Finding a dog trainer in your area

The good news is that it’s easier than ever to find a local dog trainer. The bad news is that it’s still just as difficult to find a good dog trainer. A good dog trainer is one that gets along with both you and your dog and knows about dogs. Unfortunately, anybody can call themselves a dog trainer because there are no government regulations for this industry. But good dog trainers do tend to join a group called the “Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

Places To Scout

Don’t just assume the closest dog trainer to you is competent, even if they won trophies at dog shows and are a member of a dog trainer association, such as the Association for Pet Dog Trainers. Be suspicious of all dog trainers until they prove their worth to you and to your dog. You wouldn’t want to leave your child with any stranger as a babysitter, so why leave any stranger with your best friend?

The first places to scout to recruit the newest member of your dog’s team are with your veterinarian, your trusted friends and family who own dogs and your dog’s groomer (if your dog has one). Ask them for recommendations.

If that doesn’t work out, then next go online or look in the Yellow Pages or even for advertisements in your mailbox. For example, the number of dog trainers in the Philadelphia area alone has risen so dramatically that they often need to advertise and offer coupons. Many large chain pet stores like PetSmart and Petco offer affordable group dog training classes.

Selecting A Candidate

Always watch a class in progress or sit in on a class to see what kind of trainer your prospective dog trainer is. Imagine them handling the problems your dog has. If they start breaking out the hardware like prong collars and choke chains, leave. Also, if the dogs in the class (or the owners in the class) break out into constant fights, leave.

You also want to see adult dogs in separate classes from little puppies. Puppies need their own classes because they will eventually do something to really annoy an adult dog.

Know your dog. Does your dog cringe at people with loud voices? Is your dog spooked at a person who jumps up and down a lot? Pick a trainer with a personality that your dog gets along with.

After sitting in for a class, ask to see any references the trainer has. The trainer should politely and almost eagerly provide them. Ask if any certificate of health is required before your dog can attend classes. Also know the pricing system and if you have to pay for a series of classes or just pay for one class at a time. And if your gut instinct says to go with the trainer, then do so.

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