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Finding the Right Obedience Trainer

The trainer you choose to help you and your dog can make or break Fido’s future.The right dog trainer can help to minimize or eliminate most behavioral issues by understanding the root of the situation and then giving Fido clear motivation to want to be a ‘good dog’. To achieve this result, it’s important to find an experienced trainer who uses only positive reinforcement techniques. Find out if the trainer you’re considering is a member of any educational organizations such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and whether he/she pursues ongoing education in his/her field. Beware of trainers who still use outdated harsh methods; not only can this kind of training ruin your relationship with your dog, it can also cause Fido emotional trauma and make the underlying behavioral issue worse.

Training should be fun for your dog; in a well-run training session, dogs and people should be enjoying themselves equally and learning at the same time. Avoid any trainer who uses negative reinforcement such as yelling, hitting, kicking, shocking or jerking the leash; isolation is a similarly unacceptable form of negative reinforcement. You have the right to stop any trainer who, in your opinion, is causing your dog undue harm or distress. Using food as a positive reward is the most respected and effective form of training; beware of any trainer who forbids food in training.

Things To Avoid:

  • Guarantees - Qualified behaviorists and trainers will do their best but cannot ever guarantee outcomes, because animals have minds of their own and can never be completely controlled by humans. A guarantee implies that your dog will be ‘broken’ (in other words that his own will is destroyed), and is a likely hint that harsh and inhumane training methods will be used on Fido until he breaks and no longer has any will to resist.
  • Misrepresentation of qualifications - Qualified animal behaviorists and trainers are academically trained in this field. Always ask to see proof of education before allowing anyone to train or handle your pet.

Search For a Trainer in Your Area from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers: