Dog obedience classes not only teach your dog to obey your commands and improve his behavior, they also provide a good way to bond with your dog. Classes vary according to your needs, based on the dog's age and any previous training your dog has had. Some classes can even train your dog to become a therapy pet or compete in obedience competitions, such as those sponsored by the American Kennel Club. No matter your needs, find obedience classes in your area that will help you train your dog.
Contact your local AKC club if your dog is pedigreed and registered with the organization. These clubs offer classes specific to puppies or adult dogs. Trainers certified by the AKC will also train your dog to compete in agility and tracking competitions or to graduate from a program called the "AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program," which rewards owners with a special certificate.
Visit the website for the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers to locate a qualified trainer offering dog obedience classes in your area; contact one of the trainers listed. The CCPDT is a certifying organization that tests potential trainers for their knowledge of basic dog training and behavior. All trainers must pass a written exam, the CPDT-KA, and a skills-assessment test, the CPDT-KSA, based on a video submission. Trainers must also participate in continuing education to keep up with modern trends in dog training and behavior.
Ask your local veterinarian if she works with or can recommend a qualified dog trainer who offers obedience classes, such as a certified applied animal behaviorist. A CAAB usually works with a veterinarian on more serious behavioral issues in dogs and holds a master's or doctorate degree in animal behavior. These professional trainers are certified by the Animal Behavior Society and have knowledge of pet diseases that can affect behavior and of certain medications that may enhance your dog's training in certain cases. The trainer you choose can work with your vet to prescribe any necessary medications.
Call or visit your local pet supply store to see if it offers dog obedience training classes. Stores such as Petco and PetSmart, national pet supply chain stores, both offer dog obedience training for puppies, beginners and more advanced dogs. Classes are usually offered in a group setting with other dogs and owners.
Contact your local humane society, animal rescue or shelter to see if it works with, or can recommend, dog obedience classes in your area. Some rescue organizations offer dog obedience classes themselves on their premises; certain organizations may also offer the AKC Good Citizen Program certification for all dogs, not just those registered with the AKC.
Ask any friends, family members or acquaintances whose dogs have gone through obedience training whether they can recommend a trainer who offers classes. Contact the instructor and ask for previous references and about her training credentials before enrolling your dog in her classes.
Contact Pet Partners, the certifying organization for therapy pets and their handlers, if you are looking for specialized obedience classes for your dog to work in a setting such as a hospital or elder care facility. Attend a Pet Partners Handler Course workshop if you are interested in obedience training for your dog to become a therapy pet. The course gives you an overview of the types of training offered by Pet Partners and the training involved.