How to Find the Right Pet Trainer for You

Canines must have training and socialization to keep them safe and to know how to behave.
Many people don’t have the time, patience or skill needed to teach their dog what they need to
know. That means relying on a professional trainer.
The goal is to identify a trainer that’s right for you and your dog. You can search the directory of
the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the American Kennel Club maintains a list of
reputable trainers.
Due Diligence
Take your time researching trainers and conduct a thorough investigation. There’s no formal
education or certification needed to call yourself a dog trainer – the industry is unregulated.
Conversely, there are excellent trainers that are self-taught or learned under the tutelage of
another trainer. The methodology the trainer uses will have a lifelong impact on your dog’s life
and yours. You’ll want the canine trained gently and through positive reinforcement – no
strong-arm tactics or negative reinforcement training.
Questions to Ask
Pet parents shouldn’t be reticent about asking tough questions of any potential trainer. Those
questions include:
 The dog training education they’ve had
 Professional certifications they hold
 The training method they use and examples
 What type of training they offer
 Is there a guarantee
 Under what circumstances do you refer a dog to another trainer
Never, ever leave your dog in the care of someone that uses:
 A shock collar, choke collar or pronged collar
 Physical correction including hitting, punching, pinching, yelling, kneeing or yanking on
the collar
 Anyone that uses the methodology of “pack leader” or needing to learn who is
 A philosophy of “calm submission”
 Forcing dogs to “face their fears”
Gentle Touch
A dog is a living, feeling being that deserves to be treated gently and with compassion. The
quality and method of training will be a defining factor in if you have a loving relationship with
your dog or one based on fear.


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