Choosing a Trainer
A lot of research should go into finding the RIGHT trainer for both you and Fido. You must find someone both you and your dog are comfortable with. There are many things to consider and questions to ask.
Things to Look For Into a Training Program
- The program is Positive and Motivational
- Ongoing Testing and Assessment before, during and after training
- Variety of Classes and Options
- Opportunities to practice new skills such a puppy play dates or group walks.
- Collaboration with the Community, being involved with animal related groups within the community such a rescues and shelters, this allows additional resources to offer safe and productive training programs for dogs and their families.
- Passion for dogs AND their handlers!
- Safe, Healthy Environment
- Patient, Calm and Professional
- Effective Communication, such as educational materials, progress reports, online resources, client handouts, etc.
These questions will give you a better idea of who the trainer is, what kind of methods they use, the equipment they use and much more.
- What method of training do you use?
- What kind of educational background do you have? Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?
- Do you attend any continuing education courses? What do you do to keep up with new techniques and advances in obedience training?
- Do you provide a follow up with your clients?
- Can you provide references from past clients?
- What services do you provide for pet owners? Do you specialize in a certain area, such as therapy training, sports training, etc?
In addition to asking the right questions, it helps to understand training methods used by trainers. Not all trainers are alike. We all use different methods or techniques. It’s important you understand them ahead of time and find a trainer that uses methods you agree with.
Lure-Reward Training – Trainers use a lure to entice Fido into a certain position, typically a treat held in the hand.
Compulsion-Praise – A trainer manipulates Fido into position by using physical placememnt or training equipment. Meaning a dog may be physically moved into a sitting position by the trainer by applying pressure on his bottom or brought into heel using a head collar or collar correction.
Marker Training – Using a sound, word or clicker to mark or immediately pinpoint the moment Fido is correct with a certain behavior. For example, when teaching “sit” the VERY moment Fido’s bottom hits the floor the trainer would use the desired marker to tell the dog he was correct.
These are the MAIN methods used, although you will find others that use shock collars, prong collars or other ways of forcing a dog into a certain behavior. Fresh Start does not support those methods, so we won’t discuss them on here. If you choose to use a trainer who uses such methods, be sure they are doing so CORRECTLY. There is a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to use any method, including those with shock or prong collars. When using such tools, if used incorrectly, physical damage can be done to the dog.