Training a dog takes plenty of work whether it is a puppy, adolescent or adult dog. However, not every pet owner has the time to train their pet themselves, or help them get to the preferred obedience and skill level. Fortunately, there are trained professionals who enjoy working with even the most recalcitrant and rambunctious dogs to achieve their full potential. When you begin the process of finding the right fit for you and your pet, be careful not to assume that everyone claiming to be a “dog trainer” is as reputable as they seem. Learn what kinds of questions to ask a potential trainer, and what areas of expertise they might be able to offer you.

Areas of Training

  • House breaking (This should include staying out of certain rooms, not chewing on household items or shoes, understanding boundaries, not running through open doors, etc.)
  • Potty training
  • Obedience training
  • Skills or competitive dog sport training
  • Therapy dog training
  • Service dog training

Questions to Ask Prospective Trainers

People with good intentions generally welcome questions. Responsible pet parents should make inquiries to discover who would help them achieve their goals and be the best over-all trainer for their dog. Once you feel comfortable with the trainer, and your dog seems to respond well to his presence, consider asking the below questions to determine if they are the best match for you and your dog:

  • Do you have any credentials or certifications? Do you engage in continued education seminars in your industry, when they are available?
  • What training techniques or methods do you use? Note: They should never, ever use physical punishment in any way. Restrain is acceptable, but physical punishment is not. This is a red flag if the trainer cites this method as acceptable.
  • What training services do you provide? (Find out if they have experience with your specific dog breed, and the areas of training where the pet needs most work.)
  • What kind of equipped do you use? (Find out if they use clicker training, scented dummies, what kind of treats they provide, etc. Make sure they are the quality you approve.)
  • Are you apart of any professional training groups/associations?
  • Do you have any references?

When you do reach out to the trainer’s past clients, it would be wise to ask them how their expectations measured up against the results. Find out if the trainer was reliable, consistent with his attitude, work ethic, and punctuality, etc. The more information you have ahead of time, the more at ease you will feel about entrusting your pet with the training professional.