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  • Dominique Oppenheimer

How to Find the Perfect Dog Trainer

Finding the best dog trainer for you and your pup can be really difficult but its an important part of your dog care team. So I wanted to take a couple of minutes to give you some hints about choosing the best trainer for you (of course you have already found the best trainer for you - because you have found me!)

Did you know that there is no regulating body in the world of dog training? This is important to remember as you begin your dog training search - anyone could set themselves up as a dog trainer with a quick stop on Vistaprint and boom your in business. You can start your search in the obvious places: general web search, APDT trainer search, local shelters, your vet, and word of mouth. Look for names that pop up over and over again - this is a wonderful starting point. This is usually someone who has been around the field for a while, is involved in the dog community, and has demonstrated results on a regular basis.

When your considering your list of trainers you need to consider are you looking for a general trainer to work with common issues such as coming when called, jumping, manners or are your needs more serious and you need to find someone experienced with behavior modification. You can look at the various options each trainer offers as well - are you looking for private lessons, group classes, board and trains etc. Not all trainers offer all forms of training - especially if your looking for more specific types of things such as agility, tracking, etc.

Cost of training should not be a determining factor when looking for your trainer. Many things can go into the cost of a trainer such as: location, skill, demand, private vs. group, and the type of issue your experiencing. Also since there is no regulating body and anyone can make themselves a dog trainer and each and every trainer sets there own prices. Keep in mind that the more work you put in between sessions the faster the problem will resolve and the lower the cost.

Now your to the point that you can begin your interview process - there are some specific questions you want to get answered:

Do you use reward - based training

May I contact past clients who have experienced similar problems to mine

May I watch you train

How long have you been training professionally

And then there are some RED FLAGS you want to look for in trainers:

Guaranteed outcomes (you can not guarantee success) - claim that there is not dog that they can't cure

Won't allow you to watch

Rely on harsh, painful, or forceful methods - focus on "dominance"

Brag about bite scars (seriously who does this??)

My last bit of advice about choosing a trainer is this - there is no one way to train your dog (there are WRONG ways). Find the trainer who feels right for you, your needs, and your dogs needs.

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