Choosing the right dog trainer is an important decision for both you and your dog. Your dog will need to feel comfortable with the trainer in order to learn from them. You’ll also be learning training techniques to use with your dog from your trainer so it’s important that you’re also comfortable with the trainer you choose. Here are some guidelines to help you find the right trainer for your dog and for you.
1. Certifications and Associations – Look for someone who has undertaken formal training and certification to work with dogs. Look for certifications and association memberships with well-recognized and reputable organizations such as the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers or Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
2. Methodologies – What methodologies do they use and can they explain their training methods to you in understandable language? Also ensure their training methods are rooted in positive reinforcement.
3. Research – Do your own research. Look up currently used and preferred training methods. Also be sure to have an understanding of outdated or disproven methods, such as the dominance theory. This will allow you to better evaluate whether the techniques your trainer uses are a fit for your dog.
4. Continuing Education – New methods and research is coming out all the time. Does the trainer participate in some kind of continuing education program to help them stay current on their techniques and methods?
5. Be Clear About Your Needs – Have an honest conversation with the prospective trainer about what you are and are not willing to do with your dog. Not every set of training is right for every dog. Make sure you won’t be paying for extra training you won’t use with your pooch.
6. Observe a lesson or class. This will help you evaluate the trainer but also the learning environment (if it’s not your home) that your dog will be learning in. You’ll want to make sure both the trainer and the learning environment are a fit for your dog.
Choosing the right dog trainer for your furry family member can be a process. You might have to interview and observe a few different trainers until you find the one that’s best for your dog and for you.