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.