All dog owners around the world know that you cannot find two dogs who have the same personality. Just like humans, every dog is different. You may adore your dog’s antics, but is it really well-behaved? Some owners like to train their dogs themselves because they like to control the process and do not trust anyone else to do it. However, dogs with difficult behavior issues can be challenging to deal with. If your dog is overly aggressive, stubborn, or even depressed, you might need a specialist to adjust its behavior. Yet, finding a good dog trainer is not easy, as this business is not regulated in the U.S., so you will find a lot of people who widely proclaim that they are specialists.
If you want to find the best certified dog trainer, consider the next few tips.
Understand the Terms
“Dog trainer” can be a confusing term because it includes a wide range of sub-fields. Mostly, there are three types of dog trainers: general trainers, applied animal behaviorists, and veterinary behaviorists. General trainers deal with dogs who just need some basic training to make it easier for their owners to handle them. On the other hand, applied animal and veterinary behaviorists focus on the psychological well-being of your dog. The ABS, Animal Behavior Society, is responsible for certifying applied animal behaviorists who must have specific educational requirements and vast experience in the field. Veterinary behaviorists, on the other hand, are experts in medications that can change your dog’s behavior. They are certified by the ACVB, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and are familiar with pharmacology. So, understanding these terms will help you find the dog trainer your furry friend needs.
Do Your Homework
Choosing the first dog trainer you can find online is definitely not a good strategy. You need to research thoroughly to understand the techniques of dog training first to be able to discern the difference between the methods used by certified dog trainers. A term like “positive reinforcement” might be confusing to you, so the experts at K9Kare recommend that you take some time to read training guides online. Although you may not be able to train your dog yourself, you must familiarize yourself with dog training techniques, so you can ask your chosen dog trainer the right questions. Do not hesitate to inquire about their methods and ask as many questions as you need to make sure that you are leaving your dog in good hands. Also, reading online reviews and asking your friends about dog trainers they have had prior experience with can put you on the right track, helping you find the best certified trainer.
See the Dog Trainer in Action
There is no better way to make sure you are making the right choice than to see how a dog trainer acts in class. To ensure your dog’s safety, try to observe one of the trainer’s classes from afar, after getting their permission of course. This can be a great opportunity to talk to other dog owners who have sought the help of that same trainer. If possible, ask the specialist whether you can try a class first. In addition, see how other dogs in the class respond to commands. If you notice that they seem scared, then the trainer might be using fear or force to make them more complacent, which is definitely something you do not want to expose your dog to. On the other hand, if the dogs seem happy to comply with their owners’ requests, then the trainer is using positive reinforcement, which is the perfect technique to change your dog’s behavior. Also, steer away from trainers who use punishing tools, such as shock collars to train animals. Training programs that focus on rewards are better for your dog.
Take Your Time
Before you make any decision that will impact your dog’s life, take your time to think, and carefully consider your options. There is no need to rush things because if you choose the wrong trainer, then you will do more harm than good. You may feel like you need to find a trainer as soon as possible to change your dog’s behavior; however, it is better to try many trainers until you find the best fit.
Certified dog trainers can greatly help your dog adjust its behavior, especially if it is extremely hostile or tenacious. To find the best trainer, understand the difference between training specialists, try to gain more knowledge about training techniques, read reviews, and observe your trainer in class. Avoid trainers that use force, and seek those who use rewards to reinforce better behavior. Remember, take your time to find the best trainer; believe us, your dog will love you more if you do.