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How To Choose A Dog Trainer

Choosing a trainer? How do you decide? What sets trainers apart?

You probably feel overwhelmed when seeking out a professional to help you with your pup. Whether it's a new puppy you're looking to get the right start with, maybe to improve listening and better manners, or possibly behaviors that are little more serious such as reactivity. Google searches pop up a lot of local trainers and Facebook groups might recommend a handful of them. So how do you pick? Here are 4 important aspects to look for in choosing a trainer. Don't be afraid to get a consultation and talk with your trainer before you schedule!

  1. What is their education? There is no official designation that makes someone a dog trainer. There are many ways for trainers to gain education including certification programs, seminars, and courses. They may also train under other trainers and animal behaviorists. All of these options show their commitment to learning and improvement.

  2. What is their experience? Trainers should have hands-on experience with many dogs of varying backgrounds, breeds, and personalities. This goes far beyond working with dogs they personally own. They should have a proven understanding of animal behavior and psychology. Anyone can teach a dog to sit, but not everyone can correct a behavior problem.

  3. What services are offered? Trainers should offer multiple services to fit the needs of different dogs and owners. They should offer consultations to assess your needs. Some dogs do well in groups classes, while others require private lessons, or a board and train in the trainer's constant care to focus on individual needs. Trainers should also offer ongoing opportunities to maintain your dog's progress.

  4. What tools do they use? Trainers should be familiar and comfortable with all variety of training tools available to them. These tools should always be used in a positive manner that results in improved outcomes for the dog. Ensure that the trainer can communicate the benefits and risks of every training tool in their toolbox. Working with a balanced trainer that can use both ends up the spectrum of positive reinforcement and correction appropriately will help give you the best results in behaviors and a good relationship with your dog that you are wanting.

Be sure to check out reviews, recommendations (ask why they recommend that trainer!) and watch some of their training videos. Look at the results they get with other dogs! You should be able to get a clear answer on their training philosophy or a training approach. A dog is a life long commitment and training is an investment to enjoy those years with your dog. Invest in the right trainer!

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