Choosing a Trainer: Two Key Considerations
Choosing a Trainer: Two Key Considerations
Although many dog owners successfully train their pets without outside assistance, some benefit greatly by using a professional dog trainer. A quality dog trainer can help instruct the dog while also providing the owner with invaluable guidance and assistance. Very problematic dogs—those who seem inordinately aggressive or unruly, for instance—often pose training problems that outstrip the ability of even a relatively well-informed dog owner and a finding a great dog trainer becomes essential.
Dog trainers do not require specific licensing. Any person with a desire to do so can simply proclaim himself or herself a dog trainer, hang up a shingle, and begin soliciting customers. The bar for entry into the dog training profession is set so low that it is no surprise that there are many inadequate trainers trying to do business.
When choosing a dog trainer, how is a dog owner to decide who they should trust with their pet’s care and education? Choosing a dog trainer can be a very difficult proposition but separating the untalented and amateurish from the truly gifted is essential to your dog’s well being. Making a mistake in hiring a dog trainer will not only fail to help your dog, it could worsen his behavior and make it harder to correct later.
There is no magic formula for choosing the right trainer. There are any number of factors you may want to consider to find someone with whom you can successfully work and upon whom you can truly rely. However, there are at least two considerations that should guide most any selection of a dog trainer: Experience and reputation.
One should try to search out a trainer with significant experience. Experienced trainers are more likely to be able to successfully deal with the unique circumstances of your pet based on their track record with other animals.
Additionally, experience inherently communicates at least a reasonable likelihood of talent. One is not likely to have stayed in business as a dog trainer for any significant period of time if they lacked talent and failed to produce desired results. Experience, in essence, is also a proof of at least some ability.
What about new trainers? After all, even the most veteran and experienced trainer began as a rookie. Does this mean one should pass over every trainer who lacks a long track record?
You may be able to find a truly great trainer among the ranks of the less experienced. There is, however, the increased risk that the trainer will be unable to satisfactorily train your dog. If you are considering a novice trainer, grill them about their past experiences prior to entering the profession. Find out what kind of dogs they have dealt with, if they have a more experienced mentor, and how they feel they have qualified themselves to work with your dog. Picking a rookie trainer could work out perfectly, but it does increase the chances of dealing with someone who is woefully unprepared to handle the job responsibilities of training.
Experience is an indicator of talent, but it is not a foolproof way of assessing a trainer’s talents. It is possible for a crafty marketer to stay in business a long time, after all, regardless of the quality of their work. As such, it is appropriate to inquire about the reputation of the dog trainers you are considering. Solicit opinions and references from a variety of sources in order to find the right trainer for you.
Great sources for information regarding wonderful trainers and those you should avoid might include veterinarians, breeders, pet storeowners and close acquaintances who have used a dog trainer. By asking around, you can find out which trainers are most highly regarded.
Ask the trainer himself or herself, too. See if they will provide some references you may contact, preferably past clients. Any trainer who is unwilling to do this should be eyed with some degree of suspicion. Most qualified and talented traders will be happy to give you references to contact. Be sure to follow through. Talk to the references and find out all you can about the trainer and the quality of training the former customers and their dogs experienced.
There are a variety of factors that one may want to consider when seeking out a trainer for their dog. The importance of a trainer to a dog’s life is significant and great care should be taken during the selection process. Two things that must be kept in mind when seeking a trainer are the trainer’s experience and reputation.