If you want to train your dog, a variety of different types of schools are available to fill your needs. Choosing the right type of school is the first step toward getting your dog trained.
If you want your dog to learn basic commands such as sit, stay and lie down, as well as behavior, socialization skills and manners that will allow him to interact better with people and other dogs, look for an obedience school. Puppies should take an obedience training course before they learn bad habits, but dogs of all ages can benefit. Typically you can expect to take your dog to the class for an hour or so every week for 8 to 10 weeks. Choose a school that encourages fun and positive reinforcement rather than punishment techniques.
Dog agility training offers a way for you to bond with your pet while he exercises and fulfills his natural instincts to run, jump, chase and hunt. The training involves directing your dog through obstacles such as jumps, tunnels, weave poles, teeter totters and pause tables. If you choose to enter your dog in agility competitions, he will be racing against other dogs to complete the obstacle course as quickly as possible.
If you'd like your dog to work as an assisted therapy dog, look for a certification organization recognized by the American Kennel Club. A dog who is certified by one of these organizations receives the official title of AKC Therapy Dog. Pets that are trained to be therapy dogs can visit schools, libraries, hospitals, retirement homes and other places where their company gives kids or residents needed affection or complements a reading or educational program.
Search and Rescue Training
You and your dog also can be trained to help in search and rescue missions. To enroll in a training school certified by the National Association for Search and Rescue, check the list of schools in your state and contact the National Association for Search and Rescue K9 Evaluator nearest you. Both you and your dog will be evaluated for skills and qualities that make good search and rescue partners. This isn't an endeavor to be taken lightly -- training takes up to two years and the commitment continues as long as your dog is able to perform. You need to be able to dedicate a lot of time, purchase your own gear and reliable transportation, have physical stamina and mental toughness, and enjoy being outdoors regardless of the weather conditions.