If you’re looking for a reputable dog trainer, it might seem an impossible task. With so many professionals advertising their services, it can often be overwhelming to know how to find the best trainer for your dog. However, looking for these six things can help you narrow down the choices substantially.
Looking for a dog trainer with a good reputation is perhaps one of the most effective ways of finding a good trainer for your dog. If you’re able to find recommendations from family, friends, other dog owners you know, your veterinarian, or local kennel clubs, these recommendations will likely be worth listening to.
It might seem like common sense, but many people don’t inquire as to the experience of their dog’s trainer. Just because someone is licensed to train a dog doesn’t mean they’re experienced enough to handle every situation. Always look into the background of your trainer, the number of years they’ve been training dogs, and if they have a specialty.
Love of Dogs
This is another thing you might assume is standard in all dog trainers, but in reality some dog trainers don’t have a true and genuine love of dogs. Some might be doing it for the money, and others might be doing it for other reasons. While the large majority of dog trainers do love and care about dogs, it’s always good to observe your dog’s trainer a few times to see if you sense that love and devotion.
Not only should your dog’s trainer be very knowledgeable about training methods, but that knowledge should be up to date. Find out if your trainer has attended continued education courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, and other such activities and events.
What training style does the trainer use? Are you comfortable with that training method? Does this particular trainer specialize in an area that your dog could use help in? And, most importantly, does the trainer handle dogs in a safe manner, putting the dog’s well being as a priority? These are all questions you should ask and find out about the trainer’s methodology.
Always find out if a trainer is involved with reputable organizations, clubs, training groups, etc.
General Obedience Tips
Training should always be enjoyable for you and your dog. If you’re trying to train your dog on your own and you’re not in a good mood, don’t start. Whenever your dog follows a command promptly, reward them right away. Rewards don’t have to be treats; they can be anything your dog will work towards. This could be anything from praise to a toy. Always try to break up training into shorter sessions instead of longer ones, as long, intense training sessions can be stressful for dogs. Never involve negative reinforcement or punishments as part of training. Under no circumstances should you hit, shout at, smack, or jerk the chain or collar of your dog. Never, under any circumstance, should you use an electric shock collar. Every training session should be positive and full of rewards. By teaching your dog to exhibit desirable behaviors by rewarding them you’re automatically teaching them what not to do, without the need for harsh punishments or negative reinforcement.
Training with Head Collars
Bringing up a new dog or puppy has very few unpleasant experiences, but pulling on the lead or collar is one of them. Using a head collar is a popular trend that has several advantages over a traditional collar. For one thing, it’s very simple to use, but it’s also important that the head collar fits correctly and your dog is properly introduced so he doesn’t think he’s being punished. Head collars are also far more intuitive and are effective when you’re trying to control your dog in a difficult situation. Not having to pull on your dog’s neck so much can also help prevent injury.