Choosing a dog trainer

Back to school… for the dog, too!

Is your dog already trained? Or have you simply not found the right puppy classes or a suitable trainer? The main thing about choosing a dog “school” is to compare them. This applies not only where the price per session is concerned – there is a whole host of different training methods and it’s of the utmost importance that you get right behind the way you want to go. So don’t just go with the first trainer or club you come across, look at several. But listen to your instincts, if you have the distinct impression that your dog is in good hands then you should integrate regular training into your weekly schedule.

One thing you should know

There are many routes to becoming a dog trainer. There isn’t an “apprenticeship” as such and the occupation isn’t professionally “protected”. It’s more important that you ask what qualification the trainer of your choice has and what principles he or she works to. Many training providers offer newly interested parties an in-depth introductory discussion. During this, they explain their methods and the basics of obedience training. Most of them also offer a free trial lesson. You should accept both those offers: you get a first impression as to whether your dog is in good hands and whether the sessions are right for you. And on top of that, the trainer can get an idea of your pet and maybe even point out where there’s still an “issue” and what kind of temperament your little one displays.

Trust your instincts

If the trainer wants to prescribe a choke-chain or pinch-collar then it’s better you make a fast escape. If he works with positive back-up (praise, treat, toy), via contact or even with a lot of body language then that’s already sounding favourable – and that only leaves you to test whether the method suits your dog.

Schools

Reputable schools will require a vaccination certificate from newcomers. The groups are not too big, maximum ten dogs per trainer, and the puppy lessons are not some wild free-for-all but are run under the supervision of the trainers and dog owners. It’s very important that your dog gets some positive experience of his own kind particularly at the puppy stage. That’s why it might be worthwhile taking a little longer in selecting a dog school!

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