If you’ve just gotten your new pup, you can know how much of a handful it can be. From finding the right food to taking it out on walks and making sure it behaves, taking care of a dog can be a time consuming process.
With many people juggling work, family and now a pet, it may seem necessary to get help from professionals to speed up the process of integrating your pup into your life. One of the most popular ways to do so is with dog training classes.
But with dogs already costing $3,200 per year, it’s worth finding out whether dog training classes are actually worth the additional cost.
Below, we break down how much dog training classes cost, how you can save, and whether these classes will be a beneficial expense for you.
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How much do dog training classes cost?
There are two main types of dog training classes: Puppy training and obedience training.
Puppy training is typically recommended for puppies under two-three months of age and is used to introduce them to the leash, help them get used to vet visits and grooming and build confidence around dogs, people and objects.
Obedience training is for older puppies and dogs (six months +) and will cover subjects like potty training, barking problems, aggression and fix problem areas like separation anxiety, biting or shyness.
Classes typically last an hour to 1.5 hours in length.
You will need to commit to six to 10 lessons for most dog training packages, so it’s important that you book times that you know you are free to avoid missing class and losing money.
In general, Puppy courses cost $128 per lesson for a total average cost of $822 for a five-six lesson course. Obedience and Behaviour classes cost $108 per class for a total of $863 for a typical course of five-10 lessons.
As is the case with most lessons, private lessons will cost you around 40 per cent more than group lessons.
However, the tradeoff is that you will get personalised attention for your pup, which can be especially important if you are noticing behavioural problems.
Otherwise, group lessons are generally small (between five-eight dogs per group), so they can be a good budget option if your dog is generally well behaved and is fairly socialised to other dogs.
How much will it cost to train my dog myself?
If you have the time, then you can try to train your dog on your own. While it could take some time and patience, it’s not nearly as difficult as people may think and plenty of dog owners successfully train their dogs on their own.
To be prepared for your training sessions, you can stock up on treats, clickers, harnesses and leashes and other training materials to replicate a professional environment as much as possible.
On average, you can expect to spend $282 for a training equipment for your dog which includes a leash, clicker and treats.
Another difference between training your dog with a professional and training on your own is you can choose the way you want to train your dog. In general, there are two types of training methods: Aversive and rewards-based.
Aversive methods rely on negative reinforcement like loud noises, harsh scoldings, and physical corrections and induce a sense of fear in the dog.
Rewards-based training is the opposite where you reward your dog for positive behaviour using treats and pets.
While either method can be effective, rewards-based training will produce a more loving environment for your pup and will reduce your dog’s fear of you.
Besides knowing the type of training you want to use, you should always research training techniques to make sure you are training your dog correctly and effectively.
Lastly, you won’t have the option to train certain breeds like Akitas, Pit Bulls, Dogo Argentinos on your own, as they require training from an accredited dog trainer.
Training your pup on your own is cheaper, but is it always the best option?
While training your dog on your own will be approximately 62 per cent cheaper than hiring a trainer, there are cases where the extra cost of professional training will be worth it.
For instance, it could be worth turning your pup over to a professional trainer if you have already tried training your dog and there are still issues with obedience and behaviour.
Another reason where a professional trainer could be worth the cost is if you are trying to prepare your dog for dog shows or talent competitions.
On the other hand, you may be better off if you have a rescue dog that is fearful of strangers or has certain behavioural traits that require a unique approach to training, as trainers may not be able to adjust their training method.
You also won’t need a dog trainer if you adopted an older, well-trained dog or if your dog appears to be easy to train.
How to save on dog training
The answer to whether dog training classes are worth the money depends on your pup’s unique situation. If you find that you will benefit more from a trainer but are concerned about the costs, there are a few ways you can save.
First, you can consider group classes. As we saw earlier, they’re much cheaper than individual classes.
Second, you can also do a hybrid of training the pup yourself and paying for an individual class ($100-$200 per class) to help you with specific problem areas.
Lastly, you can see if your rewards credit card will provide cashback when you buy training classes.
If these purchases don’t qualify for rewards or points, then you can use your rewards card for purchasing dog training tools like leashes, crates and treats.
This article was first published in ValueChampion.