How to Find the Right Pet Trainer for You

A dog trainer that’s highly publicized doesn’t necessarily mean he/she is the right trainer for you and your dog. Personalities may clash and the trainer’s methods may be based on aversion training rather than positive reinforcement. The trainer must fit you and your canine’s personality, along with any individual needs.

A Word of Warning

The dog training industry is unregulated. Anyone can claim to be a professional trainer – regardless of experience, education or background. Florida has no mandatory training, certification or apprenticeship that must be completed.

Determine Your Needs

There are trainers that specialize in basic commands and behavior modification to service dogs. All trainers don’t offer the same services. Group training has the added advantage of helping to socialize a dog, while one-on-one training is best for easily distracted or anxious canines. It’s not a good idea to mix adult dogs and puppies in the same class.

Shop Around

Talk to friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors about who they worked with, their dog’s reactions, and the overall training experience. The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests exploring the directory of Certification for Professional Dog Trainers, The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, or the AKC’s list of approved trainers. Whatever you do, don’t stint on your research. The trainer and methods they use will have a profound and lasting impact on your dog’s life and mental health.

Question Everything

Before entrusting your precious pet – and your money – to a trainer, it’s imperative you ask questions about their methods, training philosophy, and any credentials they may hold.

Positive reinforcement training, based on rewarding the dog for the desired behavior, and teaching alternative behaviors is optimal. This approach to training is based on the science of animal learning. The method has also been shown to teach the dog a love of learning and to strengthen the bond between people and their canines.

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