Welcome to my blog on the field of dog training!
How many trainers have you seen and how did you find them?
I ask because owning a dog who needs extra help in the training world can often be a complicated place. Where do we turn to, who is good, who is no good, how do we find out these things?
Dog training is unregulated, what this means is anyone can go out and say they are a trainer. Which often leads to taking advantage of those who need help. It also means in many cases going through numerous trainers before finding one that works.
I’m hoping with this I can make it a bit clearer and arm you with some knowledge and tools on your search for help in the world of dog training!
First tip is the term balanced trainer means the use of negative and positive. The term force free/trust based is exactly as it sounds. Its far more respectful and far more effective (research also backs this). I am the later, and it’s the only way we created results with our pooch at 4yo.
There are a few things you can do. (These are not in order of importance, all should be considered)
1. Have a look for memberships, has the trainer signed up to any associations?
These things do take time so if you can't see any, ask them. For myself I'm an APDT member, I'm working on the Pet professional guild and Minddog as well. Finding out this information is helpful because you can then google these associations and find out what they stand for. The ones mentioned above are great for finding respectful/force free/ trust based trainers.
2. Along the same lines, check out people’s certificates and training. I know experience and anecdotal evidence can be helpful. However, I also understand that improving our knowledge all the time only makes us better. Not all courses are made equal, however once you know what they have studied you can look into what the course covers. Dogs don’t need fear tactics employed to make them submit. What dogs need is respect and help to move through life. They need us to help give them skills to navigate the world. A trainer will be able to answer what they learnt at a course, if they gained value or if they don’t recommend a course.
3. Look into the style of training the person offers.
All current research says that the use of aversive isn't necessary and often has a negative impact on the relationship.
An investigation into the effectiveness of various professionals...
This is one such study.
I am force free and if I see you using force I will educate you as to why it’s not necessary and why it is a negative experience for the doggo. When you know better you do better.
4. Find someone you enjoy communicating with, you want to feel confident in asking questions. If things crop up that weren't expected, being able to ask for help is super important. In this sense as well check out reviews. See what people talk about, the trainers personality, the results, just have a read. Not everyone reviews so if you know people personally who have experience with the trainer ask them. At the end of the day peoples experience will be different. But I think they can still be useful.
Things that are important to me are being willing to learn more, as I mentioned before when talking about certificates. The attitude of "I know everything" doesn't help in any work place. Experience doesn't always trump knowledge. It helps, and experience makes you better, but how many people do you know stay in a job not necessarily because of the right reasons. How many people do you know resist change and refuse to learn because they know one way that works, even when there is a newer better option?
I'm always learning, always studying, always asking questions. I always say that the dog doesn't read the training manual so if they don't respond well tell me and we can change it up. This is how we learn. Instead of thinking we know everything, we take on information and make ourselves even better than before. Naturally the trainers most up to date will be force free/respectful of the dog and work on trust. We see it being more effective on the ground and the research overwhelmingly agrees.
Go Forth and Start (or continue!!) Your Training Journey!
Owner and Trainer at Cool Canines. With a passion for helping people live a stress free life with their dogs!