What to Look for When Choosing a Dog Trainer

The most important quality of a good trainer…

Dog Training

… is that he never makes use of force while dealing with dogs.The sheer number of pet dogs that have been abandoned by their keepers owing to misbehavior make up too tragic a number. What makes it worse is that these behavioral issues could easily have been dealt with, had the dogs in question been subject to appropriate training.

Having said that, improper training imparted by certain trainers can also result into some disastrous consequences. Therefore, it is important to entrust only certified trainers to train dogs and puppies.

Unfortunately, though, it does not end at this. There have been instances where certified trainers have also been too rigid or over-zealous with a dog than necessary, eventually creating a negative impact on the training imparted.

Therefore, it is imperative that you choose a suitable trainer for your dog, keeping your dog’s best interests at heart.

Tips for Choosing a Good Dog Trainer

Why is training necessary?Dogs, unlike humans, are pack animals. Which means that they need to have someone to look up to as a guide; in the absence of who, they will gladly take over the reins. In simple words, dogs are very high on energy and enthusiasm, which need to be channeled in the correct manner. If not, you’ll soon be looking at a pet that growls, threatens, and maybe even attacks anyone it views as a threat – and at times, it may even include you or your family members.

And that’s not all. Dog training will help you get closer to your furry friend by teaching you to understand him better, know what he’s like, and truly understand his personality. Now, wouldn’t you like to be friends with a companion you sought to be your friend?

Why involve a trainer when I can handle the little pup myself?The adorable little pup you brought home is aging every second. Your dog may or may not be a big breed, but she is a dog, and she is going to think of your family as her pack. Training is not all about teaching your dog to heel, sit, and roll over, it includes all aspects of behavioral training as well.

Okay, so we need a trainer. I’ll just search and find one over the Internet.Good start, but keep in mind that you just can’t go to any trainer simply because you liked the advertisement. Devote a little time to this, and you’ll certainly be glad you did. Keep your eyes and ears open, and look for recommended trainers. Your local pet shelter, your dog’s veterinarian, or your neighborhood pet supplies store may have information regarding certified and reputed trainers. Before you pick a trainer, meet the dogs they’ve trained, and decide for yourself. Don’t forget to attend a sample class as well.

What do I look for in a trainer?For starters, ensure that the trainer only employs humane techniques. Which means none of the following is used:

  • Yelling
  • Choking chains
  • Shaking the scruff
  • Yanking the leash
  • Alpha rolling
  • Any actions that are terrifying or painful to the dog

Next, look to your dog for answers. Even puppies can show apprehension in the company of people they instinctively dislike. And if your dog dislikes a trainer, no amount of certifications make him worthy of training your dog. Of course, some dogs may take time to warm up to a trainer, but as it’s your dog, you’ll surely know better.

Individual/group doggy classes – which one do I choose?Group classes work well, as they go a long way to help your young pup socialize, which is crucial for his behavioral development. Also, you will get the opportunity to observe other owners interact with their pets, and learn more. It is suggested that you let each member of your family become a part of the training when you get home. This way, everyone knows about the best ways to handle the pet.

If you are looking at training your dog for something specific like Search and Rescue, you may want to go and seek the services of a personal trainer. For basic training though, group sessions seem to be better.

Look for the following in a group class:

  • The class should not be overcrowded.
  • Puppy training classes need to be separate from adult dogs.
  • New entrants should be trained separately.
  • The dogs and their keepers should be in a relaxed mood.
  • The trainer’s commands should be spirited, but not intimidating.
  • Dogs should be steadily encouraged.
  • The trainer should teach you techniques that will help you to continue the training at home.
  • The training should include a session on general canine behavior for dog keepers.

What is the difference between puppy training and adult dog training?Puppies are ideally enrolled in training sessions when they are about 8 weeks old. Their sessions cover basic behavioral commands, tricks, and socializing with humans and other dogs.

Adult dogs, on the other hand, belong to different categories. They may be never trained before, or may be trained differently, so the approach to training them would differ. Secondly, adult dogs, especially those adopted from a shelter, may have undergone abuse, neglect, or may have been abandoned, which means that the trainer needs to handle them differently.

A few points to remember:

  • Schedule a trip to the vet before training commences. It is important to have your dog up-to-date on vaccines and flea/ticks check.
  • Pet shelters may offer training classes at reduced rates, so look them up.
  • Be regular and don’t miss out on sessions.
  • Do not take your dog to a training session after a full meal. She will not respond to treat-based motivation.

