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How To Find The Right Trainer For You
With all of the available trainers out there finding the right one for you can be confusing. Top that off with no state certification or licensing and things get even tougher. Here are a few tips to help you know what is important in a trainer.
When you first call a trainer or training school the conversation needs to be a two way street. Expect the trainer will ask you questions about your dog and your expectations. This is how they determine what training level or class is best for you. Then it is your turn. Ask questions. Make sure this will be the right fit for you and your dog. You might even want to have a list of questions in front of you to make sure you do not forget anything.
What success does the trainer and their students have in the ring? You might say "I don't care about showing. I just want a well behaved family member" That is what most people are looking for but a trainer that has the ability to train dog and handler teams to compete in the ring with a variety of distractions while dealing with the owners nerves and in new locations is a trainer that is training dogs way beyond the basics of a well behaved family member. Competition trainers need to train the basics first before going on to the competition skills. Basics are the building blocks to a competition team. You should want a trainer that has mastered the basics with their own dogs and with their students and can go beyond that so they can trouble shoot any problem you may have.
Even more importantly is what have their students done with their dogs. If you are looking for a competition trainer you need to know they are producing winners! It is always nice to see a trainer has done well with their own dogs but what can they do for you?! Their personal accomplishments show they are involved and that they will be aware of new trends in the dog world. The success of their students will show you how well the information is passed from trainer to student. If the students are successful in the ring or in trying to get through a Therapy Dog test it shows the trainer can train others, not just their own dogs! A trainer with successful competition students means success for you too!
Does the facility offer year round training? Do they have space to train in a real life setting? Training inside four walls is great for a start because it limits the distractions. Having an indoor space with heat and a/c also keeps the weather from affecting your training progress. The problem with only training inside the 4 walls of a school is that dogs walk outside! As they begin to understand their skills they need to work with the distractions of the real world. Is the trainer willing to come to your home? Sometimes there are issues that happen only in the home. Your trainer should be willing to help you wherever the issues occur so finding a flexible trainer is important.
Ask the trainer what breeds of dogs they have owned and worked with. Do they have experience with just a breed or two or do they have experience with all dogs big and small. Do they have experience with powerful breeds? Have they trained a Toy dog? Each breed was bred for a job and most of them, (even the rescues) hold onto some of the instincts needed for those jobs. You should look for a trainer who understands how to train all types of dogs with any variety of instincts.
Training your dog builds a bond between you and your dog. Once you choose the right trainer for you go enjoy the process. Training is fun!