Choosing the right dog trainer can be challenging. There is a lot of information out there that needs to be clarified.
You want to find a trainer who uses techniques that align with your training goals and feels the right fit for you. The following are some tips to help you make that decision.
Make Sure They Have the Right Certifications
As in any profession, certification is important for dog training. If someone is certified, it means they have taken the time to learn and understand the science behind the methods they teach. This is a sign that they are serious about their work and will do whatever it takes to help dogs and their owners succeed.
It’s also a good idea to check for membership in professional organizations. This will show that they are keeping up to date on the latest dog training and behavior research and will not use outdated techniques such as dominance theory.
Finally, look for a dog trainer offering individual and group training. You and your dog do better in group sessions, while other situations require a more hands-on approach with a personal trainer. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of each before you make your decision.
Look for References
As with any solid business, a good trainer will have many references from satisfied clients. Often, they will list them on their website or provide them upon request. It’s important to ask about these and to speak with the clients to learn more about their experience.
Any trainer who resists letting you talk to previous clients should be a red flag. If you can’t find a trainer with references, you can always ask them to allow you to observe a class or two. This will allow you to see how the trainer interacts with dogs and people and how the dogs respond to their training methods.
A good trainer should also be able to explain Dog Body Language and Behavior to you in a way that is easy to understand. They should not use jargon or snarky comments about other trainers or tools you may be using. This can signify that they need more understanding of and commitment to positive training methods.
Ask for a Free Consultation
If you are considering hiring a trainer, you want to ensure she fits your goals correctly. Ask about her training methods and approach to behavior issues. A good trainer will be able to talk about the results she has achieved with clients and how she works with dogs of different temperaments.
Avoid trainers focusing on dominance reduction or using punishment-based techniques (like clicker training or yelling). These approaches can cause long-term harm to your dog and may damage the trust in your relationship with them.
When choosing a professional dog trainer, knowing how much experience she has is important. This is a good indicator of her skill, but it’s not necessarily a guarantee that she can help you with your specific needs or your dog’s personality. This is especially true for training activities that require advanced knowledge of canine behavior, such as off-leash socialization or aggressive behaviors.
Having the right dog trainer can make all the difference in the life of your pet and the quality of your relationship with them. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dog training, so you will want to look for a trainer that uses methods that make sense to dogs and how they learn.
For example, using force-free positive reinforcement will help your pup build a strong bond with you. This will encourage them to work with you instead of fearing you. Avoid trainers who use dominance training techniques, as these will only reinforce aggression in your dog.
It is also important to look for a trainer to offer you private training sessions and group classes. Many trainers will have information about both of these options on their website or their profiles, so you can decide what may be best for your situation.