The type of dog trainer you need for your puppy depends on what outcome you desire. If you are looking for a top show competitor, or just want to be sure your puppy does not jump on guests obedience is a great start for any puppy. If you think the conformation show ring is in your dog's future, then you need a trainer who understands the specifics of that type of ring manners, and can give you some pointers on the overall prospects of your puppy for his breed.
Finding a Trainer
To find a trainer look in the phone book, check online with the AKC for suggested trainers in the area, or ask your local veterinarian. For instance, in Lawrence, Kansas, the AKC suggests Lawrence Jayhawk Kennel Club in Lawrence, Kansas. Trainers with the kennel club have the experience and show background to help you teach your dog the proper responses for both home and show competition. You can check with local pet stores to see if they offer puppy classes, but be careful that they require the puppies have all their shots, and the facility is clean to avoid letting your dog pick up dangerous virus'. There are several others within driving distance of Lawrence that the AKC lists on its site at akc.org. The specifics of each club are very similar. They all operate with AKC show regulations and objectives.
Trainers for the Lawrence Jayhawk Kennel Club are volunteers who enjoy what they do. They are club members who have a lot of experience with their own dogs, working around other kennel club members training their dogs, and showing.
Types of Training
The Lawrence Jayhawk Kennel Club is a well-rounded facility with plenty of offerings for all types of training. They provide puppy clasess for socialization, obedience for companionship and competition, canine good citizenship competition, rally training from novice to advanced and training for the breed ring.
Ages to Start
Puppy classes begin at 3 months. The reason for waiting until that age is to make sure the puppies have all had their entire series of shots to protect them from serious, life-threatening diseases. Some public "free" classes at pet shops or park services allow puppies 2 months old with at least one shot to attend classes. That is very risky. A professional training facility will not take dogs that young. Conformation class training also begins at 3 months. Obedience classes, canine good citizenship classes and rally classes start at six months so the puppy has the mental developement to pay attention to more detailed instructions.