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How to choose a trainer for your dog


Today there are many people who call themselves dog training “experts.” To be honest, a lot of these trainers are full of 

hot air. Expert is simply a name that they have given to themselves and doesn’t in actual fact mean anything, so don’t be fooled.


So, how do you sort through all the hype? The goal of the trainer is to make learning fun for both you and your dog. If you both dread the whole training then process nothing is going to get accomplished and you will be wasting both your time and money.


There are dog trainers advertised everywhere in this day and age; in your community newspaper, in the phone book, on the internet, and on bulletin boards in local pet stores and veterinary offices. You should also ask your friends, family, and co-workers just in case they can recommend any dog training programs.


Before you sign up to any program or class, you should go and watch a training session in person. Do the dogs and the owners seem to be learning anything? How do you think that you and your dog would feel in this situation? Does the instructor offer more than one way to solve a problem? Not every technique works for every dog, which is something else that is very important, how would your dog react to this person?


Definitely don’t go for a trainer who believes in physical punishment. A dog trainer should not be showing you how to scruff your dog or force him into a submissive position (this is called “alpha rolling”). Basically, if you are uncomfortable with any of the training methods you are presented with go with your gut instincts and walk away, else you could be putting you and your dogs’ relationship in danger.


While choke chains can be effective training tools they are not my own favorite method of training. Personally, I’ve find that dogs learn much faster when they are rewarded for doing something right rather than punished for something wrong.


Are the dog trainers you are interested in using keeping up with the latest research and developments in animal behavior? Or are they using the same training techniques they learned 30 years ago? Of course, experience matters, but you have to make sure that the trainer you are working with hasn’t just being doing it the wrong way for all of those 30 years. You should also check to make sure the trainer or instructor is a member of educational organizations like the Association of Pet Dog Trainers or is pursuing other educational opportunities.


Some dog trainers come to your house which can be very expensive, but can be worth it as there is no better place to train a dog than in his own environment. This can be extremely valuable especially if you are dealing with a behavior that revolves around the home.


Something else that you may find is that some trainers offer to train your dog for you, in which case you drop your dog off at their facility and leave him there for a certain period of time. I’ve always thought this concept was a little odd since it’s not really teaching the owner anything. I also don’t see how this would deliver a consistent message to the dog, as they will most likely act differently with the trainer than with you. Added to this, you have no real way of telling what kind of training methods they are using in your absence. In my opinion, your money is much better spent hiring a trainer to come to your house.


Chihuahua Town
Phone: 805.226.8354