Today is World Teachers’ Day! We know this day was intended for our two-legged educators (which we are incredibly thankful for) but, we wanted to highlight four-legged teachers (trainers) as well! If you’re like most dog owners, you want your furry friend to be well-behaved and obedient. To make this happen, you may need to invest in some professional help from a dog trainer. With so many options out there, how do you choose the right one?
Here are a few tips on how to find and vet dog trainers to help you make the best decision for you and your pup:
1. Do your research.
Before you start reaching out to potential trainers, it’s important to do your homework and figure out what kind of training methods you’re comfortable with. There are a variety of approaches out there, from positive reinforcement to more traditional methods like dominance-based training. Once you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, you can start to narrow down your trainer options. It is also good to know what way you learn best. Some pet owners learn more from a classroom style method with the support of other pet owners. Some owners prefer the comfort of their own home and it make be easier if you have a pet with behavioral issues.
2. Get referrals from friends or family.
If you know anyone who has used a dog trainer in the past, ask for recommendations. Personal referrals can be extremely helpful in finding a qualified trainer who is a good fit for you and your dog. Even though they are friends and family, be weary if they recommend a trainer and their dog is a little unruly. It might not be indicative of the trainer, but of the owner’s lack of consistency after the training, so just keep that in mind.
3. Check out online reviews.
In addition to personal recommendations, you can also read online reviews of different trainers. This can give you a sense of what other dog owners have experienced and whether or not they would recommend a particular trainer. Facebook seems to be the most consistent place to find reviews for local small businesses these days if they don’t have a google business profile.
4. Meet potential trainers in person.
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential trainers, it’s time to start meeting them in person. This will give you a chance to get a feel for their personality and see how they interact with your dog. If you have any specific questions or concerns, this is also the time to ask them. Here are a few questions that would be good to ask them:
- Do you train full-time, and how many dogs have you trained?
- What is your training philosophy?
- Do you have any references?
- What is your method of training? (In-class with other dogs, or 1-on-1 whether in home or a different location)
- How much experience do you have with my specific breed? (Or how much experience do you have with my particular problem? Example: jumping up, barking, pulling on lead, reactivity)
Whoever you choose, know that it is not set in stone. If you get a few training sessions in with a trainer and feel you are not learning or maybe not comfortable with that trainer, SWITCH! As the owner, you know what is best for you and your pet. We have compiled a list of local trainers that we approve of at Braxton’s for you here.
Have you used a trainer in the past? What worked well for you? What behavior issues were you trying to connect? Give a local trainer a shot out in the comments below!