Do I need Group Classes or 1-2-1’s?

November 13, 2022 | Reading Time: 5 minutes

You are having a training or behaviour struggle with your dog and start looking for help.

There are lots of different options and you are wondering if classes or 1-2-1s would be the best option for you and your dog.

Getting the right support is important as the wrong service may leave you feeling deflated at a lack of progress, or worse, make the struggle you are having worse.

You may have already tried one without success and want to know if the other will be better.

In this article we are going to answer:

What will group classes help with?

What 1-2-1 sessions will help with?

How to find good 1-2-1 sessions or group classes?

Which one do I need?


What Will Group Classes Help With?

Struggles you can resolve in classes are things like:

Walk nicely on a lead without pulling.

Coming back when you call them.

Learning to focus around distractions, like people and dogs.

Obedience like sit, down and stay.

A group class is often held in a hall or doggy daycare and will consist of a number of dogs and their humans working through a curriculum of skills at the same time. 

They usually cover all the basic life skills like recall, loose lead walking and obedience as well as things like confidence, calmness and impulse control. 

Classes take place each week so you gradually progress over time. 

The class trainer will set an exercise and then come around to coach teams individually to help them succeed. This is because dogs will often be at different levels and need the exercise tailored to where they are at.

Pros of Group Classes:

– Working around distractions – The opportunity to practise your training around other dogs and people.

– Community – Have the support of peers and make friends with like minded people.

– A Range Of Skills – Work on lots of different life skills, a great place to start if you haven’t done much training before.

– Budget Friendly – Less expensive than 1-2-1 support.

Cons of Group Classes:

– Dog Friendly Only – Classes won’t be suitable if your dog is not dog and people friendly, they may also be overwhelming for anxious dogs.

– Not Specific – If you only have one main training struggle or only want to focus on one area then it is unlikely that will happen in classes as they teach a broad range of skills.

– Training Only – Classes will not help with behavioural struggles like reactivity and aggression or separation anxiety.

– Not Flexible – They are held at the same time each week in a set location.

What Will 1-2-1 Sessions Help With?

It’s a behaviourists job to look over every aspect of your dog’s behaviour and life. This allows them to build up a 1-2-1s can cover both training and behaviour struggles.

If you aren’t sure which you need you can read more here: Training or Behaviour?

Areas 1-2-1’s can help fix:

– Separation Struggles 

– Reactivity or Aggression

– Resource Gaurding

– Nervousness 

– Barking 

– Loose Lead Walking 

– Recall

– Engagement 

– Obedience 

– Anything you like!

Work one on one with a trainer, to hone in on specific struggles and get 100% personalised help.

1-2-1s are where a trainer comes out to you in your home or meets you somewhere relevant to your struggle to teach and coach you to train your dog. 

They will then work with you over a number of sessions to achieve success with your dog and resolve your dog’s struggle. 

Pros of 1-2-1 Sessions :

– Get Faster Results – If you are looking to just work on one skill you will often get faster results with a 1-2-1 package, there is also a higher level of support.

– Flexible – Can take place and a time and location that works for you and your dog.

– Specific – Can resolve any issue whether that’s training or behaviour related.

– No Restrictions – It does not matter if your dog is social or not as it will be just for them.

Cons of 1-2-1 Sessions:

– Less community – You don’t get the chance to meet others at class, although a good trainer will often have an online community for you to join too.

– Practise Around Distractions – You don’t get the benefit of working around other dogs and people in a structured environment to proof your training.

– More Expensive – 1-2-1 training is more expensive, although sometimes can work out cheaper if you need less sessions as they are more specific. 

How To Find Good 1-2-1 Sessions or Group Classes? 

So now you’ve decided if 1-2-1 sessions or group classes are a better fit for you are you pup, how can you ensure you are choosing a good service. 

When searching the internet for help, it’s a great idea to compare services against each other to find the best option.

Check reviews! 

A good 1-2-1 trainer or group classes should have plenty of great reviews. Look for a service that has a fair amount of reviews (100+).

Also be sure to check the quality of reviews.

Are people leaving detailed reviews and testimonials of their great experience with the service, or are they simply just hitting the 5 star button…

Detailed reviews mean previous customers have taken the time and effort to highlight what a great service is provided. Which speaks dividends for that service!

Have a chat!

It is important to find a trainer and group class that you will fit into! 

Any good service will be happy to speak over the phone in a promptly manner to discuss all about their service. 

Make sure to ask questions that will help you decide if they will be the right choice for you, such as:

How many dogs will be in the class? 6-8 is about right, enough that you will have good group dynamics but not so many you won’t get enough personal coaching.

– What happens if my dog gets it wrong? Ensuring they use methods you are comfortable with is essential.

– How long will it take to resolve my struggle? Training and behaviour change is not an overnight process, if they say one session, take your money and run. 

– What support is available? Both classes and 1-2-1 training will need extra support such as online videos, written plans, additional sessions and ongoing communication. Find out what this looks like. 

Which One Do I Need?

We hope this article has helped you understand how classes and 1-2-1 training differ.

As a rule of thumb if you have a behaviour struggle or only one thing to work on with your dog, 1-2-1 training will be quickest and most effective. 

Also, if you have limited time or don’t drive 1-2-1 sessions will probably be more convenient for you.

However if you are looking to train your dog in a number of areas and they are social classes are a great option.

They will teach you and your dog many things and help your dog learn to focus on you around other dogs and people, as well as the opportunity to make friends with other like minded dog owners. 

What If I Like The Idea Of Both?

Then do both!

This is actually a great option for many puppy and dog owners.

Puppies often have some struggles that need some personalised expert help at home, such as puppy biting or separation struggles, but would also benefit from wider training in a group environment.

Also, if you have a teen dog that really struggles around other dogs, starting off with some 1-2-1s to get your dog on track before joining a group class can be game changing. 

Equally you may be in classes and come across a particular skill you are struggling to make progress with, a 1-2-1 or two as a top up might help you get past that block and get back on track.

There may also be some behavioural cases where both will help your dog make progress faster. For example Separation Anxiety needs very specific training to resolve it, but classes would help boost your dog’s confidence and learn other skills that will contribute towards resolving separation anxiety. 


Classes cover a range of training skills and must be the right environment for your dog to learn.

1-2-1s are essential for behaviour struggles, but can also make training more convenient and faster.

Still not sure? 

Give us a call on 0292120013 and we can book in a free mini phone consultation to find out if classes or 1-2-1 sessions will be best for your dogs struggle.

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