Raise your hand if you agree, choosing a dog trainer can be somewhat overwhelming. Especially if you are a new dog parent.
This blog isn’t about the core of MyPetBuddy platform but it is certainly close to our hearts, why? We are pet parents of not 1 but 2 anxious pups. We have worked with many trainers over the years, it has thoughts a lot when it comes to choosing a trainer for our beloved pups. I for 1 have decided that I need to embark on the academic route so we can continue to help our dogs along with a qualified trainer.
Remember that dog training isn’t a regulated industry, and you should never trust just anybody who claims they can “train your dog”. It’s just like a pet sitting, you wouldn’t trust someone blindly and handover your furry ones, right? Not everyone who works with animals has their best interest or welfare at heart.
Here are our top tips on how to choose a dog trainer
Dog training has rapidly evolved over the past few decades and it can be confusing for a dog owner new to training to figure out how to hire a dog trainer. Don’t simply pick the closest training facility or the cheapest. Do your research to determine if a potential trainer is the right fit for you and your dog.
- The first and most basic question to consider is whether to take a class or sign up for private lessons. Fortunately, for most dogs and their people, there’s no wrong decision here. On the other hand, if your dog or puppy is shy or reactive, the presence of other people and dogs may frighten or overstimulate her and make the problem worse. One-on-one coaching could be the answer here, as it can be tailored to address any behavioral issues your canine friend may have.
- Ask the trainer about his/her methods and training philosophy, and make sure you’re comfortable with the approach. Look for a trainer who uses positive reinforcement training but do not be fooled by the training pouch that is being carried around. A true positive reinforcement trainer will reward the dog for appropriate behavior and teaching alternative behaviors in place of inappropriate ones. These techniques are based on the science of animal learning and have the bonus of strengthening the dog-owner bond and fostering a love of learning in dogs. There is no yanking, leash correction or any form of force that takes place. The trainer will allow the dog the freedom of CHOICE.
- Ask a potential trainer about his/her education and any credentials they may have. Some wonderful trainers have learned through apprenticeships and years of experience, whereas others have taken a more academic route in building their skills. A qualified and certified trainer will be more than happy to share their credentials without hesitation. Remember that your pup can’t speak for themselves and the choices you make for them MATTERS. It’s just like going to a psychologist, would you go to just anyone who claims that he/she is a psychologist? So, look for credentials such as CCPT & APDT for example, there are many other registered bodies and a quick google search will help you understand.
- Speak with the trainer to get a feel for his/her personality and people skills before deciding. It’s not enough to read the brochure or website. In truth, dog trainers teach people, so you need to feel comfortable being her student. Look for someone who uses the same positive reinforcement with her human pupils that she uses with the dogs. She should be patient, encouraging, and respectful. Try to observe a training class and watch the dogs and students as much as the trainer to ensure they are all enjoying themselves. In addition, ask for references from former students.
- Look for a trainer who provides more than just the basic training techniques. Dogs and humans have different ways of looking at the world, and the more you understand your dog’s perceptions, the better equipped you are to meet his/her needs and live together happily. Training lessons should include information about dog behavior, dog communication, and how dogs learn. Great trainers understand that their job is to train you to train your dog.
- Look for trainers that understands the hazards and safety of an equipment or tools used during training. This is very important as it goes hand in hand of being a positive reinforcement (R+) trainer. R+ trainers will never ask you to put on a choke, semi-choke, slipped leash, e-collars to name a few on your dog. These trainers will help educate you on how to choose the right tool to use, for example a harness and it’s function. One may think that walking a dog is a simple task, but soon to realized that it require some skills and practice.
In conclusion, training is an investment, don’t see it as a quick fix solution. Make sure to keep your pup’s welfare in mind and if anyone makes you or your pup feel uncomfortable, close the chapter with that trainer or facility and move on. Every choice we make on their behalf is crucial.