How To Choose the Right Dog Trainer

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How To Choose the Right Dog Trainer

by Kelly Marshall


Choosing a trainer is a very important decision and one that requires a fair amount of research and consideration. How your trainer works with both you and your dog will impact your relationship with your pet both during the trainings sessions as well as in the future. Many owners have hired a trainer only to find out they don?t agree philosophically with the methods that the trainer uses or are completely opposed to some of the exercises the trainer uses.

To avoid these issues be sure to answer the following questions about your trainer:

1. What qualifications does he or she have?

There are numerous training certifications and credentials that trainers may hold depending on where you are located. Check with other breeders, groomers or even vets and other dog owners to find out what trainers are in the area and then research their credentials on the internet or from the various credentialing bodies.

2. What references does the trainer have?

Does the trainer have any particular awards or recognition for their school or training program? Are they endorsed by a kennel club, breed organization or other organization? Most trainers will have references that will allow you to contact them and talk to regarding their training process.

3. Does the trainer use only positive methods or do they use punishment-based training?

Most trainers no longer use any punishment based methods and do not encourage yelling, physically punishing or using corrective devices such as choke collars, shock collars or other potentially harmful devices with the dogs. Clicker training, behavior modification training and reward training methods are all positive based and works on a dog?s natural behavior and the relationship between dog and owner.

4. Will the trainer let you sit in on a class or private session?

This is often the best way to see how you will do under the trainer?s guidance. Is the trainer positive to the owners and the dogs, or does he or she seem to become upset, frustrated or even angry with the participants? Would you be comfortable in the same environment if you were treated that way?

5. Finally, does the trainer offer flexible scheduling and what is the cancellation or no-show policy?

Many trainers have a 48-hour cancellation policy and a non-refundable no-show policy if you simply don?t come to the class. Other trainers will refund you the cost of lessons that you don?t attend. Some trainers will insist that you attend a make-up class before you can proceed with your original class as everything builds on the previous lesson.

Be sure to meet with the trainer in advance and feel comfortable with them before you commit to lessons or leaving your dog in their care. In addition find out if they need your dog to be housed with them during the training or if the dog will remain with you.

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