When it comes to pet training, there are certified professional pet trainers and there are ‘fly-by-night’ pet trainers. Thus, you should be careful about choosing which one to entrust your pet’s training. Finding the right match will depend on several factors including your pet’s behavior that needs to be addressed, the skill level of the pet trainer, and the schedule of training sessions. Even though how challenging and daunting the selection process may be, it is possible to find the right pet trainer for your pet.
Ultimately, getting the best trainer for you and your pet cat or dog boils down to being a personal choice. To make the best decision, you should start by asking questions, interviewing recommended pet trainers, and doing your homework.
Tips for finding the right trainer for you and your pet
In many countries, the pet training industry is largely unregulated. There is no established set of standards or qualifications that a person should meet or comply with to be called a ‘dog or cat trainer’. Their level of experience may range from pet owners with some training success up their sleeves, to educated professionals who underwent training in advanced dog or cat training concepts, including obedience training and behavior modification. Knowing what to look for when searching for a professional trainer is important in finding the right one that will fit the training needs of your pet.
Taking the time to find out about a trainer’s background can help you understand the training methods that he uses and help you determine if he is a good fit for you and your pet.
Know what questions to ask
Knowing about the trainer’s style can be a big help in your search. You should make a list of professional trainers who come highly recommended by pet owners who have experienced their services and achieved their desired results. Your veterinarian is also a valuable source of information about reputable professional trainers in your area.
Learning to ask questions creates an opportunity to know the trainer better so you can assess his professionalism and ability to communicate. If a trainer is unable to communicate well with you, chances are he won’t be able to communicate well with your pet.
Some of the questions that you should ask include the following:
- How long have you been training and where did you learn your craft?
When you have this information, be sure to check out the validity of the programs the trainer has attended. You should also confirm the trainer’s professional affiliations, awards, participation in the training community, and other training activities that they may be regularly involved in.
- What is your training style and technique?
While you’re at it, don’t forget to ask about any training philosophy that they might be adhering to. Do they employ any type of training equipment?
Discussing the training philosophies of a pet trainer can reveal a lot of important information about the person. This can help determine if the trainer’s style is best for you and your pet.
Many experienced trainers are flexible when it comes to their training approach. This means they can tailor their approach to suit the training needs of pets and their owners. In effect, these are the most effective trainers.
- Can I observe you at work?
Watching a trainer in action can tell you a lot about how he works and whether he can maintain an excellent connection and working relationship with the cat or dog that he is training. While observing the trainer, be alert for any red flags that show the trainer having a hard time connecting and keeping the dog under control. Watching closely the interaction between the trainer and the animal he is training can reveal a lot about their relationship, the timing of the trainer, and overall conduct.
- What can you achieve with my pet? What are your expectations of me as the pet’s owner?
Beware of trainers that boast about achieving results without any participatory involvement of the owner. A professional dog trainer finds time to sit down with the client to talk about setting realistic goals and the work it entails to achieve the desired output.
The owner is the dog’s or cat’s constant companion, and a good trainer acknowledges the fact that the pet owner should be an integral part of the training team. The owner should participate in the training process to learn the rules and maintain consistency.
How much does cat or dog training cost? When it comes to training packages, the less work you do as the pet parent, the higher will be the training rate. But always keep in mind that at some point, you will still need to do some work at home to ensure continuity of training.
Options for dog training
There are various options for dog or cat training and identifying the best one for your pet is of utmost importance. The most common pet training options include:
- Reward-based training
- Group classes
- Private training sessions
- Boarding a pet with a professional trainer for intensive training
Evaluate the progress of the training
Before training starts, you and the trainer should set milestones for realistic goals. This will enable you to track and evaluate the progress of your dog’s training. If you think that the training is not going well, do not hesitate to discuss it with the trainer so a solution can be sought immediately to get your pet’s training back on track. If you are uncomfortable with something in the process or you think it’s counterproductive, don’t be afraid to speak up.
But if you do find a good pet trainer who has achieved wonders for your beloved pet, the time, effort, and money that you invested in finding a quality pet trainer has gone a long way in helping you and your pet achieve training success.