5 min read

Does In-Home Training Really Work?


Written by Leslie Ingraham

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 01/15/2022, edited: 01/15/2022

January is National Train Your Pet Month, a paw-fect time to think about your new Christmas puppy and how best to mold them into a well-behaved canine citizen. It may be hard to decide which training location is best for you and your fur baby. One pup-ular choice is in-home training, with or without the help of a professional. But does it really work? Is it worth the time, cost, and effort?

Effective in-home training is not one-size-fits-all. Variables that can affect its success can include who’s doing the training, and what skills and behaviors are needed. Let’s examine some of these variables and how they might affect whether in-home training will work for you.

Dog trainer from Wag! - book in-home training lessons instead of going to dog training classes near you

What can affect the success of in-home training?

There are a number of factors that can have an impact on the effectiveness of training your pup at home. Let’s take a look at some!

  • Trainer - Whether it be you or a professional, the methods, approaches and temperament of the trainer can affect how dogs learn. Professional trainers have experience with a large variety of canine traits, and can adapt their training style to the dog in front of them. For example, a working dog may favor play or fetch more than a treat reward. Trainers should always include family members, however, so that skills are reinforced often, as well as outside training sessions. 
  • Training method - The training method plays a significant role in the success of training. Positive reinforcement is a highly effective method, and it works especially well at home. In-home training can help ensure that the dog is being taught in a consistent manner that protects them from confusing rules, trainers, or technique changes. What the pup sees as a high value reward, such as food or play, can also affect training methods. 
  • Environment - Dogs, especially young ones, begin to learn best in a comfortable and safe environment, such as their home. Calm, quiet surroundings improve learning because they allow the pup to concentrate on the trainer. For certain skills like house training, the home environment is ideal as the pup learns where they can and can’t “go.” Most lessons can be taught in small, contained areas, and then transferred later to the outside for commands like “come.” 
  • Dog - Your dog’s breed, temperament, age, energy level, and personality can affect how they learn new skills, and should be taken into consideration when creating a training routine. Behavioral issues like reactivity and aggression can affect how dogs take cues, and the kind of method you should use. Often, you’ll need to build confidence and train for non-aggressive behaviors along with regular training.
  • Command - The effectiveness of training also depends on what you are trying to train your dog to do. While basic commands like “sit” and “stay” are no-brainers for most dogs, teaching your young pup how to run an agility course may be above their intelligence level. Be sure to teach commands that are at the right level for their age, mental capacity and physical ability, and adjust as their needs and abilities change.
training a dog to sit - book a dog trainer through the Wag! App

Is in-home dog training worth it?

There are a number of reasons why in-home training is worth exploring:

  • Training can happen on a flexible schedule.
  • Training can happen at the pace that’s best for you and your pooch.
  • Training can start immediately, before a pup has had all their vaccinations.
  • In-home learning is ideal for dogs who are reactive or easily distracted.
  • In-home training allows you and/or a trainer to focus on individualized goals, traits, and behaviors.
  • You can take advantage of professional training without having to leave your living room.
  • Professionals who do in-home training typically have more available time slots. 
  • Several in-home training resources are available that can increase effectiveness, including in-home professional trainers, videos, real-time live streaming, or printed materials. Professional trainers and live streamed methods allow for questions and answers, along with an accurate assessment of the training as it’s happening. 

But what about obedience classes? Do these offer more effective training? In most cases, the only real difference between obedience classes and in-home training is socialization. Classes offer the chance to socialize your pup to many different dogs and people, as well as expose them to different environments and situations. Pups in a class also have the benefit of watching other dogs perform the actions desired in training which they can mirror.

However, you can still build socialization into your dog’s life if you choose in-home training with outdoor walks, play dates and other public adventures. Having an older, well-trained pup in the home during the training period can be an effective role model for a younger dog during training sessions, and give your learning pup someone to mirror. Plus, in-home training can offer a more personalized experience in a distraction free space, without any waiting for other dogs to perform their skills. 

In-home training can be a better option than obedience classes because you retain control of all the factors involved with training, as well as having an unlimited amount of time to train.

training your dog - teach your pet commands

Tips for successful in-home training

Ready to train your pup at home? Here are a few ideas that can help:

  • Echo your dog’s natural enthusiasm by praising them loudly, being demonstrative, and applying appropriate rewards when they learn a new command.
  • Switch up the rewards so they don’t get boring.
  • Use a tool like a clicker to mark desired behaviors, in conjunction with treats and praise.
  • Don’t attempt to train a tired dog. Instead, choose times when your dog is alert, fed, pottied, and able to focus.
  • Keep training sessions short to increase effectiveness. 
  • Stick to the ground rules and be consistent, such as where to go potty.
  • Don’t punish mistakes. Move on and pay better attention to your pup’s signals next time.
  • Build lessons and practice into your pup’s daily routine.
tips for successful in-home dog training

Does in-home dog training really work?

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Many pet parents have found success with in-home training, whether they learn how to train themselves, or enlist the help of an in-home professional. With the right methods, environment and time, you too can achieve furtastic results training your dog in your own home.

Does training have you stumped? Do you have neither the time nor the knowledge to be an effective trainer for your dog? Book a trainer with Wag! today! Cost-effective and flexible, in-home trainers with Wag! provide as much or as little hands-on experience as you and your furry fur-iend need. 

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