Tips On Finding The Right Dog Trainer
Each dog has their own personality with lovable quirks and a lively spirit. As a pet parent, it's your job to help them become well adjusted and well behaved. Enrolling them in a training course is the way to go but with so many options available, it's difficult to figure out which is the best for you and your pet. Here are 5 useful tips for finding the perfect dog trainer.
In recent years, the "classic" training method that uses shock collars, prong collars and alpha rolling has been phased out for positive reinforcements. Most certified trainers use this method, which relies on treats, toys and clickers to encourage good behavior. This method makes use of non-aversive corrections (withholding attention during bad behavior) rather than actively reprimanding it. Corrections are rewarded at increased intervals until your dog no longer needs it. Most owners find this to be the most effective training method, and it's what you're likely to come across most often in your search.
Just like people, dogs have different temperaments and learning styles. Some owners find it easier to put their pooch in a class that trains by breed, or one-on-one. Dogs with high food drives, robust personalities and high sociability will respond differently to certain techniques than dogs with low food drives and timid personalities. Breed-specific trainers are perfect for families that are worried about how effective mixed-breed training will be for their beloved, four-legged friend.
Surprisingly, there are no licensing requirements to become an official dog trainer. There are, however, various independent groups that offer comprehensive exams and training for those who are serious about the work. CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers) is one such group that requires their students to take a written exam, proof of effective training exercises and at least 300 hours of experience. It's also a good idea to ask your potential trainer of any additional classes they've taken, such as behavioral science or psychology. How invested they are in educating themselves shows how much they care about your pet's well being.
Watch Them At Work
Just because a potential trainer wears your favorite sports clothing, it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to work out. The best way to get a feel for how they interact with dogs is to sit in on a class. Talk to the owners, observe the animals' enjoyment and get an overall feel of the atmosphere before deciding on a trainer. If a trainer refuses to let you sit in, it's a no go.
Figuring Out Finances
Other than the well being of your dog, figuring out the cost of the class is the most important decision. The cost varies from place to place, but look for a trainer who offers a reasonable cost for what they're providing. Improving your dog's behavior is important but not so important that you should overpay.