Dog Training benefits everybody. Your dog benefits when he knows the rules of the house. If the rules are clearly laid out then he won’t be constantly reprimanded, or worse.
Your friends and neighbours benefit when they don’t have to worry about an unruly, ill -mannered dog causing injury to them or their property.
You benefit with the bond you create with your dog through training. There is great satisfaction in knowing that you can completely trust your dog in all situations.
Dog Training Can Save Your Dogs Life
A well trained dog is a safe dog. If your dog has a reliable recall, then he will be much safer in the event that he gets loose. A dog who knows “heel” will be safer if he slips lead or breaks his collar on a walk. A dog who knows “Leave it” will be safer if he happens upon a delicious, yet deadly treat (think anti-freeze).
80% of dogs in shelters have had no formal training. People gave up before they even tried. The lucky dogs will be adopted out to new homes, but without formal training many will end up right back in shelters. 60% of the dogs placed in a shelter will die there. Every 6 minutes in the United States a dog or cat is euthanized in a shelter. This is tragic and unnecessary. Don’t let your dog become a statistic. Training could save your dog’s life.
What to Look for in a Trainer
There are no special licenses that people need to get to call themselves a trainer. Any idiot can (and will) charge you money to train your dog and legally they are within their rights. Caveat Emptor. It is up to you to do your research to ensure that you and your dog are in good hands. Look at the education of the trainer, formal training is a huge plus. They also need to be willing to train you.
When you are experienced with dogs then training dogs is easy. Theoretically, I could take your dog for a few months, train him and make him well behaved dog. A dog, who at the end of the day will listen to me because he has no reason to listen to you. In my opinion, that’s a waste of your money. A dog is only going to respond to whoever trains him, it is in your best interest to be the one your dog listens to. Because you will be the one undergoing the training, you will have the knowledge to handle unexpected problems in the future and even know how to train new dogs that you may get.
Look for a trainer that understands dogs but also knows how to communicate that information to you. This is very tricky since many people who are “natural” with animals sometimes have trouble translating that to humans. Make sure that the trainer has the people skills necessary to train you, but also ask as many questions as you can. In fact, question everything. If a trainer can’t back up what he says then he’s got no business charging you to say it in the first place.
Your trainer should also have at least a cursory understanding of common health problems. Some behaviour issues stem from underlying health problems. For example, some aggression issues are caused by hypothyroidism, blindness, deafness, head trauma or other health problems. Some potty training problems can be caused by a bladder infection. If that’s the case, then all the dog training in the world is not going to help you. A good trainer understands that.
A trainer should also have some knowledge of breed characteristics. Natural tendencies in dogs need to be redirected to a positive outlet rather than a destructive one.
Watch the trainer. See if your potential trainer will let you sit in a group class or tag-a-long on calls. A trainer should have nothing to hide.
Does the trainer have a good relationship with the people or the dogs? Is the dog happy to see him or scared? Fearful dogs are not always indicative of a bad owner, so look at how the trainer and owner are handling said fear, if it is an issue.
Are the clients enjoying themselves, asking questions and do they look comfortable?
Look at the training tools. Are shock collars, chokers or prong collars being used? This may indicate a lack of formal training on the part of the trainer. Are these methods that you want used on your dog?
Find out about the trainers background. Is the trainer experienced and educated? Has she trained aggressive dogs, shy dogs, excitable dogs, rare breeds, puppies or older dogs? Your dog deserves the very best trainer you can find, it’s up to you to do the proper leg work.
Let your conscience be your guide. If you don’t trust the trainer, or don’t feel right about him or his methods, then maybe he isn’t right for you.