Finding the right dog trainer can be difficult, especially if you’re a dog parent that’s very particular about the kind of traits you want your dog to possess. Dogs, much like humans, tend to have different personalities. As such, you want a trainer whose methods bring out the best behaviors in your dog. For example, dog trainers like Mike Lilley K9 help you ensure that your dog adopts positive habits.

Getting a trainer for your dog isn’t simply a matter of picking the first one you come across. The dog training industry is an unregulated one. This means that anyone can set up shop quickly and claim to be a certified dog trainer. It, therefore, becomes your responsibility, as the pet owner, to sort through the many who claim to have the skills and experience necessary to impart good habits to your dog.

As much as dog training involves a lot of science, it is also an art. This means that a certain amount of delicacy and finesse may be required during different phases of dog training. Only a well-trained and experienced professional can know this. That’s why it’s important to carefully choose a dog trainer for your pet.

Finding a Dog Trainer

It’s always best to start by asking friends and family. If you’re a dog lover, chances are there are people in your immediate circle who share the same interest. Start by asking them about any dog trainers that they know. Your local dog club is also an ideal place to help you find trainers. Even if there are no trainers there, the patrons will likely know how to find good ones.

The internet is always a resource to help you find a dog trainer. Use a search engine to find the nearest dog trainers in your city or county.

How to Select the Right Dog Trainer

Finding a dog trainer is only half the battle; you’ll need to probe more to find the right one. You’ll need to ask several important questions to help you determine the right trainer for your dog.

These questions include:

1)What Kind of Dog Training Certification and Experience Do You Have?

There are several, recognized dog training certification programs like the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP). Ask the dog trainer about any such certification that they may have. This will give you a good idea as far as their dog training skills go. You also want to ask about the duration of their dog training career. While certifications are well and good, certain aspects of dog training can only be properly mastered through hands-on experience. Ensure that the dog trainer you choose has relevant experience.

2) What is Your Dog Training Philosophy?

Different trainers will have varying methods that they feel comfortable with as far as dog training goes. You want to make sure that you understand a dog trainer’s preferred methods before agreeing to hire them.

Positive reinforcement, a central tenet of operant conditioning, is the dominant psychological principle in most dog training methods. It involves utilizing training methods that increase the likelihood of a (positive) behavior occurring again. You want a dog trainer that is well conversant with this principle and applies it in their methods.

3) May I Observe One of Your Classes?

Dog training theories are only as effective as a dog trainer’s ability to successfully apply them. What better way to observe this than to watch a dog trainer in action? If possible, ask a dog trainer if you can sit in on one of their training sessions. This will allow you to see them in action and gauge their ability and personality up close.

4) What Do You Do to Stay Current as Far as Dog Training Techniques Go?

Dog training is a field where new techniques are always being studied. Some of these techniques are then incorporated into existing training manuals. That’s why continuing education is key for any dog trainer to stay ahead. Ask about what the dog trainer does in this regard.

5) Any References?

References are key. They’ll tell you a lot about a dog trainer, how they’ve interacted with past clients, and how those clients perceive them. Look out for any negative testimonials about the dog trainer. While there is usually the occasional dissatisfied customer, a dog trainer with several negative reviews may not be right for you (or your dog). You also want to find out about any animal cruelty allegations leveled at this dog trainer. Some have been known to employ training methods that border on the barbaric.

All in all, ensure to check out each dog trainer thoroughly before entrusting your dog to their care.

By Manali