Choosing a Dog Trainer

Recently on Orlando’s Channel 6 WKMG, there was a horrifying story about people who entrusted a dog trainer who would board their dogs and train them. This so-called trainer charged these people thousands of dollars and ended either neglecting or abusing over 40 dogs. This trainer ended up being a huckster with a criminal record and had no formal education in dog training.

I thought it would be good to go through some points as to what to look for in a dog trainer and what pertinent questions you should ask.

1.     What method do you use? If it is anything but positive, don’t hire him.

2.     What is your educational background in dog training? A dog trainer should have some kind of certification that is listed after his/her name such as ABC-DT, CPDT-KA. I am very proud of my education at ABC and proud to call myself an ABC-DT dog trainer.

3.     What kind of continuing education have you attended? If he doesn’t participate in continuing education, don’t hire him. I am constantly viewing and/or attending seminars and reading to stay on top of my craft.

4.     What equipment do you use? If he uses shock collars, e-collars, choke chains,or prong collars then run away. Positive reinforcement is the only effective way to train.

5.     Do you belong to any professional associations and if not, why? Professional associations usually embrace the scientifically based positive method. There is a great organization called the Association of Pet Dog Trainers that I belong to. 

I am very circumspect of any dog trainer that boards and trains dogs in Orlando. Some I am sure use positive methods but many of these businesses use E-collars, i.e. shock collars and they might call themselves a canine boot camp. No dog needs boot camp. Dogs need to be trained with love, respect and a calm benevolence preferably by their owners under the guidance of a certified positive dog trainer like myself.