How to Find a Dog Trainer that's Right for You
Dog obedience training is important for many
reasons. Dogs who are trained make better pets:
walks become more enjoyable; they have "good manners"
in the home and with other people and pets; and it
helps to keep them safe. Find a dog trainer that
emphasizes humane and positive training
methods, one that reinforces appropriate behavior with
rewards and praise (rather than punishing "bad"
behavior). Friends or family who have first-hand
recommendations can also assist you to find a dog
trainer that's right for you and who has the ability
to work with your dog's unique personality. Here are
a few things to consider before you decide on a dog
obedience trainer or training class:
- Group setting or private training? Most of
the time, people join an obedience group
or socialization classes, as it gives them the opportunity to observe
how other people handle their dogs, plus gives their
dogs a chance to learn appropriate interaction with
other dogs and people.
Sometimes, however, private training should be
considered. One example is a dog that has specific
behavior issues that require a lot of individual
attention. Gradually, though, the dog should be
able to join a training class with other canines
and people. Most dog owners find that there dogs will
behave and react differently during one-on-one training
sessions than they will in a group setting where other
dogs and people are present.
- How big are classes? Class sizes should
on the small side, as it allows for more individualized
- Are dogs of different ages separated? For
instance, puppies tend to have different training
and socialization needs than older dogs.
- Does the trainer require proof of up-to-date
vaccinations (or titer tests)? This is important
since dogs can transmit diseases between one another.
- Can other members of the family attend the
class? Everyone should attend, if possible, so
that your dog learns to respond to each of you. It
also helps to teach everyone how to communicate
effectively with the canine member of the family,
and strengthens the bond between them.
- Are training classes available for different
"levels", ie. puppy socialization,
beginners, intermediate, advanced, special needs
(dog aggression, reactive dogs, etc).
- Ask if you can observe a class before
signing up. Do the dog trainers have a good
connection with their "students", and
do they use up-beat, positive, and humane training
methods? Do the people and pets look like they're
having fun? Do the trainers give everyone attention
as needed, as well as encouragement?
Participating in a dog training helps to improve
communication between you and your pet, and makes
your pet a well-mannered member of the household. The
key is to find a dog trainer who connects with both you
and your dog, and one that focuses on
training. Positive training methods makes
for both happy pets and happy people!