How to choose a Dog Trainer



Author: Bella (proHOUND Co-Founder)

There is so much conflicting information on the internet about dog training in itself, let alone what makes a good dog training professional.
It can be so confusing, and the element of bias projected by the individual professional hoping you’ll hire them doesn’t help either!

 

So let’s first explore what makes a GOOD dog trainer:

  • They certainly have a dog of their own, and this dog is AT LEAST an excellent stooge but preferably also excels in some kind of (breed-specific) sport or profession.
    Why?
    It shows they have taken the time to study and practise this sport or profession, and that they have expert knowledge in a field. Let’s not forget that ALL sports and professions in the canine world have pet dog training foundations anyway.
    e.g. my Labrador Ava is a professional drug detection dog as well as a stooge

 

  • They aren’t in it for the money.
    A reputable dog trainer cares more about improving your dog and therefore improving the dog world than they do about putting money in their back pocket. That’s not to say they will provide freebies all the time because they need to make a living after all, but a reputable trainer will not try to push unnecessary sessions and you will not feel like you are on the receiving end of an advertising campaign.

 

  • They know how to train a dog ethically and effectively.
    This sounds obvious but you sadly do not need to actually know how to train a dog correctly to be a good dog trainer!
    Avoid trainers who dismiss tools (or who spread scary propaganda about tools) without knowing how to use them.
    You should also avoid trainers who use tools at the drop of a hat without identifying the root cause of the problem or teaching you how to use them.
    Neither ‘force-free’ training or compulsion/aversive-only training are ethical ways of training a dog.

 

  • The trainer will tailor their methodologies to suit YOUR dog and its history
    A reputable trainer knows there is no ‘one size fits all’ method. They will also explain WHY they feel your dog would benefit from whatever solution they choose, making sure you understand every step of the way!

 

  • A reputable trainer is a good teacher with excellent people skills
    Let’s not forget they are actually teaching you how to train your dog! There’s no such thing as handing your dog to a reputable trainer so they can wave a magic wand and give the dog back. Any trainer who claims this is the case should be avoided. Even board & train services involve a handover and plenty of homework.

 

  • A good trainer will, in this day and age, have an excellent website and/or social media with details about their services and LOTS of footage.
    It will not be hard to learn about their methodologies: ideally they will regularly share informative posts.

 

  • The nation’s finest trainers are all displayed on our Recommended Service Provider hub, following a rigorous vetting process.

 

Here are some more tips:

 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask other trainers what they think of the trainer you are considering. I am always available to chat!
  • Ask for references
  • Bear in mind a good trainer will probably have a waiting list
  • Most dog training courses are nonsense; don’t be worried if they don’t have many qualifications, and don’t be impressed more by online courses than evidence of their practical experience
  • A reputable dog trainer is ALWAYS learning; if the trainer says they know everything, run away! Your trainer should be actively expanding their knowledge in their free time.

 

You can access our list of Recommended Service Providers for free within myHOUND. They are categorised by geographical location and type of service e.g. walker, trainer, groomer along with a small list of things each individual RSP offers e.g. board & train, pack walks, gun dog training etc.

 

Also, if you’ve had a good experience with a service provider who fits into one of the types of service above, let me know! Perhaps they could become an RSP 💙

 




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