Trusting a pet with a stranger can be a difficult step to take. But fortunately, the benefits of living in a modern society, means that we have a much easier time accessing information about a potential hire, long before we even meet them in person. Personal references, online reviews, and training videos all help people deduce what they are looking for in a pet trainer. But before you begin the hunt for the right match, decide what kind of environment you want. Are you looking for in-home individual trainer, or pet training classes to attend? Some professionals hold classes where they teach you how to work with your pet, and others simply teach the dogs one-on-one to achieve specific goals. Whatever you decide, it is best to dig a little deeper before you sign your pup up.

Finding a Good Trainer

The phrase “know before you go” is important to apply when it comes to training. Picking a dog trainer at random could turn into an expensive waste of time, or potentially make your job harder by creating habits in your dog that another, more equipped trainer will have to help your pet un-learn.

  • Look up pet-training classes in your area. See what your community offers in the way of training courses. Find out what institutions or centers are nearby, and peruse their website to see what kind of classes, and training courses they offer. Read the trainer bios or profiles to get a little background on the members of staff, and find out what education they have and what credentials & certificates they’ve obtained.
  • Get your toes wet before you jump in. When you find a training course you are interested in, call ahead to see if you can watch a class. Note if the dogs seem happy and content, see what the ratio of people-to-dogs is, and if the environment is tidy and hygienic. Do the employees seem positive and cheerful, is the trainer focused and sincere? Can these trainers handle a range of dog sizes, breeds and temperaments?. Taking an hour to sit in on a class to see how the trainers handle conflict, or unruly behavior, will prove very helpful in the consideration process.
  • Research pet training videos online. If you plan on hiring an independent pet trainer, go to the local pet shelter and rescue home to ask for referrals. Usually trainers looking to expand their business will leave cards and contact information at adoption centers and rescue homes to be available to new pet parents. Self-marketing is an ever-growing part of developing business for an independent contractor, and some pet trainers record videos of their work with pets. Once you are provided a trainer’s details, see if they have a website, videos or content to help you decide if getting in touch with them would be worthwhile.
  • Ask friends and family for references. If all else fails, find a friend whose dog has behavior you admire, and get their advice! They might have helpful tips for you or be able to tell you how they were able to acquire such obedience and skill with their pet. Word of mouth from our community is sometimes the best way to find someone we can trust.
  • Have a trial training session. Bear in mind, if and when you do set a meeting with a prospective trainer, remember to go armed with a list of questions for them. While you might really connect with one person’s personality, it does not follow they will be the most effective trainer for your pet. It is always best to schedule a “trail training” day so that you can watch how the dog interacts with the trainer. If the dynamics between your dog and the trainer seem solid, and your pup is responsive, focused and eager to work with this person, you’ve just found yourself the right dog trainer!