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Posted on 06-24-2015

Your retriever mix Murphy is blissfully out of control. This good-natured pooch thinks it’s perfectly normal to conduct his twice-daily walks at almost a dead run. While you admire his desire to exercise, you can’t get your canine athlete to slow down, and you certainly can’t keep up with him. Clearly, your unruly companion needs some obedience training. Your Calabasas vet has recommended several dog trainers, and one sounds promising. Before signing Murphy up for class, though, you’ll check out the operation.

Secure, Clean Facility

Murphy hates to feel confined, so he’ll probably try to bolt from the training facility. When you arrive, you’re happy that the rock-solid metal doors close completely, likely thwarting his escape attempt. You’re also pleased that the trainer has posted signage requiring proof of current vaccinations before canine students can enter.

Inside, expect a nicely maintained training room with a spotless floor. The trainer should provide paper towels and disinfectant for students’ possible potty accidents. Ensure that the bathroom has plenty of toilet tissue, paper towels, soap, and cleaning essentials.

Humans Welcome

You (or another family member) should be permitted to accompany Murphy to his obedience class. If your canine companion consistently hears commands from one person, he’ll be more likely to succeed in the course. With luck, the class will contain six or less students. With fewer dogs to manage, the trainer can provide personal attention to each deserving pooch.

Positive Training

Obedience instructors often use respectful training aids such as harnesses, head halters, and flat collars. Treats and doggie toys also motivate eager canine students. Be wary of a trainer who introduces uncomfortable, negative training aids such as prong collars, choke collars, or electronic collars.

No Punishment

A confident trainer can issue effective commands in a calm voice. If she screams or yanks a dog’s leash, write her off. If she kicks, hits, or otherwise abuses a trusting pooch, leave the facility immediately.

After class, ask about the trainer’s experience and professional credentials. If she belongs to a dog training organization, she might be required to complete continuing education and demonstrate knowledge of current techniques. If you’re satisfied with her answers, sign Murphy up for obedience training. Afterward, he’ll confidently greet your Calabasas vet like a civilized dog. If your dog desperately needs obedience work, call us for assistance in finding a trainer.

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