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Are you looking for a dog trainer? Here are some important things to consider along the way.

Dog training is truly an art form. It takes time to develop the sense and ability to increase or change a dog’s behavior.

As someone whose point of view has been from within the world of dog training for almost 18 years, I believe that the best training services are those that focus on the individual dog owner. Your job as a leader, partner, and protector is to make the best decision possible. Narrow down your options when it comes to choosing who helps you. Make a short list. Treat them like you’re the casting director for your new big-budget movie. It’s that important.

Start by asking questions about the method. Many dog ​​training hobbyists, as well as large corporate entities, promote a particular genre of dog training. Your knowledge pool may be limited to a single way of doing things or, in the case of larger companies, the design of a standard program limits corporate risk and facilitates the dissemination of information to many staff trainers.

I’ve never met a dog trainer who doesn’t like hearing the sound of his own voice, so let him talk and listen very carefully. After you’ve been told how to train your dog over the phone, ask questions about the methods that run counter to his preference. For example, if he believes in food rewards or “no-contact” dog training, you might ask his opinion on the use of slip chains or pinch collars. Or, if a person is told they should only use a particular method, ask their opinion on what to do if that approach doesn’t work for your dog.

Follow up any explanation by asking “Why?” If the answer you get is an outdated “because” based purely on ethics or sentiment, then you are most likely dealing with an amateur. A professional will always take the time to articulate both the positives and negatives with any method or approach. More importantly, a professional can carefully weigh the do’s and don’ts based on the individual factors present in each case. Someone who is very polar in their views may be suffering from a very limited frame of reference. Lack of experience can be difficult to deal with in the future. Training your dog is all about finding balance. Find balance in the responses you get from people when deciding, and chances are you’ll get what you’re looking for from your dog in the end. Keep an open mind. Even if you don’t fully understand the content, you’ll probably be fine.

In my opinion, dog training worth paying money for includes 3 things; Realism, Relevance and Rhythm.

Here are some of the main points to keep in mind when looking for a dog training professional:

1. Call everyone and beware of “dog gods”

(promising miracles or unconditional guarantees)

Never settle for the first person you talk to. Those who actually answer the phone, or return within a short period of time, should be given a check mark. This often means that they are taking their services seriously. Is this company part-time or is it the person’s full-time job? Great question, please ask. Make repeat calls if necessary to ask follow-up questions. Having had time to digest a cross section of what has been said, any self-respecting professional welcomes the opportunity to clarify. If they seem too defensive about a particular sight before meeting you and your dog, then move on.

Beware the dog gods. Never get carried away by those who promise to give you the world. I call these people “dog gods” because if someone tells you he’ll do all the work while you’re on vacation in the south of France, he’s selling you out of convenience. Dogs are not cars that go to the shop on Monday and go back to work a few days later. Most of these gurus can show results, but how long will those results last once the dog adjusts to his unique lifestyle? If someone videotapes your results for you, keep in mind that this is nothing more than insurance against a complaint that your dog is no longer doing what it was promised. Let’s run the tape…

Focus on services that emphasize the importance of the owner in the process. A commitment from the real coach (you) is always the first thing that matters.

2. Home visits vs. group sessions

Many people have a hard time deciding if they need help around the house because they have heard that their dog needs to be socialized with other dogs. Understand that socialization is an important part of a dog’s life, but be clear about what the term is not. Socialization is not a random game with other dogs. It doesn’t happen naturally without taking a lot of risks. After all, this is the animal world, and if left to their own devices, dogs can be pretty tough at times. (Almost as tough as humans)

The socialization that dog owners inadvertently refer to has more to do with learning acceptable behavior by human standards than by dogs.

Taking your dog to class is an artificial environment where dogs exist at various levels of concentration. Depending on the setup, there may be socialization value in group sessions, however you still need to learn how to apply this in the real world. If the sum of your learning and support takes place within the confines of a boot camp, who will be there to help you when you go for your first real walk around the neighborhood?

A common observation from dog owners is that their dog did very well in the group class setting, but faltered once they went home. The world your dog lives in may be the ideal place to learn because life’s subtleties and unpredictable events will present themselves as long as you have a professional on hand. You, as a dog trainer, can learn to deal with things firsthand. No transition required. Group sessions are limited because they are structured around the business aspect of dog training. More people through hourly structured classes translates into higher returns for the business owner. When you talk to group session owners, be sure to ask how much personal attention you will receive. Combine that with other considerations, such as how far you’ll have to travel, the length of each session, options for missed classes, support between visits, and how many other dogs will split up the instructor’s time.

Home Tours

A single 3-4 hour home visit can often help, but it usually benefits the business side of dog training. In fact, these practices contradict most adult learning principles regarding attention span and information retention (not to mention your dog’s attention span). Look for a service that focuses on giving people the time they need at a flexible rate. Remember, you are learning just like the dog is learning. Make sure appointment scheduling is based on a variety of factors, the most important being individual progress. If it’s a weekly timeline, is there an option to delay the sessions for some reason? Also, ask what kind of support you will receive between sessions and after the service. If you have a question, how long can it take to answer, or are there even options to ask questions along the way?

group sessions

The biggest draw to home visiting group sessions is the perception that they cost less. Be careful, without speculating on effectiveness, most teams that offer group sessions structure their courses so that you enroll at various levels along the way. Starting with a puppy and working your way up through levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 can cost as much or even more than a program designed to give you what you need. Typically, with group sessions, you’re paying more for less.

3. Lifetime warranties

Any guarantee that promises unlimited return visits at no extra cost is a big claim that needs to be looked at carefully. The fine print usually advises that you must have followed the trainer’s instructions or made an honest effort to have a trainer return without paying. Is it the coach’s decision whether he has followed the instructions or his own? He may feel that he has followed the instructions, but what if the trainer doesn’t? No unlimited visits? You can check if this is a legitimate claim by asking for references that support any guarantee of unlimited visits. In addition, it will give you the opportunity to get an appreciation of how many “limitless” really turned out to be for such people. Do not pay close attention to testimonials written on websites or other marketing materials. I encourage people to focus more on what the services actually entail and worry less about what they promise to give you in the future.

4. Franchised and Large Dog Training Programs

Be sure to always ask about the individual experience level of any dog ​​training prospect, but in particular, any franchised dog training or big box program. A typical franchise company has a 23-day “crash” program that it offers to its franchisees. That means your average florist can go from promoting himself as a damn good florist, and 23 days later can also claim to be a competent professional dog training consultant. Personally, the parent company often markets impressive claims of experience for the company as a whole, but you’ll have a hard time finding the level of individual experience of your individual franchise owners. In either case, the franchisee or great trainer is required to train a certain way and may not be able to legally deviate from the program even if they wanted to!

Good luck in your search for a professional dog trainer and in all your dog training endeavors.


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