How to choose a dog trainer – Part 1

I have been around dogs all my life and have just recently completed the task of becoming certified as a dog trainer. However,I know better to think that in some way that entitles me to jump right out there and have people allow and/or trust me to supply them and their dogs with the proper tools for obedience training, behavior modification and better overall communication skills. Baby steps. Now I have to prove myself and gain some experience and that can only be accomplished with time. Experience speaks volumes and hopefully some day I will more than enough.

Fortunately, I have been on the other side of the equation as a consumer searching for a dog trainer. The following list was compiled from my experiences and I have taken it to heart as I get ready to go out there as a trainer myself. I hope it helps.

1 – Try and get recommendations from vet offices, friends, family, humane societies, etc.

2 – Observe training classes. (If trainers do not allow this, then most likely you do not want them training your dog) If allowed, then great, take note if people and dogs are having fun. Is trainer enthusiastic and does he/she possess decent communication skills? Does trainer keep people interactive with their dog? Stick around for the end of class and see if trainer takes time to answer questions one on one. Ask participants their thoughts.

3 – Obviously trainers must love dogs. But do they seem knowledgeable of various breeds? Are they unbiased?

4 – Do trainers treat ALL with respect? This means humans as well as dogs.

5 – Is trainer calm, consistent and in control with a never-ending supply of patience? Are they short fused? A display of emotions has no place in dog training.

6 – Does trainer take the time to explain process and procedures before starting any training regiments? Does he/she listen to your concerns?

7 – Trainers must always have the dog’s best interest in mind. Do they adjust training to fit the dog or do they just simply try to fit the dog into the training?

8 – Experience. Is trainer experienced? Is his/her knowledge widespread, are there multiple skill sets in their toolbox? Do they keep themselves up to date on latest techniques?

9 – Are practices humane? Does trainer have confident dog handling skills?

10 – Is it ethics before the profit? Does trainer seem genuine in his interests or is he/she simply setting up a vacuum to make a few extra dollars?

11 – And do you believe the trainer is going to be able to improve YOUR dog handling skills? Because let’s face it: Dog training is not about training the dog – it is about training the people.

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