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June 24, 2021
Having a dog is one of the best things in life, but sometimes it can get a little nutty. Like when Fido digs up your neighbor’s garden or christens your new couch — not so fun. But, moments like these show just how essential basic training commands are when it comes to being a pup parent. Plus, training your dog can be a fantastic way to bond with your furry friend and teach him some fun tricks. Still, if you’d prefer to hand the reins over to a professional dog trainer, there are a few things to keep in mind.
You can go about finding a trainer a few different ways, but an easy and suitable starting point is asking people you trust for recommendations. Ask friends and family members with dogs if they know of any local trainers; your vet is another excellent source. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can do an online search on sites like the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the trainer directory on the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, or Bark.com to start generating a list of possibilities.
Once you have your list of potentials, it’s time to start narrowing down your options so you can make the best decision. Consider essential factors first, like each trainer’s experience and skill level, how they interact with the dogs they train, and what training techniques they use. You’ll also need to consider logistics, like where the training will occur, schedule availability, and cost.
Of course, the best way to get the answers you need is to ask questions. It’s a good idea to write out a list of important questions that you can ask each candidate. Make sure to ask each trainer the same exact questions so you can conduct an equal assessment of your options.
Take careful notes of the answers so you can start determining which trainers will make your shortlist and which ones you’ll scratch. Keep in mind, while you undoubtedly want to hire the absolute best trainer, don’t interview people you know you can’t use.
For example, if a trainer charges $100 a session, and there’s no way you can afford it, don’t put them on the list. If you do, you’re ultimately wasting their time and yours. Otherwise, here are some questions you should definitely ask potential dog trainers.
Hopefully, you can narrow your list down to your top three using the answers to these questions. Then, you can make your final decision based on a mixture of reviews and your gut feeling. Check out online reviews, talk to other clients, and see if you can get a sneak peek of the trainer in action working with another dog.
If you’re able, scope out how other dogs that the trainer has worked with behave. Finally, trust your gut. No matter how wonderful a trainer seems, if you don’t get a good feeling about them, walk away and move on to the next name on your list.
In many cases, as previously mentioned, you’ll work alongside a trainer with your dog to learn the proper commands, hand signals, and verbal cues. However, some people find the idea of sending their dog away for training very appealing. Unarguably, the idea of shipping your pup to a doggy boot camp and getting a well-behaved, impeccably trained dog when they return does sound pretty attractive. But is it the best option for your pooch?
Board-and-train programs might be good if your pup only needs a few tweaks and perhaps just goes away for the weekend. These programs could be a good fit for some dogs, especially if your dog does well in group training sessions. But, if your pup has specific issues, like aggression or separation anxiety, they might fare better with one-on-one work.
Ultimately, it’s different for every dog, but it’s best not to rely on any program for some miracle training pill. First, in some cases, your dog might be away from you for months, and you’ll miss out on the bond that forms when you train your dog.
At least working alongside a trainer, you still get to develop that relationship. Sure, sending your pup to boot camp could be easier on you at the moment, but it doesn’t offer a lifetime fix. Plus, they can get pretty expensive, up to $1,000 or more for two-week periods.
When you work with your dog at home, here are a few tips to help you and your pup get the most from your training sessions:
No matter who you end up hiring to work with your dog, remember, practice makes perfect. Therefore, plan to do some homework with your pup and ensure you master the techniques too. It’s essential for you to deliver the proper commands and cues so they’re consistent with what your dog has learned in training. For more helpful tips, check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find all sorts of valuable insights to develop your pet parenting skills
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