How to Choose a Good Dog Trainer - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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How to Choose a Good Dog Trainer

Don’t let price be the only factor when you choose your dog trainer. For the best results and the most rewarding experience there are many things to take in account before selecting your trainer. Dog trainer’s all have different levels of experience and knowledge and a verity of training methods. Learn to choose a good dog trainer with these tips.

There are no restrictions on who can call themselves dog trainers so it is up to you to discover what level of experience a trainer has. Some chain dog training centers only require their trainers to have read a hand book and watch a video. These trainers have very little experience and only know one method to “train” your dog. If your dog doesn’t learn with the method they are using they will be ill equipped to help you. On the other hand there are trainers who have lots of real world experience and regularly attend dog training conferences or even schools to further their knowledge and to keep current on new training methods. Dog training is a skill that not all posses. No amount of knowledge can make up for this. A good trainer is able to read a dog and reliably predict its behavior. It is always a good idea to ask your trainer to give you a live demonstration with a dog they have trained. If they are not willing to demonstrate their training ability then you are wise to find another trainer.

Dog training methods vary and so do the trainers who use them. Not every dog learns in the same manner or with the same speed. You should look for a trainer that understands this and doesn’t rely on a “cookie-cutter” approach, meaning they teach only on way to do everything. Your dog should be trained according to their personality and the goals you have in mind for them. Look for a trainer who is flexible in their training method. If they insist there is only on good way to train a particular behavior, find another trainer. A good trainer is very creative and can think of endless way to teach even one behavior. You should also feel comfortable with the methods and equipment used to train your dog. If you don’t feel comfortable with something let the trainer know. If they are not willing to train your dog another way, don’t feel like you must continue with them. It is also a good idea to steer clear of trainers who are dependent on treats to trainer your dog. While treats can work very well to teach your dog new behaviors, your dog should be working for you and not for treats. A well trained dog does obedience commands to please you and not because you are carry treats everywhere with you. On the other hand, steer clear of trainers who use fear and intimidation to motivate. Training should be a positives experience for both you and your dog.

Dog training should be highly individualized. So you may want to find a trainer who can offer you private lessons or one who only allows a small number of dogs in their group classes. Trainers who run large classes often use a “cookie-cutter” approach. They also just won’t have the time to help you work through specific problems. A good trainer can spot the beginning of problem behavior before it starts. In large classes the trainer might miss key opportunities to help you correct the situation.

The dog isn’t the only one who is learning from the trainer. You should look for a trainer who can explain things to you in highly understandable and effective way. There are many trainers who are wonderful with dogs but have poor interpersonal skills. It won’t do you any good if your dog knows commands but you can’t get them to perform them. A good trainer can teach you and your dog.

Be selective when you choose your dog trainer. Remember to look for someone with both experience and skill. Make sure you are comfortable with their training style and the equipment they are using. Be sure they can give you an appropriate amount of time and attention. Also be sure they are cable of helping you understand your dog’s behavior and how to better communicate with your dog. Dog training should be fun and rewarding for you and your dog, if it is not, find a new trainer.

Dawna Andrews
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Northwest Canine Counseling
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