One to one puppy training will help you achieve better results

One to one puppy training is becoming more popular. As a qualified puppy trainer working in the Wimborne, Merley Broadstone and Poole areas of Dorset I am seeing more requests for 1:1 puppy training. This post will look at why there is a move away from traditional indoor group puppy training classes and consider the pros and cons to this type of training.

one to one puppy training

What are the traditional dog training classes?

These are the main approach to puppy and dog training business. There will be a class running somewhere everyday of the week and at weekends. They are usually based in a village hall or a similar building and provide a warm and dry environment for the training classes.

These classes usually run a 6 week block course where you attend at a at time on a set day for your lesson. Numbers attending the classes can vary and I have seen classes with 10 in and some with 4 in.

The quality of the sessions will depend on the skill of the trainer and if they have people helping out. Large classes can be problematic because there will be issues and the trainer can become quickly involved in a one to one session and the other clients are left waiting. Hopefully in a well run training class the lead trainer will not get involved directly with individual cases and will assign an helper. This allows the main trainer to keep focused on the group.

Why people attend group puppy training classes?

These classes are what everyone does, it is the normal way to go, isn’t it? If its your first puppy then no doubt you checked what was on offer locally. You found puppy training classes which had availability around the 12 week mark. A place was booked and off you went with great expectations and a big bag of treats!! The reality is you didn’t even give one to one puppy training a thought or didn’t even know it was offered. As dog owners we have been conditioned to think attending a group training class is the way to go.

Of course a great reason to choose this group session is the sessions are held in a dry and warm building. Give the busiest time for puppy training is after Christmas then it is appealing to train in this environment.

Another great reason to choose this type of training is that you see lots of other people having the same training issues as you.

What are the disadvantages to group training classes?

No doubt main stream trainers reading this will disagree with what I have to say.  At the end of the day for a lot of trainers they have hire costs and a living to make out of training.  Therefore, the more they can get in a session the more they can earn. Muttley Solutions offers a very competitive pricing structure for 1-2-1 training.

There are some great trainers out there doing a brilliant job in group class training.  There are also some poor trainers who don’t see the bigger picture.

When puppy training becomes a tick box exercise and of no real value 

I recently met a client who had asked me to do a one on one review of their dog pulling on the lead and recall issues. They told me they had already had 24 training sessions and had passed level 3!!!! These classes had been held in a hall for all 24 sessions. I wasn’t shocked at this because this can be a common issues. This trainer had failed this couple because we should not have lead pulling and recall issues after this amount of training. On my review I could also see there were other issues of the dog ignoring commands in the house.  Apparently it was a model dog in class and excelled in training!!

To my mind the owners and the dog are equally at fault.  The owners for not proofing the training in lots of environments and not challenging the trainer. The trainer was at fault for not running some of these sessions in a live environment to check the reality of the training being delivered and was it being proofed by the clients.

These clients now have to pay me to do what the trainer should have done.

From personal experience I usually find those clients who do book 1:1 training puppy sessions with me are not new dog owners. They have had a poor experience with puppy class training first time round. I also get the odd first time puppy owner who has had a friend who had a poor experience with puppy training classes.

Difficult to repeat class taught skills outside the hall.

For me this is a key issue with solely attending puppy class training in a hall. The puppy/dog learns to do the skills in a certain environment, but cannot replicate these outside.

I have done my time training in the halls and this was a key issue I used to see.  Dog would walk great inside the hall and would pull on the lead back to the car once outside. of course this is the owners fault not the dogs, but the dog is rewarded for pulling.

The world outside the hall is a truly exciting place for the dog and distractions are off the scale. Whilst in the hall the owner had  minimum distractions to compete with in comparison. Once outside the owner does not have the skills or the experience to compete with all these distractions. the result is the training which the dog excelled at in class goes out the window and the owner become disillusioned and blames the dog. In fact it i the owner and the trainer who are at fault.

Here at Muttley Solutions I only train in a live distraction environment, in all weathers. Most of the training is about you the owner, not the dog. When you can deal with a live environment and be proactive then you can start to provide good solid leadership for your dog and make the right choices so they don’t have to.

What are the benefits of 1:1 puppy training?

There are a number of benefits to starting one to one puppy training both for you as the owner and your new puppy. Of course there is always a trade off, but I believe it is worth it.

Puppy and dog training at a convenient time

We all lead very busy lives and trying to fit in training can be an issue. It is usually run in the evening and is every week. Many group classes run at a weekend, but again this may not be suitable for your lifestyle.

My 1-2-1 classes mean you can book sessions in the evening, afternoon and some mornings in the week.  I also run Saturday sessions and run Sunday sessions at my training centre. These are all one to one sessions so there is a lot of flexibility. They are not every week, but as required. You don’t have to have the same time each sessions. This approach allows us to fit the training around your life style when it is required. Depending on progress and issues a 6 week course may actually last 2-3 months as you only have a session with me so we can address issues or move forward.  You need time to practice!!

A training package which meets the needs of the dog and you.

Attend a traditional group class and the training you get is aimed at the class. It fails to take into account what you consider to be the issues or concerns. My training will only be put in place after after a review sessions and we agree a plan forward. My priorities are loose lead walking, recall training, a very solid sit in a distraction environment, a solid sit and whistle training. These also tend to be what the owner wants as well.

Training classes in the realistic environment you use daily

We need to train your dog in the environment you will be using those skills in. Dogs are not very good at learning a skill in one place and transferring that to another.  We have to proof the training in different areas for the dog to get the idea. One reason hall training only can set your dog up to fail if you don’t proof what you learn. I am happy to conduct outdoor training in places you go to  such as parks, towns etc.

Do you only walk your dog on a nice day? Of course not so we need to train all year round as those distractions change with the seasons.  A nice warm a hall is great, but what happens when you are in the park on a wet windy day and the dog ignores you?

Training at your pace not the class’s

A common thing I used to hear was people didn’t understand and got left behind. Group classes tend to go along at a pace and some people just need a little longer to work on a techniques. Here at Muttley Solutions out one to one puppy and dog training classes go at your pace. If we need to spend several sessions on a technique then that is great. If you can’t get it right then your dog won’t. Most of the reasons training fails is because of owner issues. Therefore we must ensure you can do the techniques faultless.

What are the issues with one to one training?

My dog needs to meet other dogs

This is the biggest complaint and argument I get for not attending one to one puppy training. I am not going to go into too much depth as I have already written on the subject.  It is important your puppy meets other dogs, but it is more important they meet them correctly.  Get this wrong and you will have a load more trouble on your hands. Read the article here

Training in winter can be an issue

Common sense must be used, but you walk and play with your dog in winter so why not train them at the same time? Some very young puppies don’t like heavy rain so I take that into account on the day and will reschedule at no cost to you. It is all about being flexible!!

I am sure there are more if you are sat on the traditional side of the fence. The group training has its place, but it must see the bigger picture, understand the impact it has on the client’s ability to replicate outside.

Let me know your thoughts or contact me for further information.


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