Hiring a dog trainer is the single best thing an owner can do.
Your veterinarian’s number one concern is the physical health of your dog and a trainers is the behavior health. Hiring a dog trainer is an investment in the lifetime of your pet. A behavioral healthy dog is a dog of sound mind, neither anxious, nor aggressive. Instead, he is a dog who is confident in his surroundings as well as in himself. In short, a dog who has adjusted well to a society he knows nothing about. Countless dogs are relinquished or euthanized every year due to behavioral problems that could have been prevented or behavioral problems that were not known how to fix. Good trainers understand this all too well and know the importance of educating their clients in preventive measures as well and being able to modify behavior problems for their clients.
When you’ve made the decision to hire a trainer where do you turn, how do you know if you’re hiring a qualified trainer? The dog training industry isn’t regulated nor do trainers have to be licensed or certified, in other words, anyone can claim to be a dog trainer. To make the task of hiring a trainer a little easier make sure these minimum requirements are met.
- Skilled communicator
- Understands basic learning theory
- Continuing education
- No Guarantees
Searching out a qualified trainer can take time but well worth the research. Good trainers are continually honing their craft in order to provide their clients with the best service they know how. This also means they continually seek out the most up to date science data available. Good trainers feel confident in knowing they have the science to back them up. A trainer that is credentialed by a governing body and not some private organization is the best insurance you have of receiving this type of service.
A good trainer is a skilled communicator and one who takes the time to understand their clients’ needs and is able to put a plan together to fit their particular lifestyle. References from past clients and other dog pros is always a good idea to inquire about, they are the ones most likely to have firsthand experience working with a particular trainer.
The definition of training is to change behavior and at the very least trainers need to understand the basic science in learning theory to be able to properly change behavior. Lastly, because trainers work with animals and humans who have the capability of thinking on their own and always have the option to do what they want, behavior change can never be guaranteed, to do so would be unethical.