What to Look for in a Professional Dog Trainer
When the time comes to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer, you will not only want to know what to expect but what questions you need to ask before you spend your money. Training your dog is possibly the best investment you will ever make for your pet. Be informed and do some research to find the best possible trainer for you and your dog. There are no legal requirements to determine who may go into the business of training dogs.
There are professional associations and certifications in the dog training industry, but having a certificate does not make a person a good dog trainer. There are other qualities that you will want to look for as well.
Professional Dog Trainer Credentials
When talking to potential trainers for you and your dog, find out where they learned to train dogs. It is often best to find someone that has worked for another trainer or done an apprenticeship. You will also want to know if they have taken the time to obtain some formal education in their chosen field. Some people have attended dog training schools, others will attend seminars and conferences periodically. A trainer that goes to the effort to keep her skills updated and to learn more about her job is likely to do a good job for her clients. Memberships in professional associations may also demonstrate that a trainer is interested in being informed about and involved in her industry.
Though there are not any laws regarding who may call themselves a dog trainer, there are several agencies that offer certificates for dog trainers. The National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers are a few of the more recognized certifying agencies.
Do not rely solely upon certifications and education when selecting a professional dog trainer. Ask for at least two customer references, and also a reference from another dog trainer. This will let you know if your prospective trainer is an established professional.
Once you have your dog trainer candidates narrowed down to a two or three, you will be ready to determine if he or she is a good fit for you and your dog. Cost is usually the first concern for most dog owners. Find out what the trainer charges and what types of service he offers. For instance, you may not be able to afford a board and train program but weekly private lessons may be a budgetary option.
You will also want to know what training methods your trainer will be using. Learn about some of the methods to be sure you are going to be comfortable using them with your dog. Listen to your intuition, if a training method feels wrong to you do not use it. Find another trainer instead.
Seeing is believing. Ask your trainer if you may come to a class or session they are teaching without your dog to observe their work. Note the type of response the trainer gets from the canine client and the human. If all involved are attentive and engaged you may have found the perfect dog trainer for you!