Dog training sessions will go a long way in strengthening the bond that you share with your best mate, so consider it as an investment you make for your relationship.

Stop Your Dog Barking Loudly With These 4 Dog Training Aids

Dogs are very social animals that love to be around people. However, it is important to train them properly to ensure they behave in public. The last thing you want is your dog distressing a little old lady by pouncing on her or attacking other dogs while taking them for a walk. Now, you have two options that can help you improve your dog’s behaviour. You can either hire a dog trainer, which can be expensive, or else purchase dog training aids at a fraction of the cost.

Bark Prevention Collar

A common problem that dog owners have is their dog barking loudly especially, if it is in a built up suburban area. One of the most popular dog training aids to solve this problem is the bark prevention collar. The collar is placed around the dog’s neck and when it starts to bark too loud the collar delivers a harmless electric shock that causes a mild irritation to the dog. The dog will quickly learn that barking loudly will result in it getting this shock and this will stop it from barking too loud.

Training Dumbbell

If your breed of dog is a retriever then you can buy a training dumbbell that will help your dog improve their ability to retrieve objects. This also helps dog owners to develop their fetch and retrieve command skills. As their names suggests, retrievers are naturals at this skill however, this type of training can be used on a number of breeds such as the Alsatian and Labrador.

Clicking Device

One of the most effective ways of training your dog to obey your commands is through positive reinforcement with a clicking device. The clicking device is a tiny box that creates a distinct clicking noise when it is pressed by the owner after their dog has obeyed their command. This clicking sound is a signal to the dog that their master is pleased with them. The idea is that the dog will associate the clicking sound with pleasure and therefore, will become more effective at obeying commands.

Relax Spray

Although most dogs are easy to train you can encounter more difficulties in house training a dog that is of a nervous disposition. However, the dog training market has come up with a solution to this problem as well. The dog anxiety spray is a natural and safe dog spray that can help to relax a nervous or anxious dog. These types of sprays are particularly useful if your dog is nervous are scared about going to the vet or a kennel.

How to Start a Dog Training Business

How to Start a Dog Training Business – A Primer

If you love dogs, learn how to start a dog training business and convert your passion into an income resource. What are the key skills necessary for success in this venture? An obvious need is your dog training expertise. Your interpersonal skills with the dog owners are equally important, if not more. Your patience and perseverance with the dogs’ masters, and the knack to change their behavior are among the catalysts that propel your dog training business higher. Harness the info on how to start a dog training business and fine tune it to reach your goals.

Dog Training Business Prospects

According to the National Pet Owners Survey (2009-2010), there are 45.6 million U.S. households that own a dog. The number is a clear indicator of the rich potential of a dog training business.

Research studies have indicated that the aggressive behavior of dogs as the main reason why people return their dogs to shelters. Again, the research result is a cue to consider starting a dog training service. As a professional dog trainer, you’ve the opportunity to fix the bond between the canine and its owner. In essence, with your work, you can let the pet remain with its master and establish a win-win situation for both.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, (2010-2011 Edition), Animal Care and Service Workers, also paints a bright picture. It says that the pet owners are expected to purchase, among others, more dog training services.

Education in Dog Training

As of now, there are no programs at the university level that offer formal education that relates to dog training. If you’ve the time and funds, it would be wise to take courses like Animal Psychology, Companion Animal Behavior and Behavior Modification at your local university or community college. Such an effort can give you a solid ground in theory. , if your personal and professional commitments don’t allow you to attend classes.

If you’re a new entrepreneur, it also makes great sense to take a few courses in business that will help better run and manage your dog training service.

