Welcoming a new dog into your family is a special moment, whether you’re bringing home a dog for the first time or expanding your pack. And while everyone who has ever had a dog will tell you that you need to start training right away, no one’s perfect. Those first few days are shiny and new, often full of “Let’s play! Let’s snuggle! What rules??”
Once the fluff has settled, so to speak, “cute” things like leaping up on new guests aren’t so cute anymore. So, that training thing starts to sound like a good idea. And it is. Training your dog properly will help him live a full, enriched life and strengthen the bond you share.
Here are a few tips to consider when looking for a dog trainer.
What do you want to learn?
Does your pup need to master the basics of obedience training, or are there more serious issues to tackle? Be honest when speaking to your potential trainer about your pet’s needs, especially if there are other behavioral issues that need addressing.
What type of learning environment are you looking for?
The three most common training programs are: group classes, board and train, and private one-on-one sessions.
What is the training method and philosophy?
This is important. Do your homework to ensure that your potential trainer uses positive, dog-friendly techniques. There is absolutely no need to impose hurtful methods like hitting, yanking a dog’s collar or leash so hard they come off the ground, or other methods that cause harm.
Observe a class or session before enrolling.
A reputable, ethical trainer will understand your request to observe prior to enrolling, and may even suggest it before you ask. Transparency is good sign, and you might have an opportunity to get feedback from the students while you are there.
Ask for references.
Online reviews are helpful, but ask your potential trainer for references from past and current clients. And, if you’re able, contact them. Don’t let it make you uncomfortable—dog parents who have given a trainer a positive reference will be more than happy to talk to you about their experience.