How To Choose The Best Dog Trainer



This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts.

A good dog trainer will give you all the knowledge necessary to learn how effectively and positively influence your dog’s behavior, by teaching you how to clearly communicate with your dog and also understand your dog’s own ways of communication; essential skills for raising a well-adjusted, obedient, friendly and happy dog.

To choose the best trainer you must be prepared, as you will soon find out, there are plenty of opinions, techniques, styles and professionals to choose from, which can prove to be very confusing and overwhelming for anybody.

However, knowing what you want, what you need, where to get it and what to expect is crucial to ultimately finding that dog trainer that will deliver everything you need to know to get the results you want.

Prepare Yourself

Being informed and well prepared will give you the knowledge and confidence that will allow you know how to determine who will be the best trainer for you and your dog.

Learning about , the basics of dog obedience will be extremely valuable when evaluating prospective trainers and their methods for training dogs.

That basic knowledge will give you the advantage of being on familiar terms with them and the ability to easily recognize those that offer what you are looking for.

Set Your Goals

This are the goals dog obedience training should help you accomplish:

  • A deep connection though clear communication.
  • Establish your leadership position.
  • Be confident and comfortably in control of your dog at all times.
  • Keep you dog’s attention on you at all times.
  • Complete compliance to your commands.
  • Prevent, recognize and stop unwanted behaviors.
  • Increase your dog’s trust and respect.
  • A social and well-adjusted dog.

Know What You Need To Learn
To Accomplish Your Goals

This is a list of the most important skills a good dog obedience training program should teach you:

  • How to communicate with your dog by using simple obedience commands like sit, down, stay, come, leave it, look at me and off, including house training and crate training.
  • How to establishing and enforce house rules for your dogs .
  • How Prevent, identify and correct unwanted behaviors like digging, chewing on shoes or furniture, barking, nipping, separation anxiety , over excitement, anxiety, fears, aggression and dominance.
  • How to read your dog’s body language and understand his reactions to situations, dogs, people or new things; to be able to control situations properly, clearly letting your dog know what is good behavior and what is not.
  • How to make sure your kid’s have a safe and respectful relationship with their dog.
  • How to properly walk and exercise with your dog, preventing and fixing typical problems like pulling on the leash, jumping on people and others.
  • How to fulfill your dog’s specific needs based on his breed, energy level and developmental life stages.
  • How to play with your dog in a safe and controlled way, providing leadership and preventing over excitement and aggression.
  • How to feed your dog by teaching him how to behave around food and avoid problems like begging and food aggression.
  • How to teach your dog to properly interact with other dogs; identifying and correcting unwanted behaviors.
  • How to make going to the groomer’s or the veterinary’s a positive and relaxing experience; and prevent problems like fear and anxiety.
  • How to make grooming your dog a positive and bonding experience for both of you.

Where To Find The Best Dog Trainer

The most reliable way to find a good trainer is by getting a good reference from a trustworthy source.

Therefore, don’t ask a prospective trainer to give you a list of his own references, since there is a high probability that those references could be phony and there is no way for you verify that.

Instead, ask someone you can trust, to refer you to a good trainer.

Ask your veterinarian, a reputable breeder or a rescue organization for a recommendation, they usually are very selective about the dog trainers they refer their clients to, because that also puts their reputation on the line.

You can also ask other dog owners to refer you to a good trainer, they are a great source because they will advice you based on their own experiences.

However, no matter who gives you a recommendation or what source you use to find a dog trainer, always do your research, ask the right questions and make your own assessment about what is best for your dog.

What To Expect From A Professional Dog Trainer

Nothing But The Best…

* The Best Approach And Techniques

Considering that your ultimate goal is to raise a balanced dog, you must find a trainer that offers a balanced approach to dog obedience.

Let me explain, while you are searching and evaluating potential dog trainer you will encounter a wide range of approaches and techniques for training dogs, from those who’s techniques are too soft and affectionate, to those who’s techniques are too harsh and even cruel for your dog.