Also, read the news and information that pertains to dog training. Remember, the more the knowledge you gain about dog training, the better the business decisions you will make. Gain a solid handle on dog training with books like:

  • Canine and Feline Behavior and Training: A Complete Guide to Understanding our Two Best Friends (Veterinary Technology) (ISBN: 978-1428310537)
  • Thoughtful Owners, Great Dogs: Canine Behavior and Training A Triadic Approach (ISBN: 978-1926585352)

Expand your insight on dogs with magazines like:

  • The Whole Dog Journal (http://www.whole-dog-journal.com)
  • Dog Fancy (http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-magazines/dogfancy/default.aspx)
  • Dog World (http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-magazines/dogworld/)

Will volunteer work at places like animal shelters and pet shops also help? Absolutely. It exposes you to the behavior of a variety of dogs and adds value to your skill set. Be sure to follow expert dog trainers at sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Learn How to Train Dogs

Hands-on experience in dog training lays a strong foundation to drive your dog training business on a path of growth and profits. Who trains you to train dogs? A number of schools offer dog training programs. Before you enroll in any of them, do a thorough research on the program’s quality. Find out whether they use humane training methods, such as the Mirror Method. Chat with a few former students and see if they recommend the school.

The training curriculum should be a good mix of theory and practice. It will be an apprenticeship with experienced dog trainers. Check the profile of the person you’ll be training with, the number and type of dogs you’ll train, and the duration of the training. For the latter two, the higher the number, the higher the depth of your skills.

Another route to gain experience is to volunteer with dog trainers. Search for your local dog training professionals and ask them if they can take you on board. Even if you have formal training but no real-world experience, volunteer work can deepen your technical experience and be a confident answer to how to start a dog training business.

How to Start a Dog Training Business – Dog Training Certification

Here’s more key info on how to start a dog training business: obtain certification. It will give you an edge in the dog training business. Your dog training qualifications alone can’t drive your business growth, so you’ve to exploit social networking sites to learn and share dog training tips and tricks and spread the word about your business. How else can you promote your business? Create and promote your website as the most powerful marketing tool. You should also partner with pet stores, veterinarians and others. Further, use marketing techniques like e-mail newsletters to garner clients. A membership in professional associations for dog trainers helps to grow your business.

Dog Training Certification

Certification can set your apart from others and be your unique selling proposition. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) certifies on the competence of the dog trainers through two examinations. These are Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and Certified Behavior Consultants – Canine – Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA). Get the full scoop from CCPDT.

Networking for Dog Training Business Success

Almost all service businesses depend on business networking, and the dog training business is not an exception. Today, social networking sites are a boon to get on the business ramp faster. Leverage such sites, not only to spread the word about your business, but also to keep yourself up-to-date in your field. Create a strong profile on sites like LinkedIn and request for connections and recommendations. Join a group on dog training, if there’s one. Otherwise, start a group that discusses tips, methods, education and other types of dog training.

Professsional Associations for Dog Trainers

A membership in associations like the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) can pave the way for you to enhance your training talent, make room for networking with dog trainers, and open the doors for additional business benefits. The International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) is among the other associations you may want to join.

Business Location for Dog Training

Do you want to offer dog training at your house, or at the customer’s place, or do you want to rent an exclusive space? Whatever the case, plan ahead and set the budget for renovation or rent. In your business plan, make sure to include the rent in your cost estimates.

Dog Training Business Promotion

Even if you’re the best dog trainer in the world, your business won’t move ahead if you don’t promote it. How do you go about this task? Here are some tips:

1. Set up a simple, yet a quality website. Use the search engine optimization (SEO) techniques so your site shows up in the top rungs of the search engine results. Remember, SEO is among the key elements of success of your website.

2. Print or include your website address on all your business correspondence: letterhead, e-mail signatures, invoices and business cards.

3. Give away free T-shirts, with a dog training image, at events like pet shows or competitions. Print the URL of your site with a large font size. Check out sites like Cafepress.com, which allows you to create a T-shirt designs on your own.

4. Create and upload a video about your dog training talent and business on sites like YouTube. Be sure to include a link to your site.

5. Seek business partnership with pet-related organizations, animal shelters, veterinarians and all other companies that you think can move your dog training business forward.

6. Produce and deliver e-mail newsletters, for those who opt for it through your website, on a regular basis. A newsletter is a great way to showcase your skills and turn the spotlight on your business. Fill the newsletter with useful tips and do’s and don’ts on dog training. In special newsletter issues, offer dog training discount coupons.

7. Create attractive brochures with excellent photos and copy and give it to your prospects. Display the brochures various businesses and other potential locations for customer takeaway.

Image Credit: sxc.hu/Fickle

References

Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) – http://www.ccpdt.org

Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) – http://www.apdt.com

The International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) -http://canineprofessionals.com/

Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com

American Pet Products Association – http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Animal Care and Service Workers – www.bls.gov/oco/ocos168.htm