Training your dog is an important part of your life with your four-legged friend. Although it can mean an initial investment, good training can save you money down the line. As you look into dog training options, here are some tips on fetching some discounts along the way:
- Ask about buddy discounts. Some dog training companies offer “buddy discounts” for you and a friend and your dogs. Not only will the two of you save money, but you’ll have a buddy for practicing those new skills!
- Ask your vet clinic if they refer clients to dog trainers. Some dog trainers offer referral programs to veterinary offices, giving clients a discount.
- Ask if you can observe a training session. Before signing up for dog training classes, ask if you can sit in and observe a training session. You’ll get a better idea of the trainer’s style and if he or she is a good match for you and your dog—before you pay for those lessons. Look for trainers who emphasize positive reinforcement; not only will your dog enjoy the classes but he’ll learn quickly!
- Ask your shelter if they offer training classes. Some shelters offer training classes, sometimes at a discount if you have recently adopted a dog. We’ve also seen shelters that will offer training for a few dogs that have been harder to place.
- Ask your shelter if they’ve partnered with any dog trainers. With each adoption, some shelters offer discounted training with dog training companies they’ve partnered with; when you adopt, ask if they work with any dog trainers in the area.
- Look for group classes instead of individual classes. Look for about a 50 percent savings on group classes rather than individual classes. Group classes will also allow your dog to socialize with other dogs and people, an important skill.
- Sign up for an informal puppy class. Designed for puppies from 3 to 6 months old, puppy classes usually concentrate on ensuring that your puppy grows into well-socialized dog. This will enable your puppy to behave appropriately around other dogs and around people. In addition to encouraging socialization, puppies can be introduced to basic skills such as coming when called, and walking on a leash. Prices for puppy classes usually start around $50. By starting puppies out on the right paw, early training can prevent problem behaviors when he matures.
- Join a training club. Ask other dog lovers if there’s a dog training club in your area. For example, Michigan’s Kalamazoo Training Club, (www.kdtc.org) offers seven weeks of training classes starting at just $60 and reduced fees for dogs recently adopted from animal control or area rescues.