For that reason, you must keep in mind that to accomplish balance you must find a trainer who’s techniques are also balanced, a midpoint between those two extreme examples above.

That’s a trainer that understands that dog obedience training is a tool that will help you become a fair and strong leader for your dog, and to accomplish that, a balanced combination between the use of rewards to motivate and teach good behavior; and the use of proper corrections to communicate your disagreement to bad behaviors is the natural and best way to influence your dogs behavior in a positive way.

Good dog trainers know the difference between proper corrections and punishment, and understand that corrections are a natural way of dog communication.

* The Best Location And Format

The best place to train your dog is your own place; behavior must be influenced in the place where it happens to get the best results.

Training in your real life environment will give your dog trainer the ability to give you real and accurate advice, and practical solutions on how to manage your dog’s behavior.

Never send your dog out to a boot camp or a board and train program, especially if your dog is a difficult one. Why? …

First, you never know how your dog will be treated and second, YOU must be the one to train your dog, there is no point on sending your dog away to learn things that you must teach him yourself. Remember, your dog trainer is supposed to teach you how to train your dog, no exceptions.

Private or group class?

Private is the best, your trainer’s undivided attention in your own environment is an essential combination for obedience training success and really getting your money’s worth.

* The Best Service For The Right Price

Not all dogs are the same, so you will need a dog trainer that is willing to customize a plan of action to fit your specific needs based on your dog’s breed, energy level, behavior and developmental life stage.

Make an effort to find a dog trainer that offers a complete dog training program, more than just teaching obedience commands, it must provide practical advice on how to utilize them in your everyday life situations, to help you communicate proper behavior standards for your dog and teach you how to prevent and correct the appearance of behavioral problems.

Your dog trainer must focus on teaching YOU how to train your dog; the dog training process needs to be a hands on experience for you to successfully learn how to accomplish your goals.

For that, you will need a dog trainer that is goal oriented, with a positive attitude, lots of patience and plenty of encouragement, someone that will spend all the time and effort necessary for you to clearly understand how to properly train your dog, no matter how long it takes.

This is extremely important because the misinterpretation and incorrect use of reward based training techniques and corrections could badly damage your dog’s behavior and the consequences could be devastating not only for the dog, but also for you and your family.

When it comes to the right price you must be aware that some dog trainers will price their services really high just to gain credibility, taking advantage of the saying “you get what you pay for”, so once again, use your knowledge to determine what is best for you and don’t base your decision on prices. You could end up overpaying.

Also make sure that you will have the freedom to cancel in case you think you are not getting what you expected.

* The Best Qualifications

Certifications, experience and affiliation to professional associations can be a plus point, but will not guarantee you the best approach, techniques, service and, most importantly, results; so please don’t base your decision just on that, prepare yourself and trust your knowledge to determine who is the best trainer for you.

Well… Now that you have a basic understanding of what dog obedience training is all about, you know what your goals are, what you need to learn to accomplish them and what to expect from a professional dog trainer; you are ready to start searching, with the confidence that you can make a knowledgeable assessment of who will be the best dog trainer for you and your dog.


If you are experiencing severe behavioral problems with your dog, like violent aggression, excessive fear, phobias or any other extreme behavior; never believe a dog trainer or anyone that tells you that your dog can not be rehabilitated or advices you to euthanize your dog.

Cases where dogs can not be rehabilitated are extremely rare, so please don’t give up on your dog, no matter how bad the problem is, there is always a way to change and rehabilitate a dog’s behavior; it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to find a solution to save and improve your dog’s life.

If you feel that you are running out of options, please don’t hesitate to contact us , let us give you our openhanded advice and help you find a better solution for your situation. No matter where you are or how bad your problem is, we will find a way to help you and your dog. That is our commitment!

Remember, “Where there’s a will, there’s way” and you must do whatever it takes to find it.

Live up to your commitment!

Please Contact Usdirectly if you have any other questions or concerns.

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