How to Choose the Right Dog Trainer for You!
This can be tricky for anyone looking for help with their dog. It isn’t like getting your nails done or picking out clothes. It’s a big deal and many people can fall into the “trap” of paying for the wrong dog trainer for them. So, I hope this helps to give you all some insight on how to best pick the right dog trainer.
In my experience the most common question is “How much?” and often it’s because people don’t really know what to ask when first contacting a dog trainer. While I know this may be the more important factor for some it shouldn’t be for all. Why?, because training your dog should be looked at more as an investment into your future with your dog, not just trying to find the cheapest fix. The old saying works well in dog training as it does in most other cases, “you get what you pay for.” You might get lucky and find that diamond in the rough who doesn’t charge what they are worth, but it’s like the odds of winning the lottery. I say best of luck!
Here are some simple, hard and fast rules I say you should look at when first contacting a dog trainer like me. The first one is likability. I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone contact me and feel defeated because they talked to or signed up with someone else who made them feel ignorant because they didn’t do something right the first time or they weren’t getting it completely after the first lesson. They were yelled at like they were in military boot camp or told they shouldn’t have their dog because they couldn’t be the “alpha”….all just a bunch of BS to me! I would never want someone yelling at me for something I was trying to learn. If people knew everything about dog training then they wouldn’t need dog trainers! So remember, it’s your job as the client to decide if you and the trainer you are talking to are the right fit together. Will you listen? Do they listen? Will you try the things they recommend at home? Do you trust them to know what is best in this situation? If you don’t like the dog trainer then the answer to all of these will always be “no”.
I say then, walk away or heck, even run! Pick a dog trainer who shows you, who guides you to better choices through learning. It shouldn’t be a race with dog training; it should be a marathon because the next 15 plus years depend on it. Does the dog trainer you are speaking to sound like they know what they are talking about? Do they make sense? Do they sound like they have seen your concerns before in other clients? If you ever find that you are talking with someone who is stumbling on how to explain things to you or not making sense, maybe that’s a red flag you should take into consideration. There are no requirements to becoming a dog trainer and that means, unfortunately, any John Smith can do it, but there are always ways to tell who took the time to educate themselves, to handle dog after dog and who is confident enough to talk to you about any issues you have with your dog. I have spent years of my life shadowing other trainers, traveling to workshops and seminars to make sure I am knowledgeable in this ever growing field to bring my clients the best, most effective and caring ways to help solve serious problems. You are already at wits end [most of the time] when you contact a dog trainer in the first place. You shouldn’t add the stress of an uneducated dog trainer to that.
You can always take money and location into account when looking for a dog trainer, but I say keep that way down on your “need list”. Remember, dog training is an investment into your future happiness and that should never really have a monetary value on it. You got your dog to add to your happiness, not take from it so don’t allow your dog trainer to do the same!