Choosing the right dog trainer can be a difficult and confusing process. Dog training is an unregulated industry. This means that anyone can claim to be a professional dog trainer without having any qualifications. Unfortunately, there are still those who use fear and pain to train dogs. Using these training tactics can lead to dogs becoming overly aggressive or developing severe anxiety. This is why finding a qualified trainer for your dog is critical.
A great dog trainer can make all the difference. This is especially true for new dog owners. Basic obedience training can be daunting for a new dog owner. Great dog trainers are out there and here are some of the things to look for to find them.
What To Look For In A Dog Trainer
Seek out professionals.
Find trainers that have received education in dog behavior and proper training methods. Modern dog training is based on the science of animal behavior and learning. Because of this you need to find trainers who have investing in educating themselves in these areas.
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers maintains a list of accredited resources that provide education on dog behavior and training as well as providing certification for dog trainers. Be sure that your dog trainer has professional training. Ask about their education and any certifications or credentials they have.
Look for a trainer that uses positive reinforcement.
The first thing you should ask is about the trainer’s methods and philosophy. You need to be comfortable with your trainer’s approach. With positive reinforcement, trainers reward the dog for appropriate behavior and teach alternative behaviors to replace the inappropriate behavior. These techniques should be based on science and also help strengthen the bond between dog and owner.
Questions to ask:
- What exactly will happen to my dog when he/she gets it right?
- What exactly will happen to my dog when he/she gets it wrong?
- Are there any less invasive alternatives to what you propose?
Determine what you need from a trainer.
What kind of training do you need for your dog? Most new dog owners will seek basic obedience training. However, the need may arise for more advanced training or you may have a dog that develops behaviors that need correction. Maybe they are jumping on guests at your home or maybe they have excessive anxiety.
Whatever the case may be, you need to make sure that the trainer will have a plan to correct that behavior. Different trainers provide different services. Be sure to ask about their services to decide if they are a fit for you and your dog.
Do they offer private and group training?
Dog trainers can provide private training in a training facility, in your home or at a park in your neighborhood. Group training can also be a great option for your dog. Group training is an excellent way to work on distraction training and offers the benefit of social interaction.
However, there will be times that your dog will learn best with one-on-one training. Private training can be great for especially if your dog suffers from anxiety or cannot handle the stimulation of a group training environment.
Like humans, every dog has its own personality.
Ask to observe a class.
Always ask to observe a class before making your decision to hire a trainer or join a class. Be sure that the teaching style of the trainer will work with how you learn.
Also, watch the students and their dogs. Are they having fun or looking stressed? Are dogs’ tails up and wagging or down and/or tucked? Talk to the current students—are they enjoying the class and feel that their dogs are learning? If a trainer does not allow you to observe a class, this should raise concerns.
You and your dog should feel comfortable with your trainer.
Like humans, every dog has its own personality. That being said your trainer’s personality should have an impact on your decision to hire. A good trainer should be respectful of both you and your dog. They should also be able to communicate clearly and professionally.
If you or your dog are not comfortable with the trainer then it will be difficult to have success training your dog.
We at the Dog Nest are here to help. If you have any questions regarding training your dog please reach out and contact us. We’re happy to help.