How to Pick a Great Dog Trainer!
You have a new puppy or an old dog with bad habits and you come to the point in time when you ask yourself “Should I find a dog trainer?” and “What makes a dog trainer better than another and why?”
Choosing a dog trainer will be one of the most important decisions that you will make for you and your dog in their life. There are a lot of dog trainers out there and many of them use different methods and techniques, which can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is very important to choose a trainer for your dog wisely by determining what it is that you are you trying to teach your dog and are you comfortable with the trainer’s methods.
What type of dog you have and what type of class you enroll your dog in will depend on what expectations that you are looking for out of the training. Is your dog a new puppy that has not learned how to walk on a leash properly? Is your dog an old dog that you cannot break of bad habits? Is your dog a bad behaver?
Once you identify the issue that you are trying to solve or prevent you will then be able to narrow down your search. This will enable you to zero in on the right type of trainer for you and your furry friend.
Remember, training your dog should be fun!!
How to find a Trainer
A great trainer will most likely be well known in your community. You can start with Google and go through the various dog trainer reviews, but we all know that many reviews are not fair and balanced.
In our opinion a better place to start is to get recommendations from people that you know and trust that have dogs and have used a trainer. You can find out about their experience, the training techniques used and if they have any advice for you. Another great place to start is to ask your breeder, your veterinarian, the local animal shelter, people at your local dog store and local dog park for their recommendations.
Choosing a Trainer
Once you have several recommendations, here are several tips to consider to help you find the perfect trainer for you and your dog
- Reputation: Look for references on-line like Yelp, Google, review their social media sites and testimonials from actual clients. Ask the potential trainer for references from former or current dog parents.
- Experience and Knowledge: Ask the potential trainer how long he or she has worked as a professional trainer. If your dog has a specific behavioral problem or issue that you would like addressed ask the trainer if he or she has experience and knowledge dealing with this issue.
- Certifications: Ask the potential trainer about his or her credentials, education, and any certifications that she or he may have. Ask the trainer how they stay current with what is new in the field.
- Methods: Trainers use different techniques and methods. You need to be comfortable with the potential trainer’s methods. If you are uncomfortable find another trainer. Classic trainers lean toward methods that are aversive using prong collars and shock collars causing your dog to give up on an undesirable habit by associating the habit to an unpleasant effect. Positive trainers tend to lean toward methods that include reinforcement with treats and toys.
- Communication Skills: Remember, dog trainers are skilled at handling dogs because they love dogs. This does not mean that they are experts or skilled at handling people. Make sure that you are comfortable with the personality of the potential trainer, how they interact with you and other dog parents.
- Class Size and Structure: Do I want a group class or private training? Try to attend a class as an observer to make sure that you like their training style and that you are comfortable with the class size and structure. Watch the trainer, the dogs, and the dog parents to make sure that they are all enjoying themselves.
With good luck, good training, and lots of hard work, you and your furry friend will be enjoying and fulfilling the relationship that you dreamed of.
At Leash Links we hope to be a part of that journey with you. Leash Links’ patent pending Dog Leash Training System – The Chew Proof Signature Walker is being used by dog owners, dog walkers and dog trainers around the country. Click on the orange stars here to read our five-star reviews.
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Thanks for reading and being part of our Leash Links Family! Please share pictures and videos of your journey on any of our social media platforms or email us here!
Demetra, Joe, Nancy & Rick
Co-Founders of Leash Links