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What To Look For In a Good Dog Trainer

Almost everyone can own a dog but not everyone can train a dog. There are many dog trainers to choose from throughout Central Ohio, and like any profession, there are some good trainers and some not so good trainers.

Choosing a good dog trainer and a good vet are probably the most important decisions you will have to make regarding your dog. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the hardest.

So, I almost lose my mind when I get an e-mail asking me to send a quote with a request to not call the prospective client.  I just shake my head.  Is that individual really going to hire a trainer based on an e-mailed quote????

Here are some things to consider, and DISCUSS.

First, your expectations of a dog trainer need to be realistic. Do you have a puppy? Chances are you are not going to be able to overcome some of the behaviors until the dog has grown up a little.  For example, I tell clients a pup doesn’t reliably come when called until six months of age.  Expecting it to be reliable before six months is like asking a second-grader to do algebra.  Some can but generally it’s unrealistic.

Second, remember that no dog trainer can “fix” dogs. Dog trainers train owners to identify the problems they are having with their dog so the root of the problem can be discovered. For instance, does your dog bark because he is bored, afraid, or aggressive? The solutions will make a difference once the behavior is clearly identified. A dog trainer gives you the skills to change your relationship with your dog … you will be trained and changed as much as your dog.

The third thing to think about is your budget, which is clearly a personal choice.  I have clients say “Is that all?  I expected more”.  And I have clients say “I can’t possibly afford that”.  It‘s important to have your budget in mind before you call the trainer.

Ask The Dog Trainer:

  • What method of training do you use? Is it based on positive reinforcement (praise), negative reinforcement (shock and prong collars) or treat training?
  • How long do the training sessions last?
  • How many years of experience do you have and what courses have you taken to be a dog trainer?
  • How many visits are included?
  • Where does the training take place?
  • What members of the household should be involved in the training?
  • Do I need to buy equipment from the trainer?
  • Is there a different price to train multiple dogs? Do all the dogs in the household have to be trained?

Ask Yourself:

  • What is your dog’s major issue that you want to address? Ask yourself: is it basic obedience like “sit”, “come” and “stay” or is it more advanced training like stopping your dog’s aggression.
  • How much time each day do you have to reinforce the dog training methods you have been shown?

Hiring a trainer is a big decision.  Base it on your “fit” with the trainer, not the price.