Choosing a Dog Trainer
The same advice for finding an obedience class also relates to finding a quality trainer. Anyone can claim to be a dog or cat trainer, so as questions like the following if you’re thinking about hiring someone
How were you trained?
Look for someone who has had life experience and has spent time around animals, not just taken classes. If the person has trained different types of animals, even better. Ask about formal training, but keep in mind that many good trainers are self-taught through experience. The best trainers keep themselves well-informed about new training methods and theories.
How much experience do you have?
The trainer should have at least six months of experience. Anything less and the person may not know how to work with problem behavior in a calm, confident manner. Animals can sense a lack of confidence, and the training will be less successful as a result.
What types of animals have you trained?
Some trainers work with a variety of animals and some only work with one type. It’s most desirable for the trainer to have had experience working with a wide variety of animals, since you learn something different from training each type of animal.
Are you certified through a national certification program?
This applies mainly to dog trainers since there are no national certification programs for those who train cats, rabbits and other types of pets.
You might also want to visit during one of the trainer’s sessions to see the style, techniques and tools being used. If the trainer does anything that you are uncomfortable with, keep looking. You want to find a trainer who uses humane training methods, someone who will give you and your pet a positive experience. If you are told by a trainer that he or she is not qualified for your case, ask for a referral to a behavior counselor or animal behaviorist.