Training a dog should never be done with force or intimidation. Positive reinforcement (treats, rewards) is the way to go.
Tips from the pros:
Group or individual training? Both have advantages, says dog trainer Alyssa J. Tilley, who offers in-home lessons as well as group classes at Wipe Your Paws in Mount Kisco. Classes are cost-effective and cover basic behaviors. Private lessons can address specific concerns and are helpful for dogs with anxiety or aggression issues.
When should my dog start training? The sooner the better, says trainer Jenn Michaelis of Port Chester Obedience Training Club (PCOTC). “An 8-week-old puppy has the same capacity for learning as an adult dog,” she notes.
Attend lessons with your dog. After all, you’re getting trained, too!
Don’t expect your dog to behave differently before he’s fully trained. “It’s like the dog has software,” explains Michaelis. “You need to install it before you can expect to use it properly.”
Be patient. Dogs don’t know what “drop” or “sit” means until it’s associated with a behavior. Repeatedly.
A Sampling of Dog Trainers & Facilities
In-home training, serves all Westchester, Putnam, NYC & CT
Wipe Your Paws
Mount Kisco; 914.242.7297
Paws and Play
Port Chester Obedience Training Club (PCOTC)
White Plains; 914.269.8550; www.pcotc.org
For 77 years, dogs and their owners have been coming to PCOTC, which offers scores of classes and sessions. On a given day, new puppies may be learning to socialize in one class while Master Agility Champions are practicing their jump heights in another. Dogs can also get trained as therapy dogs or learn “K-9 nose work.” Visit the website for a full list and roster of classes.