Save a Buck (and a Shoe): Low Cost Tips on Training Your Dog
I field calls from desperate clients describing their dogs’ bad habits, crazy quirks and neurotic tendencies in detail. The cases are varied but the question is always the same: “How much will training cost?”
Back in the day, people didn’t spend much on dog training. They either did it themselves, or attended a park district class that cost about as much as two vanilla lattes and a cranberry scone.
Now, dog owners can spend upwards of $5,000.00 at obedience training centers where dogs stay for two weeks or more of intensive work, but this is the high end. You will have to lay out some cash for professional help, but following these tips can get you the most ‘bark’ for your buck:
• Do some low-tech research. Local libraries have current books on all things dog training. Take notes and write up a list of realistic goals.
• Watch dogs on film. Rent or buy a dog training DVD that relates to your situation. Unless you’re a hunter, don’t buy “A Field Guide to Gun Dogs”, even if that lab on the cover looks just like your Duke.
• Try a class. Local Humane Societies and some park districts offer low cost classes. Stay after school and ask for extra help.
• Ask your veterinarian for a referral. Most vets won’t offer a name unless they’ve gotten good feedback. Avoid buying a package of lessons so you don’t get stuck. Ask if you can include a friend and their dog to get a semi-private rate.
• Surf the web with a purpose. Remember those books you got at the library? Most of those authors will have tips on their website. I know I do! Search YouTube for your specific interests, such as: Polite leash walking. Stay on task or you’ll end up watching a streaming video of sleeping puppies!
• Train, praise and repeat. An upbeat attitude and 15 minutes per day practicing commands will work wonders. Follow up with a quality leash walk as a reward for both of you.
Remember to connect with your dog trainer on Facebook and through email. Compliment them on your dog’s progress. You’ll be amazed at how much free advice you can get!
I’d love to hear the good, bad, and ugly about your dog’s trainer. Is it you? Tell us how you did it.