Do you have a dog? Next? Here is a list of dog training tools.

Wendy has always barked at the door – for the mailman or her favorite mates. This was always a minor annoyance. Until we moved into a nine-unit condo in DC. Winnie was barking at all nine doors plus the main door.

I tried yelling and pointing furiously. She was stoic. I tried rewarding her when she quit barking. She yowled. I attempted a door between us. I tried not to plan another Zoom meeting.

This story is from NPR’s Life Kit program, which covers topics including exercise, parenting, and finding friends. Join our email for more.

So I called a trainer. “Helping the dog feel comfortable in its skin, comfortable in the lifestyle that you share,” says Kayla Fratt, owner of Journey Dog Training and certified dog behavior expert.

Whether you acquired your dog during the epidemic, just purchased a puppy from a breeder, or have had your dog for years, all dogs may benefit from training.

But where to start? Most people are overwhelmed by the alternatives, credentials, and language while searching for “dog trainers near me.” There is so much information! So we asked the experts for advice. What they say:

Set your training goals.

Dog training has two stages. A dog trainer can teach your dog fundamental basics like sitting, staying, and lying down. If your dog has anxiety, aggression, or fear issues, you need a canine behaviorist like Brianna Dick of Pack Leader Help.

“I approach dog training from a behavioral psychology perspective,” adds Dick, an IACP member. “We’re not simply looking at dogs’ physical traits. We’re looking at their emotions and their human relationships.”

If you require both skills and behavior instruction, start with the more difficult. A dog trainer can teach your dog to sit, but a dog behavior expert can help your dog deal with separation anxiety.

Be honest.

“Just like not every person will come to enjoy parties, not every dog will learn to love the dog park,” explains Fratt.

Owner of The Dog Door Behavior Center and applied ethologist Kim Brophey. A game-changing guide to understanding your dog’s behavior, she published Meet Your Dog. Brophey’s L.E.G.S. (learning, environment, genetics, self) framework explains dog behavior. Let’s say your dog barks at your guests.

“That may be a breed of dog that was bred for centuries to guard your front entrance,” explains Brophey. You can’t educate a German shepherd to not protect its area, therefore you might need to adjust your expectations.

Set a training plan for your dog.

Among the most prevalent training techniques are group classes, one-on-one training, board and train, day training, and self-led training. Grupos son menos económic Fratt thinks board and train amenities are risky.

“If the trainer spends all this time training the dog in this specific setting and then walks away, there’s a very strong chance you won’t be able to integrate those new methods and abilities… effectively at home.”

Choose based on budget and training objectives. For example, if your dog is violent towards another dog in your home, outdoor training is generally not the best solution.

Know that you will have to help teach your dog, but it won’t take up a lot of your time. Fratt claims she trains for five minutes every day. Many of the tasks assigned by trainers are enjoyable and easily integrated into daily life.

If you want to save money on dog training, our experts recommend these free or low-cost internet resources:

Recognize the methods.

Dog training is unregulated, so anybody with a website, Instagram account, or storefront may call themselves a trainer. This implies there is no set technique for teaching a dog, and many trainers differ. Many trainers fit into one of two categories:

The first is Fratt-style positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement includes rewarding your dog for excellent behavior with a goodie. Or feeding your dog something pleasant so they equate something terrifying with a good time.

The second is Brianna Dick. Balanced trainers employ positive reinforcement but are also prepared to apply punishments like e-collars.

“A collar your dog wears that emits a stimulation to their neck — a jolt, sound, or, perhaps, a citronella spray — anytime they require a reprimand,” Dick adds. The use of shock-producing e-collars is controversial among dog trainers.

Dick warns about trainers that use e-collars on every dog. “That’s cookie cutter, and it’ll never work,” she adds. “You want someone who knows you, your relationship, and your dog’s lifestyle.”

Find a trainer.

If you need a list of positive reinforcement or balanced trainers in your region, check out listings provided by professional groups. Among them are:

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) (APDT)
The Academy for Dog Trainers – Karen Pryor Academy
Pat Miller Trainers

Consider medicine.

Changing your dog’s brain chemistry is dangerous. Training alone cannot treat your dog’s fear, anxiety, panic, or aggressiveness. And you should approach it as such.

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“It’s like having a diabetic patient. You don’t stop giving your dog insulin for diabetes since it needs it to keep its hormone levels balanced “Dr. Andrea Y. Tu, medical director of NYC Behavior Vets.

“Ultimately, this is a chemical imbalance. It must be cured.”

Imagine trying everything from positive reinforcement training to medicine to changing trainers and nothing working. Maybe your dog is afraid of your kids or of peeing on a busy city street. Ultimately, and this is not a pleasant issue to broach, you may decide that your house is not the greatest fit for your dog.

“It’s challenging, but I think rehoming is the greatest option for a dog if all the conditions are put up to provide for that dog,” adds Brophey.

It’s not a sin to contemplate rehoming. It’s not always the most loving choice. But we hope this isn’t you! You can do a lot to train your dog before that.

“It’s never too late for a dog to learn, and it’s never too late to bring the dog to a trainer,” adds Fratt.

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