Find a list of known low-cost training options at the bottom of the page.
An obedient, manageable dog is much safer in a community than an out-of-control, unsocialized canine. Dogs must learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not; through training and socialization, owners teach their dogs to interact with others properly and safely.
But not all dog owners can afford the high cost of professional dog training. And though socialization sounds simple enough—just expose your dog to people and other animals, right?—it’s actually not quite that easy. Training and socialization become doubly difficult—yet even more critical—when a dog is already exhibiting undesirable or potentially aggressive behaviors; unfortunately, the expense and necessity both increase exponentially the more aggressive the dog becomes.
For the sake of public safety, then, it makes sense for a community to offer low-cost, convenient dog training and socialization classes, so as to encourage all dog owners to train their dogs from an early age.
This is a preventative action in that an increase in the number of dogs that are trained at an early age will reduce the number of dogs that develop behavior problems as they get older. Reducing the number of dogs with behavior problems, in turn, reduces the number of behaviorally-compromised dogs that are neglected in backyards, dumped in shelters, or accidentally let out into the public.
As an added benefit, encouraging dog owners to train their dogs can also strengthen the bond between dog and owner; training reduces the liklihood that a dog will be banished to the backyard or dumped at the local shelter, written off as a “bad” dog. When a dog owner invests time and money into his or her dog, the dog becomes more valuable to the owner; when the dog and owner have good shared experiences resulting from good training, the owner sees the dog as a companion, not a nuisance. A community that trains its dogs is a more humane community.
Another possibility in addition to or in place of low-cost training classes is a free behavior helpline, where dog owners can call a number to get professional advice about their dog’s behavior.
In some places, humane societies, rescue groups, breed clubs, canine sports clubs, and animal welfare organizations already offer such services. If your community seems to be lacking in this area, you may consider contacting some of these community groups to provide funding, volunteers, or expertise.
Low-Cost or Free Training Programs
If you know of a low-cost or free training program in your area that is not listed here, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Tampa Bay SPCA (Tampa Bay area): Offers a variety of low-cost classes and a free behavior phone helpline
Cape Girardeau: CGC prep classes. Unaltered dogs–$95. Altered dogs not adopted through shelters or rescue–$65. Altered dogs obtained from shelter or rescue group–$45. Donation plan can be worked out for low income owners. Free for shelters and rescues for dogs that are available for adoption. All dogs must be current on vacs, including bordetella. firstname.lastname@example.org
Philadelphia SPCA (Philadelphia area): Offers a variety of low-cost classes, including some classes that are free for “pit bulls”
Love-a-Bull (Austin area): Free CGC four-week training course for members
Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter (Austin/Georgetown area): Low-cost training
Bully Breed Program (Salt Lake County Animal Shelter): Shelter Dog AKC Canine Good Citizen classes for all dogs adopted at the Salt Lake County Animal Shelter. The classes also are open to owners of pit bulls and pit bull mixes in the community. Call 801-559-1136 to arrange to attend.
Bullseye Dog Rescue (Seattle area): Responsi-bull Project includes free spay/neuter, free ownership workshop, and free training classes for “pit bulls”
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