How do you find a good dog trainer? In an unregulated industry such as dog training, navigating the waters can be tough if you don’t know what to look for. Now days lots of people are claiming to be a trainer. Maybe they’ve watched reality tv shows and base their claims on that. Anyone claiming it based on that would be the last person I would recommend. So what should you look for?
First and foremost contact your veterinarian. They are familiar with the good trainers in your area, that is they’ve heard about the good and the bad out there and can help direct you in the right direction. They should be your first resource.
Second, look for accountability. Are they a member and supporter of training and behavioral groups? These groups provide trainers with current behavioral studies and updated training methods. It’s important to stay abreast of the constantly changing field of dog behavior as many old and aversive methods are actually not helpful, and can in fact be harmful, to your dog. We at Now And Zen Dog Training are members of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants and Doggone Safe dog bite prevention safety programs.
Third, ask for references. Any trainer should be able to provide you with some references, but you might get only one sided recommendations so ask around with your dog owning friends as well. Neighbors can be good references because they have usually used or heard from other dog owners who’s working in the area and the track record with clients.
Happy Dog Trainer Hunting!
Nan Long, APDT