Are you interested in training your pup but don’t know where to start? Seeking out a professional trainer is a great way to tackle all of your dog training goals without feeling so alone in the process! There are lots of options when it comes to behavioral training, but one of the most important choices you’ll make is regarding group vs. private training lessons. To choose the best training plan for you and your pup, consider their behavior and age, but also your lifestyle and training goals. If you’re not sure what type of training would be best for you, here’s a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of group classes and private training to help you decide.

Group Training

Group training is generally more affordable, more social, and better for basic training. Puppies who are just learning behavioral skills benefit the most from group training or a puppy pre-school type class, as they can master essential socialization skills, gain confidence around other dogs, and learn how to both interact with and ignore dogs or distractions. Group training is also great for pet owners who are seeking a supportive community. Training with a group can foster a competitive, friendly, and energetic environment, encouraging dogs and owners alike to work harder to succeed in the class! If you are looking for a community, interested in mastering the basics, or just want to help your pup improve their social skills, group classes are for you!

While group classes have many benefits, they aren’t ideal for everyone. Group classes are not recommended for pups with specific behavioral, anger, or anxiety issues. In a group class, the trainer often has to divide their focus between all the pups in the class, rendering them incapable to provide individual attention to specific problems or concerns. Additionally, group classes often occur at a set time on a weekly basis, making them inconvenient for puppy parents with hectic schedules. 

Private Training

Private dog training is ideal for clients with busy schedules who have specific training goals in mind or an adult dog who will benefit from a quieter learning environment. Private sessions ensure that all of the focus is on you and your pup. Every session is geared toward specific client goals, making this type of training ideal for dogs with anxiety, aggression, or any other specific behavioral issue. Private sessions are often better for older dogs than group sessions, as the quiet training environment helps them to focus better. Private training is typically designed to suit your specific needs, making it ideal for pet parents with chaotic schedules that can’t commit to a set time every week or would prefer in-home dog training. If you are interested in strengthening your bond one on one with your pup in a quiet, personalized environment, private training is for you!

Private training comes with a ton of perks, but it isn’t ideal for everyone. Because the lessons are so personalized and offer undivided attention from the trainer, private lessons are typically more expensive than group lessons. Private lessons also lack the social aspect that group lessons offer. While this may be exactly what your dog needs to promote their training, some owners find that they desire the support system and sense of community that group lessons offer.

Or use both environments to your advantage!

Some pups (and owners) will benefit from both types of training! Oftentimes, a dog will start out taking private lessons in order to build up a solid foundation of obedience and to eliminate any specific behavioral issues they have such as anger or anxiety. Once the foundational training has been established, pups and their parents can continue training in group classes in order to improve command reliability or to develop specialty skills.

Semi-private lessons with 3-4 other dogs are typically the most effective way to work on specific skills without losing out on the community aspect of training. The training is still very much geared towards your pup, and the trainer can offer individualized attention to each participant, but the pup and the owner do not completely lose out on the social aspect of training, either. 

What should I do if I’m unsure of my training goals?

It is completely normal to be confused about what specific skills you and your pup need to work on. Sometimes we know that we need to work on obedience training, but aren’t sure where to start or what a good end goal looks like. This is why it is important to choose a trainer that will help you through this process and advise you on how to establish a productive and efficient training plan for your specific situation. Sometimes trainers can offer creative training solutions to solve problems, curb behaviors that we didn’t know were unhealthy, and even help your pup make a PAWsitive influence in their community!

Conclusion

Regardless of how you choose to train your furbaby, it’s always a good idea to talk with your trainer about your goals and what training methods will work best for you and your pup. A comfortable environment is always the first step in strengthening your relationship and building up those training skills!

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