In this blog we will focus on one-to-one training versus group training. Both possess strengths and weaknesses; however at The Way of the Dog we feel that they are both very different approaches to training. Many new dog owners enrol in group training from the outset because they are led to believe that this is the best and only way to socialise their dog, this is not the case and we will discuss socialisation in a separate blog.
We hold the view that one-to-one training supports a new dog owner to learn in private and at their own pace allowing them to become accustomed to unfamiliar training methods before moving into a group dynamic at the appropriate stage of training. It supports uninterrupted training free from distraction and the desire to interact with other dogs, therefore enhancing the possibility of progression for both dog and handler.
Whilst group training can be very beneficial in teaching your dog how to behave when in the presence of other dogs, at The Way of the Dog we do not consider that it is the best way to commence your training. Socialisation with other dogs is key to a dog’s successful development and whilst a group session can support this it is essential that this is managed carefully. Many dogs are distracted in the group environment which is obvious considering the fact that the owner is unlikely to have much control at this stage. When taking part in training of any kind for the first time many dog owners feel embarrassed, disorientated, hopeless, and uncoordinated. When in a group environment these feelings are often intensified and may lead to group training becoming non-productive and in some cases damaging.
If you want to get the best from a group class we recommend that you take part in a class that has a ratio of 6 dogs, 6 handlers, and a fully qualified dog training instructor. This approach supports a healthy and manageable student to instructor relationship and will allow you to get the very best from the session. You should expect during a 60 minute lesson; a proportion of individual attention, enough space to work in, and the ability to speak to and hear comments from the instructor. It should be a stress free environment where dogs are carefully managed and prevented from being confrontational with other dogs. In certain situations confrontation may be difficult to avoid, however it should be a rarity rather than the class norm. Anything other than that described above then you should really consider the value and the quality of the training that you are receiving.
So the choice is yours to make, should it be one-to-one training or should it be group training? What you should perhaps ask yourself before making a choice is; “What do I want to achieve from my training?” “Will my chosen route allow me to achieve this?”