For the majority of dog owners, choosing the right dog trainer is one of the most important decisions they will have to make regarding their dog. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult decisions to get right. So how do you navigate through this minefield of options and emerge with a truly qualified positive trainer who will work with you and your dog? Here are a few things to keep in mind and consider.
Versatility: A good dog trainer will use techniques and training styles which are compatible with your dog’s temperament. Every dog is different, and some dogs respond better to certain approaches. What works for a Rottweiler won’t necessarily work for a Poodle.
Experience: I know people who have been driving an automobile for 30 years and still can’t parallel park! And dog training is the same way! Don’t measure a dog trainer’s skill by his/her number of years in the profession. Instead, judge a trainer by what he/she has done in the ‘Dog World,’ rather than how long he/she has been doing it.
Cost: When you pay for training, make sure you are paying for results… not for a specified number of hours or sessions. Good dog trainers know that every dog (and owner) is different. Some need more time to learn than others.
Avoid Group Classes: I’ve never seen a dog that is 100% reliable come out of a group class. When professional dog trainers train their own dogs, they never do it in a group setting. It’s always one-on-one. There are just too many distractions for a new dog in a group class.
How Much Should You Expect To Pay For a Good Dog Training Program: Expect to pay up to $2000. A good dog trainer will sometimes have a waiting list of dog owners who want to work with him/her. Your goal should be to work with the best dog trainer you can find, not to haggle over the price. And in virtually all cases that we’ve seen, the dog trainers who are charging bargain basement prices are the ones who you probably don’t want to be working with in the first place. It’s better to spend your money intelligently on a top-notch dog training program in the first place, than to waste your money chasing a bargain, and then have to pay more money for a good dog trainer somewhere down the line.
Ask for a Free Consultation: You don’t need to pay a dog trainer to take a look at your dog. This should be done for free. And besides, you don’t want to pay money to meet a dog trainer, and then have to decide whether you want to work with him/her!
Sending Your Dog Away To Be Trained: The idea of doing this is largely a scam predicated on kenneling the dog so that the dog training company can charge you even more money. For example, as a skilled dog trainer, I can train your dog, and get him responding in a very impressive manner, in about two days. But when I give him back to you, he’s going to say, “I’ve never had to do anything you say before! Why should I start now?” It’s just like driving. I can build you a fantastic sports car, but if you don’t learn how to drive it, it won’t get you from point A to point B. You must find a dog trainer who will teach YOU how to train YOUR DOG!
Getting A Dog Trainer Come To Your Home: This is not a good idea. It’s going to work much better if you learn to train your dog in a neutral territory.
Avoid the big, chain pet store dog training programs: Because in most cases, the dog trainers you’ll encounter have only 2 to 3 months experience, and have been recruited through a newspaper ad. Dog training is both an art and a science. There is no way that you can become a professional dog trainer without apprenticing with several experienced dog trainers, with varied backgrounds, over an acceptable period of time. Stay away from the large pet store dog training programs.