One of the early questions new dog owners face is how to choose a dog trainer. Puppies may look cute, but if not properly trained they can turn into the most destructive monsters.
No matter what your friends might tell you there is no truth to the statement that they will outgrow their destructiveness. The only way to curb destructive behavior is to properly train them.
Even adult dogs can benefit from the expertise of a dog trainer, especially if they weren’t properly trained as puppies. Think of it as continuing education for dogs.
Choosing a dog trainer can be a bit overwhelming because of how training has evolved over the years. With all of the different methods used to train dogs, you need detailed information to help you make the best decision.
These 5 tips about how to choose a dog trainer will get heading in the right direction.
1. What You Want Your Dog to Learn
Before choosing a dog trainer you need to determine what it is you want your dog to learn.
Do you want to teach your puppy basic obedience skills, such as “sit,” “heel,” and “stay?”
Or are you looking to refresh your grown dog’s behavior? Are there certain problem areas that you need to tackle with your dog?
It is important to ask yourself what it is you want your trainer to do because not all dog trainers offer the same services. Some will specialize in one area or the other, while others will offer a combination.
The only way to get the job done correctly is to choose the right type of trainer.
2. Ask Around for Referrals
Choosing a dog trainer can be overwhelming even once you know what you are looking for.
Chances are there will be numerous trainers that fit your requirements, so how do you go about narrowing that list down?
This might seem rather obvious, but asking family and friends is a great way to find a trainer that might work for you.
Ask them what they like and dislike about the trainer, as well as if they would use them again.
And, always ask the trainers you are considering if you can talk to previous clients. It’s one of the best ways to get a feel for what they do and how well they do it.
3. Is The Trainer Certified?
Social media is becoming quite the place to go when looking for any type of service, including dog trainers.
That is great since social media provides you with more choices.
But the problem with social media is not everybody on there is honest.
No matter what source you use for finding the right dog trainer, one step you should consider is whether or not they are certified.
For example, you can check to see if the dog trainer you’re considering is a member of The Association of Professional Dog Trainers. On their website you can choose to limit your search to only certified trainers.
Being certified means they have put in some time and effort in training themselves, they have meet specific requirements set forth by the certification board, and they have actually worked with dogs before.
But bear in mind just because they are certified doesn’t mean they are going to be the best choice to train your dog.
There are plenty of dog trainers out there who are perfectly capable of properly training your dog who aren’t certified.
4. Be Involved in the Training Process
As you go through the list of trainers that you have found the most important thing you can ask them is whether they will involve you in the training process or if they will only be working with your dog.
If they will not involve you in the training, then turn around and walk away.
Working only with the dog is the worst type of training you can encounter.
Sure, it might help teach the dog some basic things, but that doesn’t mean your dog is going to listen to you or your family.
Trainers that involve you in the process are the best way to go. That’s because the trainer needs to train you and your dog at the same time.
Many times a dog’s bad behavior stems from its owners, so you can’t solve the problem without addressing both sides.
5. Does the Training Style Work for You?
As we mentioned previously in this article there are several different training methods that can be used by dog trainers.
What you need to do is ask potential trainers what kind of methods they use for teaching.
For example, are they a big fan of choke chains or do they prefer reward based training?
No matter what tool or training method they use, you must be comfortable with what they are using.
Do you have strong feelings about the use of a specific training method or even a tool used during the training process? If so, then you want to find a trainer who shares your thoughts or at least a trainer who respects your wishes and is willing to work with them rather than against them.
6. Two Other Options – Don’t Choose a Dog Trainer
These 5 tips should make it easier for you to choose a dog trainer that is best for you, your family, and your dog.
One additional step you can take is to read about dog training. The article 5 Great Dog Training Books can help you. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn enough that you can train your pup.
However, many people have decided that their best option is to use an online dog trainer.
Sometimes it’s easier to learn by watching videos created by an expert dog trainer. Adrienne Farricelli is a professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer. She has put her knowledge about dog behavior into her course Brain Training for Dogs. Her course explains how to deal with all sorts of behavior problems from A to Z.