7 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Dog Trainer

The newest member of your family is super cute but needs to be trained. Here’s everything you need to know before hiring a dog trainer.

Whether your new dog barks at the mailman or isn’t potty trained yet, a little misbehavior is normal—at first. As time goes on, however, you’ll likely want to train your dog to behave, regardless of the situation. A well-trained dog will know how to act around strangers in any environment, which can make your life a little easier as a result.

There are about 14,340 dog trainers in the country. How do you choose the right dog training for your dog, though?

Here are seven things you need to know before hiring a dog trainer.

With this guide, you’ll have the peace of mind you’re making the right choice for your dog and yourself. Find a personal dog trainer with these seven tips!

1. Determine Their Education & Experience

When trying to select a dog trainer, the first step is to determine their education. For example, have they completed a professional dog training program before? There are many high-quality programs available for dog trainers today.

If they completed an online course, make sure to ask if they had a hands-on externship as well. Training alongside a local affiliate trainer of the program can provide them with valuable in-person education. Perhaps the dog trainer attended an in-person training retreat or submitted a video for their training review instead.

Dog training is a hands-on skill. As a result, it’s important you choose a trainer who has more than simple “book smarts.” Instead, you want to choose a trainer who has received an evaluation of their skillset.

However, you don’t necessarily need to exclude someone who hasn’t completed a formal dog training program.

Many dog trainers learn through self-education or hands-on experience with other trainers. Some of these trainers are working toward a certification or to become a member of a professional organization.

2. Check for Professional Certifications or Memberships

If a dog trainer does have certification, it indicates they’ve invested time and money to prove they have the necessary skills for the job. There are numerous dog training certifications available, such as:

Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed
Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge & Skills Assessed
Certified Behavior Consultant Canine – Knowledge Assessed
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

Check to see if the dog trainer has a membership to a professional organization as well. If they do, it indicates they hold themselves to a higher standard than required by law for legal dog trainers.

Memberships provide dog trainers with additional educational opportunities. These can include journals, conferences, and online forums. Some organizations also require members to follow humane, science-based methods for training.

These organizations can include:

Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Association of Professional Dog Trainers
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

Finding a dog trainer with a professional certification or membership is a great start to your search. However, this doesn’t guarantee the trainer doesn’t rely on aversive training or outdated philosophies.

3. Consider the Training Methods They Use

There are approximately 76,811,305 dogs in the United States. Unfortunately, not every dog receives proper training. When looking for a dog trainer, make sure to consider the training philosophy they follow and the methods they use.

First, your trainer shouldn’t put your dog in a situation that could cause bad behavior. Instead, they should focus on how your dog should behave to replace that unwanted behavior.

A dog trainer should show your dog how to behave and stop unwanted behaviors from occurring again.

Dogs often misbehave because they’re trying to get something they want.

For example, some dogs jump on people because they want attention. A dog trainer can teach your dog to greet people with all four paws on the form instead. To accomplish this, a dog trainer might stop giving your dog attention when they jump.

Positive reinforcement and force-free training will reward your dog’s good behaviors and prevent bad behaviors from reoccurring.

4. Do They Have a Guarantee?

A professional dog trainer shouldn’t offer a guarantee that they can change your dog’s behavior. Dogs are animals, not machines. They behave based on their own experiences and motivations.

A dog trainer can’t guarantee their training program will work.

In some cases, a trainer will only end up temporarily fixing a dog’s unwanted behavior by suppressing it. These trainers often fail to address and treat the behavior instead.

If a trainer guarantees they have a fix, consider someone else.

Searching for dog training in Sacramento? Visit this website for a trusted trainer.

5. What Types of Cases Do They Refer Out?

Not every dog trainer is capable of handling every case. In some instances, a trainer might instead refer a case to someone with a higher level of experience.

In these cases, one trainer might shadow another to learn how to approach these instances in the future.

A trainer might also refer you to someone who specializes in your dog’s specific needs instead. This is a good sign that the trainer understands their own limitations and wants to provide you and your dog with the best service possible.

6. Do They Make Learning Fun?

Take the time to observe the dog trainer in action. Ask if you can watch a group training class. This will give you a better idea about their abilities and training style.

Dog training isn’t only for dogs, but their owners as well.

Do you feel like the dog trainer provided easy-to-understand explanations? Did they make the training enjoyable for the dogs and owners?

The more fun you both have, the easier and faster you and your dog will learn.

7. Ask for Referrals

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, as the dog trainer if you can speak with their previous clients. Positive word of mouth will give you peace of mind. That way, you’ll know you’re making the best possible choice for you and your dog.

Bow Wow! 7 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Dog Trainer

Before hiring a dog trainer, you want to make sure they’re the right fit for you and your dog. With these seven tips, you can find that perfect fit and start training!

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