Working with a professional dog trainer is highly recommended. A good trainer will help you to better understand your dog and will get your dog to follow your cues in a positive and humane way. There are many dog trainers available in most areas and hence it is important to choose the trainer that fits your needs. In general, avoid compulsive and punishment-based training. The following tips will help you in your decision:
- Request for recommendations from fellow dog owners and veterinarians.
- Make sure the trainer uses positive reinforcement methods and if possible, clicker training.
- Ask the trainer where he/she learned how to be a dog trainer and ask to see his/her certification.
- Ask the trainer about the equipment he/she uses in training. in general, if the trainer uses choke chains or pinch collars – it is compulsive, punishment-based training. If the trainer uses clickers, target sticks, toys, and treats – it is positive reinforcement training.
- Avoid trainers that “guarantee” that your dog will be trained in a certain amount of time. Training animals (and humans) cannot be guaranteed. An honest trainer will give you an approximation of the time needed after he/she takes an in-depth behavior history and see the dog – but they will not guarantee success.
- Ask the trainer to watch a training session. An honest trainer will more than welcome you to his/her lessons. Avoid trainers that won’t let you observe a training session.
- If, while observing a lesson, you notice punishment, yelling, harsh corrections, or anything else that simply does not sit right with you – look for another trainer.
- Finally, use your common sense. Continue the training as long as you and your dog are having fun and learning new things. if the dog is frightened of the training or simply dislikes it – avoid it.