How To Pick a Dog Trainer

The search for a dog trainer should include information regarding the trainer's personal dogs, and their accomplishments. This is helpful even if the dog to be trained will not enter competitions. A good trainer is not afraid to let his peers judge him and grade his techniques. A trainer that is anxious to impress new clients will be unafraid to "show" what he is capable of doing with his own dog. Happy, obedient and well-adjusted dogs will be the product of the right trainer.

A good trainer can work with all types of problems and breeds. A good trainer will use whatever equipment or reward will work for each dog. Training methods should be adaptable depending on the different situations. Each dog, like each person is different. If a trainer "pigeon holes" each dog into the same category as all of the dogs he trains, then he is doing his clients a disservice. Disregarding a type of collar or reward will limit the training of certain dogs and can de-motivate a dog or worse yet make a dog more unruly.

The following area should be discussed when looking for a trainer:

  • Experience of the trainer.
  • Lesson plan for training.
  • Breeds trained previously.
  • Problems previously trained.
  • Resume of the trainer.
  • Referrals from clients.
  • Students' achievements.
  • Methods utilized (positive only, correction and positive, clicker, adaptable to each dog's behavior).
  • Type of equipment used.
  • Experience with aggressive dogs.
  • Trainer's area of expertise.
It is a good idea to observe dogs in a class to see if they are happy and obedient. Watch to see if the trainer is attentive to problem dogs and if the problems are addressed and solved. See if the trainer is taking an active role in the training of the dogs or just commanding the owners. Determine if the dogs enjoy class and want to be there. A good indicator is if the trainer's dog is attentive to it's handler, waiting to work or to be asked to work.
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