Tips for Choosing a Good Dog Trainer

Dog owners are usually eager to meet their dogs’ needs.  They want to provide good food, a comfy place to sleep (sometimes even their own bed), great toys, treats, and to spend quality time with their dogs.  However, sometimes owners don’t realise that dogs also need training.  Dogs that have good training are actually happier dogs than those dogs which are never taught how to behave properly.  A dog wants to know how to please you, and training can deepen the bond that the two of you share.

Training your dog can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never trained a dog before so it’s often a good idea to take a training class or to find a private dog trainer much like our animal behaviourists at Dogs Den!

But, how do you know if you’re dealing with a good trainer?  Here are some tips to help you choose a good dog trainer or if all else fails, give us a call on +44 7921 171 140 for a free consultation.

1.  Look for a dog trainer with good qualifications.  While there are no legal requirements for becoming a dog trainer in the UK, you can look for someone who has a diploma in Canine Psychology, Animal Behaviour or Accreditation for Dog Training and Behaviour.  There is also a British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers. Local authorities can also grant business licenses to obedience trainers.  Anyone conducting classes should have the necessary insurance to cover possible accidents.

Just as important as professional licensing, however, is the trainer’s experience.  Look for someone who has actual experience training dogs.  You want to learn from someone who has a background in caring for dogs and who understands their psychology and behaviour.  It isn’t necessary to choose the oldest dog trainer you can find, but you do want to choose someone who has relevant experience.

Kennel clubs and animal shelters may offer dog training classes by very experienced non-professionals.  You can also learn a great deal in these situations as long as the groups do have the necessary insurance in case of any accidents.  When working with dogs it’s always possible that someone could be bitten.

2.  Choose a dog trainer who is likable and able to listen.  It does no good to choose a dog trainer who is all talk and who never listens to the students. You may have questions and you need to have them answered.  You will learn more from someone you like and respect than from someone you merely tolerate.  The best dog trainers have great communication skills with both people and dogs.

3.  Choose a dog trainer who can give you personal attention. This means that you should look for smaller classes, or even a dog trainer who can make a home visit to work with your dog.  In a large class you and your dog may get lost in the pack.  In order to really make progress you need to receive a good share of personal attention from your trainer. If a class has more than about six to eight students and their dogs, you and your dog probably won’t learn very much.

4.  Choose a dog trainer who believes in positive reinforcement.  Positive reinforcement is a training method which emphasises the good things that your dog does.  It does not punish the dog when he makes a mistake.  For example, if you ask your dog to sit and he lies down, you would ignore the behavior.  Instead, you would get him on his feet again and ask him to sit.  When he sits, you would praise him and give him a treat.  Positive reinforcement works with praise and rewards instead of punishment.  Clicker training is a form of positive reinforcement.  Many people believe that dogs learn better when they are positively motivated.  There are many good dog trainers using positive reinforcement methods so you should not have any trouble finding one who trains in this way.

5.  Choose a dog trainer who is flexible and able to provide a home service.  Some dogs learn better in a home setting.  It’s also possible that you may work odd hours, or you can’t train when your trainer normally holds classes.  Try to find a dog trainer who is flexible and willing to come to your home to teach a private class.  You can expect to pay more for this service but there are many trainers who will be willing to work with you.

If you use these guidelines you should be able to find a great dog trainer who can help you and your dog achieve training success.  Start looking for a dog trainer and there should be some trainers in your area who are suitable.

If you are located in South West London, why not give Dogs Den a call…We hope to hear from you!

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