In a previous post, I discussed 6 reasons for seeking a Professional Dog trainer. In this post I wanted to share with you some valuable information about selecting the RIGHT DOG TRAINER FOR YOU!
So you’ve done your homework and you’ve found your perfect family pet- now there ARE some dogs that seem to have been on this earth before and instictively seem to behave well but most are not and need to be taught proper socialization skills, house manners and obedience so that they can have the skills they need to become happy, healthy members of our family. Just as with children, this needs to started at an early age – not that older dogs can’t be taught how to become a well behaved member of our households, it is just that they learn so much faster and easier at a younger age just as children do – it is so much easier for a child to learn a new language than it is for us adults.
When looking for the right trainer for you, there are a few things I would like for you to keep in mind and I will list them below:
1/ Have a clear idea of what your training goals are – it might be that you just want your dog to have some basic obedience and good house manners or you may have ideas of taking them to the lake at a later stage and having excellent off leash voice control. Do you want In Home Private training sessions or group training? Not got the time for that right now?? You may want to consider a Board/Train program but BEWARE! Make sure if you choose this route that there are clear training sessions set up with YOU (preferably in your home) so you learn how to effectively communicate with your dog and your trainer can help you overcome any problems. So many times I have seen where the dog will work perfectly for the trainer and when they get home, they go back to doing exactly as they please. A good trainer will always want both YOU & YOUR DOG to be successful!
2/ When talking to prospective trainers, ask them what their training methods and philosophies are – even ask them why they use those methods. Make sure they are only using Positive Reinforcement training methods so that you and your dog can build your relationship on mutual love, trust and respect.
3/ Ask them what sort of experience they have ( how many years they have they been a professional trainer ) and if they have had experience training the breed of dog you have purchased. It may sound silly, but not all dog are the same, they have all got innate traits that are specific to their breed. A Border Collie that is bred to herd sheep all day will have different requirements than a Maltese Terrier that is bred to sit on our laps and help us watch TV.
4/ What sort of Qualifications do they have? Because there is no clear rules for Dog Training Professionals in the USA at this stage, there are some people that will call themselves “Dog Trainers” and they have had no structured training at all! Not only THAT but do not spend any time or money doing Further Education & Seminars to educate themselves in a manner that would benefit of you (their client) and your dogs. Being a member of a Professional Dog Training Association such as APDT, PPG or VSPDT should prove to you that this person takes what they do seriously and will treat you and your dog with the utmost consideration and respect. Obviously, if they are a member of the BBB, this is an added bonus.
5/ Last, ask if they can meet with you before you hire them or if you can watch a group training class – talk to them! We all know that unless we like someone, we will not be able to work with them – this dog training needs to be a TEAM effort! Even if your dog likes the trainer, if you and your trainer have problems communicating it just simply won’t work. They need to be able to teach you how to train your dog – after all, this is going to be YOUR SUPER DOG for the next 10 -15 years.