- Why should you work with a professional dog trainer?
- How do you know if your dog needs a professional trainer?
- What to Know When Searching for the Best Dog or Puppy Trainer Near You
- Advice for Validating the Best Dog Trainers Near You
- What to Discuss with a Professional Dog Trainer
A great dog trainer can make the difference between a calm pup sitting by your side and an overactive, yapping nuisance jumping on the person standing next to you. They can transform your ordinary pet into a life-saving service dog that opens doors and picks up objects for people bound to a wheelchair.
Regardless of getting a puppy or a full-grown dog as either a companion or a working dog, your new friend needs to be trained. The only way a dog can be a well-mannered, well-behaved member of society is through thorough training. You may be able to train a dog on your own, but working with a professional trainer is often the most effective plan.
Working with a professional trainer applies to both basic obedience and advanced skills. Is your dog older and you’re looking to train him in specific, advanced tasks? There are trainers for specific skill sets, such as guide work, wheelchair assistance, nose work (sniffing for drugs, bombs, people, etc.), agility, and showing. Searching for a trainer in a specific skill area is pretty much the same as searching for a basic obedience trainer. Just specify the area in your internet search!
If you’ve never worked with a dog trainer before, beginning to look for one in your area may feel overwhelming. You could simply start with an internet search of “dog trainers near me” or “puppy trainers near me.” While that’s a good place to start, you’re going to end up with close to 100 results in your area. Probably more if you searched a larger area than your local town.
Not sure where to go next? By reading through this guide you’ll be able to narrow down all those search results to find a set of professional dog trainers that fit your lifestyle and training needs. At that point, you’ll be able to use your gut instinct to choose the best dog or puppy trainer in your area.
Why should you work with a professional dog trainer?
First and foremost, both you and your dog would benefit from working with and learning from a professional dog trainer. Once completing the training classes, you will be confident that your dog knows how to behave both at home and in public. You and your dog will benefit from the bonding time together in classes.
If you’re not familiar with dog training methods, you may get frustrated if you try to teach your dog on your own. He may not learn as fast as you would like. Dogs are sensitive creatures who can feel when you’re happy, upset, or worried. So, if you get frustrated during training, your dog will sense this and stop focusing on the task at hand. He will start focusing on your feelings. At that point, continuing with the training is useless.
By working with a professional trainer, he or she will know the best training method to use with your dog so he can learn easily and quickly. You will not get frustrated and your dog will learn to behave sooner.
How do you know if your dog needs a professional trainer?
Overall, it’s best if ALL dogs are trained by a professional trainer. Untrained dogs are disobedient and ill-mannered. They either have to stay home all the time or become an embarrassment if taken into public places.
Untrained dogs can be dangerous, regardless of their breed or size. They could run into traffic, injure a human, frighten a child, or attack another dog. Hiring a professional trainer can greatly reduce the chances of incidents occurring. You’ll be able to take your dog out into public knowing he won’t be the one causing trouble.
Here are a few signs you should seek help from a professional dog trainer:
Aggression towards other dogs, people, or animals
This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s a sign that many dog owners ignore, especially in small breeds. Your dog may also show “food aggression” where they get snippy and aggressive while eating to protect their food. They could injure children or other dogs because of food aggression.
Constantly chasing its tail
This might seem cute once in a while but it is a sign of pent-up energy. If this habit is encouraged, it can become a bad habit. Dogs need to channel their energy in a healthy way.
While a dog will naturally bark on occasion, incessant or unnecessary barking is a poor habit. Unnecessary barking includes barking at a lot of people, other dogs, birds, squirrels, rabbits, or barking to get your attention. Barking during play or to alert of someone visiting your home is usually acceptable to dog owners, but that is up to your discretion. In my experiences, barking is difficult to deter and often requires professional help.
Ignoring your calls or commands
In moments of potential danger, you want your dog to come to you when you call, or sit calmly by your side. An untrained dog isn’t likely to listen to your commands. Trained and obedient dogs are more fun to live and play with because they know how to behave like a proper dog. If your dog doesn’t respond or ignores you when you give commands, your dog needs a professional trainer. They can teach you how to call your dog in a manner that will get it to respond. They can also teach your dog to respond every time.
Jumping on people
While it’s normal for dogs to greet people, a dog who can’t resist putting their paws on a person is rude. It might seem cute to the dog’s owners but visitors might disagree. Jumping can be a rather difficult behavior to deter and often requires a professional’s help. A jumping dog can be especially terrifying for people who are uneasy around dogs and it’s a behavior that should be stopped as soon as it arises.
Pulling on the leash
A little tension, when walking or running your dog on a leash, is fine, but if you have to wrap the leash around your wrist and hold yourself back, your dog is pulling too hard. If you feel like you don’t have control over your dog, he’s pulling too hard. A trainer can teach you how to teach your dog to walk by your side on a leash.
What to Know When Searching for the Best Dog or Puppy Trainer Near You
There are a few things you should do while searching for a dog trainer and preparing for training your dog.
Make sure your dog is healthy
First and foremost, your dog will need up-to-date vaccinations if you are going to a professional dog training facility. Take your dog to the veterinarian and make sure he doesn’t have any illness that could spread to other dogs.
Begin your search at the right time
Training is more effective when the dog begins at a younger age. While you can still “teach an old dog new tricks,” basic commands and proper manners should be instilled at a young age. If you get your dog when he is less than six months old, search for a professional puppy trainer in your area.
Remember: Behavioral issues cannot be fixed in one day
If you’re going to a professional dog trainer because of a behavioral issue, keep in mind that most bad habits cannot be fixed in one hour, one day, and possibly not even one week. If a trainer boasts about fixing behavioral issues in a short amount of time, they probably don’t have the best methods. Behavioral changes take time and the best dog trainers will not cut corners.
Be prepared to do most of the work
Most dog trainers will directly work with your dog for only a limited amount of time. They will mostly help you establish a connection and line of communication with your dog. The trainer teaches you to train your dog. A good, knowledgeable trainer will work with you until you are satisfied with your dog’s behavior and habits, no matter how long it takes.
Advice for Validating the Best Dog Trainers Near You
Here are a few pieces of advice and things to look for when you find a professional dog trainer near you.
Ask to see certifications
Licenses and certifications are the first things a dog trainer will present to you. Look for certifications such as International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT), or International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). A licensed or certified trainer has gone through extensive training to teach dogs and their humans.
Read reviews and recommendations
If you’re having trouble developing an opinion about a trainer, the best thing to do may be to read reviews of the trainer’s classes. Word of mouth is often the best form of advertising. Talk to friends and family who’ve worked with professional dog trainers in your area.
Visit the training facility
If the facility is well-maintained, clean, and welcoming you are most likely in good hands. A training facility that is dirty, disorganized, falling apart, or smelly probably doesn’t employ the best trainers.
Go with your gut
If you have a good feeling about a trainer, you’re probably right. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, don’t sign up for classes with that trainer.
What to Discuss with a Professional Dog Trainer
Even if you don’t know anything about dog training, it’s good for you to know what you’re getting into when signing up for training classes. Ask these questions and you’ll get a good grasp of what classes will entail.
- Which training methods do you teach?
- How long does it typically take to train a puppy/dog?
- How old should my puppy be to take classes?
- What vaccinations does my puppy/dog need to take classes?
- What services do you offer? Behavior modification? Obedience training? Socialization? Therapy?
A good-quality professional dog trainer is always a good idea for having a well-behaved and well-mannered dog. What are your experiences with dog trainers? Feel free to leave a comment! Ask your questions, too. We’re happy to help anywhere we can. Thanks for reading!