How to Choose A Good Dog Trainer

We all want to have dogs that are well-behaved. That’s why we often look for a good dog trainer. However, that can be easier said than done. After all, these are professionals that we are going to trust with our pets. We need to make sure that the dog trainer we chose is not only knowledgeable but also a kind person who wants only the best for the animals in their care. While most trainers out there do truly love animals, there are questions that need to be asked and red flags to look for in the industry.

dog trainerWhat to look for in a Dog Trainer:

You can check out any prospective trainer on The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) website. They not only have a great database of registered trainers. They also have a lot of great resources to help you find the best trainer in your area.  A lot of good trainers will have references that you can check as well. Also, during the class, make sure they do not yell, choke, tug or frighten any of the dogs.  They should withhold treats or praise and ignore the undesirable behavior,  instead of chastising your dog.

Questions to ask:

  • What is your educational background in training and canine behavior?
  • What method(s) of training do you use?
  • Do you engage with continuing education?
  • Are there any special services you provide (competitive, therapy, or service training)?
  • To what (if any) professional organizations do you belong?
  • Do you have any certifications?

Reg Flags to look for:

  • Trainers that don’t use positive reinforcement
  • They use phrases like “dominance” and “pack leader” This is a misconception and the best trainers will know that these theories are no longer relevant.
  • Use of choke collars, shock, are electric fences
  • Not interested in your dog’s history
  • No references
  • Using techniques like alpha rolls, leash jerks or other physical punishment.

It can be hard to decide who to trust, especially when you are leaving your loved one in the care of a new stranger.  If you have any doubts, double check references, stay for class and if you have to, take your dog out as soon as you think something may be amiss.

Looking for a good trainer in Elk Grove? Check out this list of dog trainers in our area, but make sure to ask the right questions and look for any red flags. Also, we’d love to hear if you have any recommendations! Let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite trainer in our area.




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