You have your beautiful pup at home and everything is going great, until they start to get a little
older. Now they’re chewing on things you don’t want them to. They’re nipping, and jumping, and digging and OMG, what in the sam heck did you get yourself into?!?!
This is where a trainer comes in. Now I’m a trainer and I can say “Yes! Of course you need to train your dog.”, but you need to be able to see the benefit in training your dog. In order to see those benefits, you need to make sure that you’re working with someone that not only will be a good fit for you, but for your dog as well.
I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve actually had clients who, after the first session at their home, wouldn’t even return a phone call or text. They didn’t care to let me ask what they didn’t like about the session to let me make it up to them. And you know what, that’s totally fine. I’ve had many, many clients get positive, long-lasting results from me helping them. The take away here is that it has to work for you, it has to work for your dog, and you have to learn how to best communicate with you dog.
Here are some questions I would want dog owners to ask me if they were looking for a dog trainer to help their dog. First, if you were looking for a trainer to come to your home:
1. How long have you been training dogs and where did you get your experience?
• I mention experience here because a person can have all the book smarts in the world but if they have no hands on experience, they’re not doing themselves, or you, justice. I’m not, repeat NOT, saying that book smarts isn’t something that’s needed but hands on is just as important, if not more so, than only learning from a book.
2. What is your training philosophy and what do you do if the dog you’re working with does something wrong?
• It’s always important that your dog actually WANTS to work for you, even if it is just putting their rear on the floor. The methods the trainer uses should primarily be positive. Just saying’.
3. How long so you think it’ll take to fix the problem?
• There is no EASY button for a dog and the trainer you speak with shouldn’t give you a definite number. They should be flexible and let you know that YOU are the one who will guarantee your dog’s success.
4. How much do you cost?
• This is an important question. This will let you know you need to save up for the training sessions or if it’s something that you can work into your weekly/monthly budget. Training your dog shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg BUT it’s an investment in the betterment of your dog’s mental state and should be taken seriously.
If you’re looking to take a class with your fur child, here are some questions that you might find important to ask the instructor:
1. How long is the whole class? How long is each session?
• This is important to know so you can adjust your schedule accordingly
2. How many dogs do you allow in each class?
• This is an important question wether your dog is reactive toward other dogs or not. If they are, you want them to be able to have room so they’re not in an excited state for long periods of time, or can take a break from the stress. If they’re not, you need to be aware that OTHER dogs might be reactive so your dog doesn’t have to be anxious and stressed the entire class.
3. Does the instructor give one-on-one attention during the class if my dog needs help?
• I’m sorry but the answer to this should always be a resounding YES! You are paying this person to help you and your dog succeed and if you’re not getting there, it’s there job to show you the way, regardless if it’s in class, or if the instructor thinks it might be better in home sessions.
4. Lastly, again, how much do you charge for the class? Do you charge for the entire class or by the session?
• Just as I stated above, this is an important question because your dog isn’t paying for the lessons, you are. You need to know what the financial commitment is to get your dog to where you need him or her to be.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I actually have a PDF of the entire thing for your right HERE. Please let me know what you thought of everything or heck, if you feel I’ve left something off the list in the comments below.
If you haven’t already seen them, go check out PART 1 and PART 2 of the series where I go over what to think about when you’re thinking about getting a dog and how to set your house up for success once you bring your little ball of fur home.
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