MADISON (WKOW/ANGIE'S LIST) -- Do your New Year's resolutions including getting your dog to behave? According to Humane Society, up to 8 million pets are abandoned in U.S. shelters every year because owners are overwhelmed by their pets' behavior.
The dog is no doubt part of the family, but dogs and humans have different needs and ways of communicating. Experts say taking time to understand and train your dog can make for a more satisfying relationship.
Trainers can fix a variety of dog behavior problems including barking, destruction, jumping up, running away despite being called and pulling hard on a leash.
"It's really important to start addressing behavioral issues in dogs because you don't want it to become unmanageable and dangerous," trainer Tiffany Lambert said. "It's really cute and fun when your ten pound puppy is nipping and biting and jumping, but when they become a 65 pound dog and it can be off putting."
Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated animal trainers about the benefits of working with a professional. They include:
• Help in working through the frustration that can arise during training sessions.
• Maximizing results for busy people.
• Specific ideas based on years of experience.
Common types of training;
• Dog training styles range from reward-based to military-style approaches.
• Training methods may focus on gestures, body language and voice tone, or may be reward-based, with treats or praise, or may include electronic collars or other correction tools.
• Classes may be taught in groups or individual sessions, at a facility or the owner's home. Some offer "boarding training," in which a dog spends days or weeks at the facility, being trained, and the owner is later shown how to continue what was taught.
• Puppies can enroll in training as soon as they've had their necessary vaccinations.
Angie's List Tips: Hiring a dog trainer
• States don't require that dog trainers be licensed. Ask about the trainer's education, credentials and experience. Consider a trainer who's a member of a professional organization, such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers or the Association of Canine Professionals.
• Talk to your vet. Before hiring a trainer, consult with your veterinarian to rule out a physical cause for behavior issues. Make sure you hire a trainer who asks for your dog's health records, to reduce the chance of disease spreading.
• Interview potential trainers. Ask for details about their training approach and techniques. Check into the differences in pace and expectations between individual and group instruction. Observe a class to make sure you agree with a trainer's approach before paying. Many trainers will offer a free evaluation.
• Get details in writing. Costs vary widely, with hourly rates, as well as multi-class packages, available. You should have all details of the training in writing. Also, ask for a money-back guarantee.
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