Choosing the best dog trainer is not always an easy task. You need to find someone who meshes well with both yourself and your dog. If you don’t, then your dog won’t listen, and you’ll end up having to find a new trainer. Thankfully, picking a trainer is a little easier, once you know these seven important things.
1) How Much They Charge
The number one thing on this list is fairly obvious. You need to know how much the trainer charges so that you know whether or not you can afford their services. Not all trainers charge low rates, and some even will adjust their prices based on your income.
Of course, you won’t know any of this before you ask, so inquire about a standard price sheet. You should be charged per hour, and make sure to ask about how many hours per week are required in order to get your dog properly trained.
2) What Types of Dogs That They’ve Worked With
This is another important question. The last thing that you want is to hire a trainer who works solely with dogs that have been abused and have trust issues when your pooch is a well-behaved puppy. The trainer who takes on the difficult cases may not know exactly what to do in order to make your dog behave – or will think that the job is so easy that your dog ends up getting trained properly.
Instead, find a trainer who is a good match for your dog as far as history and temperament are concerned.
3) What Their Credentials Are
What are your potential trainer’s credentials? While there are no college degrees for dog training, there are some certificate courses. Even then, experience counts for a lot (and we’ll get into that next) so don’t be surprised if you find a well-regarded trainer with nothing but experience behind them. With that said, a good trainer should have some sort of official training, even if it was just alongside another well-regarded person in the field.
Basically, use your own judgment here in order to find a trainer who you think will be able to help you and your pooch.
4) How Many experiences Do They Have?
Speaking of experience, you obviously want a trainer with a good track record of well-trained dogs. These trainers will be able to prove to you that they know exactly what they’re doing. Look for one with experience working for a dog training program (several years are good), as well as someone who truly seems to love their job.
Many dog trainers picked this line of work for a reason, and have done nothing but train dogs for a long period of time. You want someone like that to take the reins and help you train your pooch.
5) What Their Training Methods Are
How does the trainer work with the dogs? Do they use small bits of treats as rewards? Do they (and this is a red flag) hit the dog when it doesn’t behave or listen? Rewards and punishments aside, there are numerous training methods out there. Take the time to speak with the trainer about them in order to ensure that you are in agreement there.
The trainer might even recommend a few books for you to read so that you understand their training methods a bit better. This will help you get on the same page.
6) Can You Talk to Their Former Clients?
Next, ask the trainer if you can speak to a few of their previous clients. Every trainer should have a list of people who can prove their prowess. On top of this, ask if you can speak the trainer’s previous or current boss, particularly if they have worked (or still work) for a larger trainer facility.
For example, they may teach private client’s certain days of the week, and then run group sessions during the other days. If this is the case, then they should have plenty of people who can vouch for their experience and success rates.
7) What Do They Consider A Success?
Make sure to ask the trainer about their successes. At what point are they done with the job? Do they stop when your dog knows a few basic training commands and can basically behave itself? Or do they continue on to the point where your dog can heel without a leash and stays next to you at all times? There might also be varying degrees of success, based on the individual dog.
Not everyone will be able to do the same things as the others, so it shouldn’t be treated in the same way. You need to go over this with the potential trainer before making a decision.