As mentioned in our article about dog obedience training, a dog trainer works with a dog suffering from a specific behavior problem in the environment that it’s most comfortable in its own home. This article expands on the topic of dog trainers in more detail.
In addition to training dogs, a dog trainer also teaches owners how to handle a problematic pet. But because these lessons take place at the owner’s home, they’re much more expensive than classroom lessons.
If you’re interested in hiring a private trainer or attending a dog training class, you must take care to select the right teacher. The way that a dog is trained will influence the way the dog interacts with others in the future. Should you hire a trainer that advocates negative training, you’re going to face a lot of emotional problems down the road. In general, the trainer’s method should adapt to the dog’s personality. So if your dog is shy, a friendly and loving trainer is much more appropriate than a stern trainer.
Ask around for quality leads from people you know and trust. Your own vet should have several leads on hand that point to dog trainers who teach with positive training methods. But don’t rush into a decision. Seek out recommendations from your groomer, kennel, breed club, and even your pet sitter.
Once you find a handful of impressive leads, set up an appointment to inquire about credentials, degrees, experience, and memberships in well-known dog organizations. You should give special attention to trainers with an APDT membership (Association of Pet Dog Trainers). The more qualified and experienced a trainer is, the more comfortable you can feel. Qualified and experienced trainers tend to keep current with new training methods via special courses and workshops. If you don’t know a prospective trainer’s qualifications, by all means, ask for them.
While you’re interviewing a trainer, be sure to watch how the trainer interacts with your dog and then observe how well the dog responds to the trainer. If the dog is unresponsive, make a note of it but don’t rule out the trainer just yet. The dog may warm up to the trainer at a later time. If the dog shows an obvious disliking, however, seek a different trainer. Some dogs don’t like a certain person for reasons unknown. In order for training to be effective, both trainer and dog must make an amicable match. The perfect match, of course, would create a joyous time for your dog, but sometimes the severity of a behavior problem might require a trainer with a stern approach (and less joyous time) rather than outwardly friendly one.