Selecting a Trainer
For General Good Manners and Obedience
The correct selection of a professional trainer to help a family with their dog training and behavior problems is essential.
A good trainer should combine a variety of methods and be sensitive to the individual needs of the owner and the dog. While convenience, cost and scheduling are considerations, finding a class or having in-home consultation where you feel comfortable and successful should be your primary concern.
These guidelines have been developed to help in that selection and permission is granted to copy them for clients. Shop around until you find a trainer that will work for you.
1. Ask your veterinarian for referrals. Vets see many well-behaved dogs often. Ask owners of well-mannered dogs where they received their training.
2. Good training is flexible and suits the needs of the dog and the owner. Competent trainers modify their methods so that everyone can succeed.
3. Find a trainer who can deliver what you and your dog need. If obedience
competition is your dream, find a successful competitor. If you want to train
your dog to assist you in your disability, find a trainer with that specialty.
4. If you have a specific problem with your dog, ask trainers what their
experience is with this problem. Ask if they have experience with your breed.
Ask questions if you don’t understand their program or if something doesn’t sound right.
5. Where possible observe the trainer with other dogs before enrolling. Are lessons orderly and enjoyable? Are students struggling with their dogs without getting help? Does the instructor use assistants to manage large classes? If an instructor won’t allow you to observe them, look elsewhere.
6. How does the instructor interact with the dogs? Is the treatment too rough?
Does the instructor genuinely enjoy dogs? Do the dogs enjoy the instructor?
How does the instructor’s own dog relate to the instructor? Would you be
proud to have a dog that behaved like the instructor’s dog?
7. Instructors only spend a short time each week with the students’ dogs. Is the instructor preparing the student to practice until the next lesson?
8. Interview the instructors you are considering. Ask where they got their experience. How long have they been teaching? Ask about failures as well as successes.
9. Be skeptical of instructors who offer guarantees. Not all dogs and owners can be trained to the same performance standard in the same length of time. Look instead for instructors who offer to make time for students who need extra attention.
10. Refuse to deal with trainers who make you uncomfortable.
11. Is the trainer a member of a Professional Trainers organization such as The International Association of Canine Professionals or NADOI?
This document is provided as a courtesy by
International Association of Canine Professionals
Martin Deeley, Executive Director