You need help with your dog and are looking for an expert?
You want to understand your dog better so have decided to call in a dog trainer?
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Sadly, dog trainers are not all brilliant, and some are not even good. So how can you find a good one and step into your new and improved life with your precious dog?
Watch the Dogs
If someone is offering videos of them teaching dogs – watch the dogs. Dogs who are happy, enthusiastic playful and enjoying themselves will show an ethical dog trainer who is teaching with real skill. Canine body language will tell you everything you need to know. Cowed dogs have dropped tails and show body language, which is slow, deliberate, and likely don’t feel safe.
This dog has ears pulled back and facial tension = worried.
Cowed and careful, furrowed brow = worried.
(Muzzles don't make a dog look like that if they are introduced with care and positive reinforcement)
Having a happy free time = relaxed.
Happy and interested, dancing along = positive emotion.
Trusting and smiling up at the person they are with.
Watch the Trainers
If someone is happy to put themselves online while yanking a dog, we have to ask what they do on the videos which don’t get online and what they do behind closed doors. What is the dog wearing? How do they treat the dogs? Do they pull at the dog’s neck or look frustrated with that dog? Do they set the dog up to carry out a behaviour so they can video themselves punishing the dog for doing it?
A harness that respects the dog's movement and anatomy.
A dog in an inside out prong collar, the prongs are designed to go into the neck to add control for the trainer. This equipment is illegal in many countries for animal welfare reasons.
Check their Ethics
Positive dog trainers will shout their ethical stance from the rooftops. Their qualifications will be listed and the provider of their qualifications will list their ethical stance too. People who are empathetic and educated about dogs want those dogs to be happy and to meet the dog’s needs while helping the entire family to live together. Ethical online dog courses are the same; they only use kindness with dogs and people. They teach science, and they do it with compassion. A good teacher listens more than they talk. An imposter posing as a teacher tries to force their views wants, and opinions on everyone – dogs and people alike.
Check their Education
Dog training is one of the only scientific vocations that isn’t regulated. This enables anyone to offer to train dog trainers, whether they are ethical or not. Always without fail, check if the trainer AND their training provider are educated to teach, whether they are dog specialists and what methods they use.
Ask their Current Clients
Google the name of the teacher, trainer or school and the word reviews, do a Facebook survey and ask people to share their experiences. Ask the provider to share genuine reviews from people who have learned or worked with them. also ask what type of reviews they are. Do they focus on the dog being happier and more understood or are they just focused on a changed behaviour?
The dog trainer you choose can make or break your relationship with your dog.
Dogs who are forced and punished have been proven through many studies to become more readily aggressive, rough handling makes a dog suppress how they feel, but those feeling can create randomised reactivity.
No matter how charismatic and influencing a rough dog trainer might be - it's up to you to protect your dog from harsh treatment. Especially when the opportunity to choose kind, educated and gentle professional is readily available too.
Choose science, empathy and ethics over ego and arrogance every time, for dog’s sake.
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