All Things Dog

Choosing a Trainer for Your Dog

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Choosing a Trainer for Your Dog

Whatever the reason, the right professional trainer can make a world of difference for the dog and its family.

There are many reasons why people seek the help of a professional trainer: Dog owners may not have the time or energy to dedicate to their rambunctious puppy; their newly adopted dog may have behavior issues from his previous life; or their well-trained adult dog may have developed a behavior problem that needs some special attention.

Whatever the reason, the right professional trainer can make a world of difference for the dog and its family. So if you're considering professional help for your dog but you're not sure what to look for, here are some important questions to ask the trainer:

  • "May I watch a class?" A good trainer will allow you to attend one of his/her classes before you make the decision to sign up for a course. Be sure to observe how the instructor interacts with other dog owners, and of course, the dogs themselves. Also note whether the instructor provides clear explanations for each lesson, and whether there's enough time for owners to practice with their dogs. After the class, talk to the other dog owners to get their perspective on the class.
  • "What type of training do you do?" Ask the trainer about the types of tools or training methods he/she uses. After all, you want to ensure the trainer is using humane methods. Don't choose a trainer who does anything to cause dogs undo pain or distress in any shape or form.
  • "Are you a member of recognized training organizations or associations?" Don't be shy about asking for credentials.
  • "Do you continue to take courses in dog training?" Many professionals continue to sharpen their skills and to stay abreast of the latest training techniques.
  • "Do you check to make sure that the dogs in your classes are up to date with their vaccinations?" Choose a trainer that has strict guidelines about the health of all dogs in the class.
  • "Do you have experience training my dog's breed?" Some trainers specialize in certain breeds and have a good understanding of the needs and capabilities of those particular dogs.

Once you've narrowed down your search, the ultimate deciding factor will come down to chemistry. If you like the trainer's personality, and he or she gets along well with your dog, you may have just met your dog's new trainer.

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