You’ve made an important decision by deciding to add a companion animal to your household. The next important decision but one you’ll never regret is to find a trainer or training program for your new family member.
How Do You Find a Reputable Dog Trainer in Your Area?
- Ask around! Get references from your local humane society, veterinarian, or breed club.
- Go to the facility and sit in on a class. Training your dog should be fun. If the dogs and/or owners are stressed out during class, find out why.
- As the trainer about their experience. How many years have they been training dogs? Do they have an area of expertise? Are they certified by any of the professional dog trainer associations such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers? Call the professional organization and verify that the trainer is, in fact, a member of the organization.
- Make sure the methods used to train your dog are positive. Remember, behavior that is rewarded is more likely to be repeated. It is that simple. Negative tactics such as hitting, shocking, hanging, kicking, and the like will not produce a positive outcome. Rather, your dog will fear you and this will impact your dog’s bond with you.
- A good trainer will keep up-to-date with the latest innovations in dog training by attending conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. Ask the trainer about recent conferences or courses they may have attended.
- Pay attention to the process by which employees of the training organization go through to become trainers themselves. Are they teaching a class the same night they turn in an application? What is the training process for new trainers?
- The trainer should demonstrate a love for animals and respect for people and the animals in their care.
- Good trainers will take precaution to ensure your dogs are not exposed to anything that may compromise their health. Does the school require proof of vaccinations?
- Make sure the class size is small enough that you can get some individual attention if you need it. Your trainer should present a lesson and give the class the opportunity to practice during class time so you have the opportunity to present your new skills to the trainer and get feedback for improvement.
- Training can not be accomplished with just one class. Your class should be spread over the course of 6 weeks minimum. Make a commitment to work with your dog nightly at least one half hour to practice the skills you have learned in class!
AWARE has members that are trainers. Stayed tuned for an updated list complete with links of area trainers.