How to Find a Dog Trainer You Can Trust
Veterinarian Reviewed on January 15, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Entrusting your beloved dog to the care and training of a stranger is serious business. Training practices vary widely and you want to be certain that the methodology of your trainer matches your opinions and beliefs about how your dog should be trained. Training your dog is a special time in the dog/owner relationship and as such finding the right dog trainer is not a task that should be taken lightly. A respectable dog trainer will employ techniques that are humane and easy to grasp for both the dog and the handler.
Some Early Tips
- Look for recommendations. It is always important to speak to friends and family first. People you trust should be able to recommend a dog trainer that they found to be both effective and empathetic.
- Make a list. Be sure not to limit your choices of dog trainers. It is always best to make a list of suitable trainers in your area and then to interview these trainers. By increasing the number of trainers you prospect you are more likely to find a trainer that matches the needs and expectations of you and your dog.
- Observe a lesson. The best dog trainers will allow you to observe training sessions and to tour their facilities. A good class will be easy to spot because the dogs and handlers should be having a good time. Also, make sure the facilities are clean and organized as these qualities are signs of a competent and professional trainer.
What to Expect from Training Sessions
The best dog trainers can be identified by a few characteristics.
1. They give a clear explanation of the methods and expectations of each session.
2. They give easy to follow instructions that can be learned quickly by the dog and the handler.
3. They will always demonstrate the behavior or behaviors they are expecting to teach the dog.
4. They will allow and observe practice time for the handler and the dogs as well as provide instruction during this practice time.
5. They will give each client individual instruction especially when the dog or handler are having difficulty.
In conclusion, it is not only important to choose a trainer who delivers sessions in a professional manner and environment, it is important to build a rapport with your trainer. You and your dog should feel comfortable and confident when working with your trainer. If these conditions cannot be met then you should continue your search for a trainer. Also remember, that nowadays any training methods that are harmful to your dog or make you feel uncomfortable are completely inappropriate. Training should not only be humane but fun!
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan