Choosing the right dog trainer can be a daunting task, but it’s an essential step in building a strong and healthy relationship with your furry companion. Whether you’re looking to address specific behaviors or simply want to deepen your bond, finding the right trainer is key. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide to assist you in selecting the perfect dog trainer for you and your pup – because investing in your dog’s training is always a good idea!
Decide on a preferred dog training method.
Different trainers may use different techniques, and what may work for Goofy may not work for Pluto. Ask them about their training approach and why they use them.
Some popular dog training methods include:
- Positive reinforcement – focuses on rewarding good behavior
- Clicker training – uses a small clicker device to signal to the dog when they have done something correctly
- Board and train – intensive training, where the dog lives and trains with a professional trainer for a period
The key is to find a dog trainer who uses a method that aligns with your training goals and feels like a proper fit for your dog and their personality.
Ask for credentials.
Choosing the right trainer can be a bit like choosing a partner on a dating app — you want to make sure you’re compatible, and it’s not just a case of “love at first sit.” That’s why it’s important to know that you are working with a qualified professional.
Some of the credentials you may want to ask for include:
- Certification from a reputable organization such as the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) or the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
- Proof of membership in professional organizations such as the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) or the Pet Professional Guild (PPG)
Dog trainers don’t necessarily have to be certified. But you should still ask about their experience and how they learned dog training.
What are the dog training sessions like?
A good way to get a sense of this is to ask to observe a training session or to ask the trainer to provide you with a general overview of their methods and techniques.
- How often are the dog training sessions?
- What homework will be implemented?
- Will the dog trainer follow up?
Consider the time you have to offer and your goals for your dog.
By understanding what the training sessions will be like, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision about whether the trainer is the right fit for you and your dog.
Ask for success stories.
When looking for a dog trainer, you want to ensure you’re getting the best training for your buck.
Here are a few things to consider when asking for success stories:
- Ask for references or testimonials from previous clients.
- Speak with the references and ask specific questions about their experience with the trainer, the progress their dog made, and any challenges they faced during the training.
- Look for specific examples of how the trainer helped the dog and the pet parent achieve their goals.
- Look for positive changes in the dog’s behavior, such as improved obedience, reduced fear or aggression, and increased confidence.
- Ask if they have before and after pictures or videos of the dog’s progress.
It’s important to remember that every dog is different, and it’s not guaranteed that a trainer will have the same results with your dog as they did with other dogs. But it’s still a good idea to know the dog trainer’s track record and the results they’ve achieved with other clients.
The right trainer for you, your dog, and your desired outcome is out there, but not every dog trainer is a fit for you. Do your homework before choosing, and don’t be afraid to switch it up if something isn’t working. Either way, training will take a big effort on your part, so get ready to roll up your sleeves!