Whether you’re a new dog owner, or have had your furry friend for years, getting your dog trained is a responsible step toward ensuring not just their health and safety, but the safety of everyone they interact with.
But the idea of training a dog on your own can feel daunting. And while many people prefer to handle the basics like “sit” and “stay” themselves, more difficult obedience training, as well as specialized training, might be better handled by a professional dog trainer.
If you are just beginning your search for a trainer, here are some questions to ask yourself to ensure you find the best fit for you and your pup:
Why am I getting a trainer?
Maybe your old furry friend has begun exhibiting negative behaviors that you want to address. Or perhaps you have a new puppy and you want to start their obedience training out on the right paw. Is there a phobia you want to help your pet overcome? Or would like your dog to receive specialized training for services such as law enforcement or therapy? Identifying your dog’s needs is the first step to narrowing down your search.
What certifications are important to me?
Dog training is an unregulated business, but trainers can receive certifications. Membership in an official dog training organization is a good start.
What methods will my trainer use?
Some trainers use positive reinforcement. Some use choke chains. Do your research, figure out what you’re ok with, and don’t settle for anything else.
Has this dog trainer had success in the past?
Find a trainer who has had success with past clients. Bonus points if they have trained a dog of your breed before. If they have a website, look for reviews and testimonials, or ask the trainer if you can speak with some of their past clients. Your vet might also be a good source for recommendations.
How much will it cost?
Compare the prices of trainers in your area. Depending on the type of classes you want, training can range anywhere from $30 to $1,000+.
Doing your research on a potential dog trainer can save you hopping from trainer to trainer, and will help ensure you get what you want out of the experience, while doing what’s best for your pup.