As a dog owner, picking a dog trainer is among the most important decisions you will ever make. The techniques used by the dog trainer will determine the nature and quality of your relationship with your dog for the rest of its life. You therefore need to put a lot of thought into the dog trainer you choose. The following are a few guidelines you will find useful.

Golden Retriever in Water
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Reward-based training

There are a number of methods of dog training, and every dog has its preferred motivators and learning style. Look for dog trainers who use training techniques that are based on rewarding desired behavior with food, affection, play, etc., rather than techniques that use pain and fear to punish the dogs for unwanted behavior.

Steer clear of dog trainers who advocate for use of physical force that is potentially harmful to your pet. Some of the techniques that involve physical force include hitting a dog or hanging it by its collar.

Research as demonstrated that it is not necessary to use pain and punishment to train a dog to behave well. In fact, using punishment is highly risky because it may make dogs aggressive, cause them to be fearful, and inhibit learning. Therefore, avoid dog trainers who frequently use shock collars, pinch collars, choke collars, etc. for training.

Because punishment is risky, it should only be allowed for trainers who can comprehensively outline the possible adverse effects and instruct owners in in-person, one-on-one classes on how to use the techniques safely and effectively.

It is worth emphasizing that punishment should not be the first and primary approach. Dog trainers who employ these techniques should be clear about the specific scenarios where punishment is required. Trainers who use punishment as their general first-line approach operate under the false assumption that dogs know precisely what they are required to do and are therefore willfully disobedient.

However, the truth is that, in most cases, a dog appears to be disobedient because the owner inadvertently reinforced wrong behavior and mis-communicated to the dog the appropriate behavior. As with humans, no dog likes to be in a situation where they are always afraid of making a mistake and being punished.

Proper training techniques and respectfulness

Proper training technique – A good k9 dogs training expert effectively communicates the behavior they are training and why it is important. They then demonstrate the behavior. In a class, learners are given enough time to practice and individual assistance is given where necessary. Qualified trainers adapt their humane methods of training to the individual dog. In large classes, the trainer may have an assistant.

Respectfulness –Highly experienced, well-established dog trainers are respectful both to you and your dog. As a rule of thumb, avoid trainers who recommend aversive training methods such as pinch or choke collar correction, hitting, pushing a dog into the sitting positions, alpha rolling, etc. These are methods favored by impatient trainers.

Additionally, you want to choose a trainer you’re comfortable with. Ideally, your dog should also be comfortable with the trainer shortly after the initial meeting.

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Filed under: Dog Training Tips

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