Are you the proud owner of a new puppy or dog? Is so, remember one thing:
One of the best investments you will ever make is taking an obedience course with your pet.
By taking the time early in his life to teach your dog skills and proper conduct, you set him on a course for success. His confidence, self-esteem, respect, and responsiveness will improve. But more importantly, the bond between you and your pet will increase dramatically.
But in order for this to happen, there’s one key: The right trainer.
Here are twelve tips for you to find and select the perfect trainer for you and your pet.
- Ask your veterinarian for a referral. They deal with animals all day, every day. If anyone has a chance of knowing a quality dog trainer, odds are it’s your local vet.
- Read reviews online to find a highly rated dog trainer. One benefit we have today is easy access to information. People are always sharing their opinions, and you’ll see as you research, that the businesses (specifically dog trainers in this case) that provide the best service will rise to the top.
- Observe a training session at multiple trainers before deciding. Find the top three trainers/training facilities, and give them a call to see if you can observe one of their sessions. Most will be more than happy to let you sit in.
- Pay attention to the cleanliness of the trainer’s facilities. This isn’t always a surefire way to filter out a bad trainer, but generally, if you can see their facility is organized, chances are they run a well-organized training program as well.
- Pay attention to other owners and dogs during your visits. If everyone seems to be happy and enjoying themselves, that’s a good sign!
- Make sure classes are not overcrowded. Watch to see that each dog has ample space during training. You don’t want your dog crammed in with 20 other dogs causing him frustration and anxiety.
- Make sure the trainer has control of her class at all times. Sit back and watch to see if the trainer maintains control throughout the entire class, and see if she moves the class along well without major distractions. And pay attention to see that the trainer ends the class on time.
- Ensure positive reinforcement is used in training. You don’t ever want to put your dog in a situation where a trainer is using negative training tactics such as hitting, kicking, choking, yanking, and yelling. Pay attention to how calm the trainer stays with dogs that bark, whine, and growl. You want someone that has lots of patience.
- Listen to see that the training instructions are clear and understandable. If you have a hard time understanding the trainer, perhaps your dog will as well.
- Ask for time to speak with the trainer after class. This is a good test to see if the trainer is willing to spend extra time to answer questions and concerns. Also pay attention to see if she is taking the time to individually speak with others after the class as well to address issues that may need extra attention to work though.
- Check your trainer’s background. Take the time to find out their philosophies on dog training. Ask them what kinds of certifications they have, and if they’ve taken any recent continuing education courses recently.
- Go with your gut. It really comes down to finding and selecting the trainer that you feel most comfortable with and who’s abilities you trust.