGUAGE - Many classes will discuss with you the body language of dogs and how to try to understand what they are trying to project to you by different behaviors. I think many people would be much better trainers and owners understanding how a dog reacts and learn some of how they think.
HOUSE TRAINING - Many trainers can explain how dogs are housebroken and what you can expect. I have been amazed at the posts I have seen from folks that even consider a pup can be trained as young as 9 or 10 weeks old. This will not happen. Physically dogs are unable to control their elimintations at this young age. They have also not lived long enough to learn the process to communicate with you that they need to go outside. Realistically I would not consider a dog remotely trained until they are about a year old. Yes, they can hold it for longer periods and dont have accidents as frequently but you can bet it is a rare dog that is solid until they are at least a year.
SURRENDERING DOGS - Did you know that near 85% of the reason dogs are in shelters is because of behavior? You can bet most of these dogs were not born this way but were not trained by their owners. Sadly as they grow and are no longer the cute pup they brought home people are not willing to tolerate the behaviors as they grow up. Many dogs have destructive or fearful behaviors because their owners did not get involved enough with their training to help them become good companions. One only need to contact a rescue or visit your local shelter to see many animals that fit this description.
CRATE TRAINING - This is a wonderful tool to train dogs but one must learn the appropriate times to crate a dog. It is best not used for punishment as many people choose to use it. Dogs should eat in their crate, get a treat each time they enter to help them learn this is a good and safe place to be. Many classes will spend part of a lesson explaining this.
GROOMING AND HANDLING TOLERANCE - Dogs need to be groomed regularly as well as to have their body handled in all ways. Good grooming, nail trimming and brushing teeth are all things that a pups should learn early on. I have seen countless posts of dogs over reacting to their humans with handling.
RESPECT - dog training classes dogs will learn to offer respect to their owners and teach you how to gain it from your dog. Dogs should not be growling and snapping at people that come near their food or treats. You should be able to remove something from your dogs mouth at any time no matter what it happens to be. Most training classes will teach you this and the importance of it.
In summation I think training classes are a wonderful tool to help you learn more about your dog and how to be a good dog owner. Many of the problems I see mentioned on this list have to do with lack of knowledge training dogs. You have invested in purchasing a pup, vaccines, supplies why not invest a bit of time and money in training to help you raise a dog that is a joy to live with.

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Comment by Sebastian on July 8, 2012 at 10:57pm

What age should you start obedience classes? I have a 10 week old puppy.

Comment by John Wolff on November 8, 2010 at 11:48pm
"Come" discussion
We had success with this without putting huge energy into it. This is not a routine "come" command; this is for when your dog is about to chase a cat across the freeway, or bite a porcupine. You don't use this casually; when you use it, you mean it, the dog knows it. Briefly:
1. Choose a "magic word" that the dog never hears is casual daily conversation (we chose "venite", the Latin/Italian imperative verb for "Come").
2. Introduce it when you KNOW the dog will come (dog is hungry, restrained, has seen the high-value treat in your hands). We chose bacon as the special treat, it's the ONLY time they taste bacon; they think "venite" means "bacon! Come and get it!"
3. Practice 3x per lesson, a coupla times per day. After a week, start reducing practice and gradually fade-out the treats.
4. Periodic refresher training. Treats can/should be tiny. Screw-cap odor-proof pill bottle is handy for treats.

Put this on your calendar/training logbook to keep yourself on-task. I came to realize that training was mostly about training MYSELF. The dog doesn't make mistakes. All the mistakes are my own.
Comment by Michelle, Mochi, & Draper on April 24, 2010 at 1:21pm
I was wondering if anyone here has taken their puppy to a Petco puppy obedience class, and if it was worth the money? Since the class seems rather expensive just wanted to see if they are any good or if I should look around for another puppy class. Thanks in advance for any feedback :)
Comment by Sam on June 9, 2009 at 1:05pm
This can be a very serious issue. Best to fix it asap. What I would recommend is sitting down with her, you holding the bowl and giving her one kibble at a time. Let her begin to understand that YOU control the food. If she is easily accepting of this then I would progress to giving her a small handful out of the bowl. It is important that you "own" this bowl and hold it close to you while doing this. If she accepts steps 1 and 2 readily then you can allow her to take a few bites out of the bowl while you hold it. Then feed her from your hand once again. You will work at progressing to having your hand in the bowl while feeding. When these steps are mastered very well then it is important to follow up and perhaps give her a sit or down command at any time so you can remove the bowl. If you have not yet had obedience class I recommend you find one soon. You may see this behavior spill into many areas of resource guarding and possessiveness. There would be very few, if any, situations where a dog should be growling at his owner. Good luck!
Comment by Rosey YP Thomas on June 8, 2009 at 9:12pm
when i get near my dog when she is eating she grawls at me so........... the vet told me some thing to do about that it is kinnda working !.... so could you give me some other answers thanks
Comment by Lucy Hicks on August 25, 2008 at 9:11pm
Kudos to you and Timmy
Lilly finished the first level of obedience class. We both are waiting for the intermediate level. Even though we are located in middle Georgia and not in one of the 'big' cities, our expierence was top notch. One point I would like to reiterate that you made is the importance of doggy socialization. I would not have believed that this was such an important aspect of dog training, but in looking back, I believe this is the foundation of training.
Once Lilly got over trying to be teacher's pet (and everyone else's little darling), she was a star student!! Socialization was so important. Another thing I learned is that dogs have their own favorite 'dog' friends. Lilly liked all the dogs, but she loved 2 dogs in particular. When they would come into class, she was so happy to see them. Her whole greeting behavior was different toward those dogs. (Everyone has been fixed, so it was not that type of attraction.)
Must be my 'older' years....just read the 8/22 comment - well, guess I will just buy the book and shut my mouth!!
Happy Corgi Days to all
Comment by Sylvia & Timmy on August 22, 2008 at 3:37pm
Sam, I'd like to add a note regarding "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. This book I feel is the best at explaining the relationship between humans and domestic dogs. I recommend it to anyone and everyone interested in a puppy or new puppy owners. One of Jean Donaldson's main points in the book is the importance of socialization, which you also mentioned.
Comment by Lexi on August 22, 2008 at 11:49am
Sam , thank you for affirming the need to include puppy class / obedience training as a part of every dog's life. Kuma had his first class on Wednesday and after only one session, we both feel so much more confident together - especially in public. Thanks for your excellent advice and ecouragements!
Comment by Mei-ling-chan on August 22, 2008 at 9:14am
Thank you Sam for this post- as always, your advice is very much appreciated. Vash is having his last set of shots today, so we plan to enroll in a class asap. As much as this website and the many books I have read are a great help, nothing can replace hands on learning.
Comment by Owen's Mom on August 22, 2008 at 1:25am
Thank you.. we have been doing little training sessions every day and getting lots of advice from a friend who trains dogs for rescue. However.. today after Owen got a little too excited and nipped my husband too hard.. we are getting him involved in training ASAP. We love our little boy but we want to have friends :)

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