How to Find & Choose a Dog Trainer

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According to the American Kennel Club, dog training is rooted in a physiological technique called operant conditioning like any other animal training. Based on the technique, almost every accomplished individual working as an experienced dog obedience trainer says finding and choosing the best dog trainer can be challenging for seasoned and beginner dog owners. Choosing and finding a good dog trainer for your pet is based on factors such as your ability to relate your dog’s natural characteristics and reactions to commands and distinguishing or comparing trainers’ qualifications and other features.

Things to Look For in a Dog Trainer

When finding and choosing a dog trainer, factors like using reward-based methods and their comprehensive understanding of dog psychology comes to play. One of the most fruitful techniques to consider before settling for a trainer is using the most popular force-free or positive reinforcement method. However, knowing that a trainer uses positive reinforcement method isn’t enough to make them worth your dog’s training investment unless other factors are considered, including:

  • Certification

Although the dog training industry isn’t much regulated, finding a certified trainer is an incredible option for you. Certified dog trainers have wonderful experiences like going through apprenticeships that taught them all the effective training strategies, especially based on their natural behaviors, adaptation capabilities, and backgrounds, which mostly affect your dog’s life and unless the trainer is aware of such factors, training your dog could be daunting.

According to the famous animal and human behavioral scientist B.F Skinner’s 1950 journal on dog training, the major difference between a certified and traditional dog trainer is their knowledge of implementing positive and negative reinforcement while training your dog perfectly. A certified trainer will effectively train your dog by implementing physical and psychological techniques, which may be hard for typical trainers without a thorough understanding of a dog’s inner impulses and reaction to commands and more.

  • Personality

According to the famous dog training writer of don’t shoot the dog training manual Karen Pryor, a professional dog trainer is worthy of your dog training investment, especially for their great understanding of infusing their personalities in training. A trainer aware of these accomplished manuals will implement magnificent training means such as:

  • Extinction– to flawlessly train your dog, find a trainer patient enough to let certain behaviors of your dog go away by themselves. For instance, while other trainers will want to restrict your dog’s playfulness and overexcitement, excellent trainers allow such characters to fade away by themselves, thus allowing the dog to express themselves fully as well as actively participate in training sessions.  To easily find such trainers, watch out for those using clicker training for unique behaviors while using other techniques like focusing on targets, especially when fostering desensitization.
  • Training incompatible behaviors – if you’re fascinated by the idea of training your dog as a police dog or improving their intelligence capability, choose a trainer who understands the ins and outs of incompatible behavior training. Mostly, you’ll notice such trainers focusing on your dog’s nose’s ability to sniff things on the ground and in the air.
  • Ability to use cues and hold behaviors on cues– if your dog is the kind that scratches doors and upholstery, suffers from submissive urination, jumps up and down, or has intrusive sniffing habits, you’ll want a trainer who knows how to implement cues perfectly. Cues are an elegant way of getting rid of undesirable dog behaviors. Unfortunately, not all trainers employ them; thus, the need to know your dog and if the trainer uses cues before working with them. For a trainer, using reinforced cues can and will easily help your dog get rid of behaviors you don’t want. Cues help because the dog learns to stop or ignore behaviors. 


You’ll easily know a trainer is accomplished, especially when they actively want you to hear their testimonials from previous clients. References are great, especially if you’re looking for someone who has trained dogs with the same characteristics as yours. Likewise, references will help you avoid settling for trainers that are good persuaders in hiding their reputations which can be unsafe for your dog or kids, especially if you won’t always be around.

Liability Insurance

Since many things can occur during the training, you’ll want an insured trainer considering if something goes wrong with your dog.  Liability-insured trainers also translate to high levels of legitimacy and professionalism.

In essence, a professional certified dog trainer with a wonderful personality and comprehensive understanding of all training techniques will help you and your dog enjoy their sessions. They are also incredible for creative solutions of implementing and changing behaviors without affecting your dog’s psychological and physical being.

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