How to choose a dog trainer

Make no mistake. The key to a better dog is in the training. the key to better training is in the instructor.  However, there are a few things needed from you; Patients, Time, Consistency, and knowledge. A generic Dog Trainer, although they might be knowledgeable about dogs. If they cannot convey that knowledge onto you, and demonstrate their techniques in a way that makes you comfortable. Does not make them effective.

Have you ever walked your dog whether through your neighborhood or a park? Your answer should be “Yes”. Have you ever experienced losing your patients, as a result of your dogs problematic behaviors? Those feelings should be absent in all your training sessions. Questions are acceptable, but frustration is not.  The key to a good dog training instructor, is not in the handling but in the communication.  I mean who wants to waste their time, and money to get frustrated. Is that know the reason for contacting the professional originally.

In your journeys you will encounter many different dog training professionals, and terms. But keep in mind all techniques are not the same. Do not be afraid to ask them for a Consultation or Interview. To express their techniques, and trade experiences with you. This is also a time for you to ask any questions you may have about their services, and what they recommend. There will always be a professional that has ample abilities to communicate with, you and your pet and have them all focused to listen. Basic Obedience commands can be learned and of course be responded to if the proper training and communication has been established.


Here are some services you might encounter, and their basic definitions.

Obedience Training, is the most recognizable it generally consists of but is not limited to Sit, Down, Stay, Come. You will also find this in a variety of levels. Puppy Kindergarten, Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced.

  • A puppy kindergarten is always the best place to start, but they are usually geared towards dogs under 6 months of age. Its okay if your dog is over 6 months, as you can still make up some lost time with starting training, but you will just have to work a little bit harder. If a Dog Trainer does not work with your dog under the age of 6 months. That is a red flag. It is a proven fact that that dogs can begin learning at just a few months of age. Their attention spans are less than that of an older dog, so you may want to limit the time, of sessions to 15-20 minutes, multiple times daily. Intermediate and Advanced Obedience Training curriculum is designed more for dogs enrolled in competition Obedience, and can be compared to Rally Obedience, and more.

A good graduating point for your dog, is not only to complete an obedience program, but to fully comprehend the importance of your leadership role with them, and giving you a great foundation for implementing your lifestyle with the dog. To encourage you cohabitants.


When you are ready it is highly encouraged to bring your dog through a Canine Good Citizen © program near you. Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, Canine Good Citizen is the only national certification for your dog. Rewarding their efforts, for manners, and communication, within their community. Making your pet an icon rather than an eyesore.  Be sure to inquire about your dog trainers other qualifications. Some Canine Good Citizen evaluators are not qualified trainers. (Charging for your Canine Good Citizen Evaluation is strictly prohibited.)


Having a dog that is completely Obedience Trained, does not mean that they won’t learn, or express some unwanted and problematic behaviors. All dog trainers will have their take on training-out problematic behaviors, such as but not limited to. House Soiling, Bolting through Door, Leash Pulling, Excess Barking, Digging, and Chewing. Most of these behaviors are directly linked to boredom, so introducing some new command paired with structured exercise, you should be okay.  


However, severe Behavior Modifications such as those for Anxieties, Compulsive Disorders, Aggressions, and Phobias. Can be very time consuming and dangerous. These behavior will require the expertise of a well qualified professional. Sometimes even a veterinarian. If your Dog Trainer does not recommend a thorough veterinary blood workup to rule out any medical conditions before recommending treatment, is another red flag to you. As not all behavior modifications are animal controlled they can be linked to problems, with thyroid, kidney, and liver malfunction. Even Lyme’s disease can contribute to aggressive responses.


As the animal owner you are entitled to your opinion, in searching for your dogs educator. Just understand that using harsh, or physical responses, when dealing with dog behavior, can result in serious injury to you (the handler) or the dog. You should try to avoid trainers that use punitive measures to trainers, such as Electric or Citronella Collars.Pinch, Prong or Choke (Correction) Collars. These measures have been outlawed in many countries, and locations nationwide.


Remember praising your dog is easy to do, in fact most dog owners don’t realize how often, the do it every day. Next time you remember, Count how many times you have played, pet, treated, spoke, or looked at your dog in one day. You just praised them, giving them satisfaction of acknowledging their existence. Remember all dogs are different, and all training is different, so be patient, consistent, and understand that sometime the key to a well behaved dog is in the time you are willing to work with them.



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