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How to Choose a Trainer
1. Training your dog should be fun! A competent
instructor will allow and encourage you to observe a
class prior to making the decision to enroll. In a
well-run class, dogs and people will be enjoying
themselves and having a successful learning
experience. Look for an instructor who is
approachable and who encourages participants to
have a good time. If space permits, an instructor
should welcome and encourage all family members
and others who interact with the dog to attend class.
2. A skilled class instructor will:
a.Provide a clear explanation of each lesson.
b.Demonstrate the behavior(s) that students will be
teaching to their dogs.
c.Provide clear instructions and written handouts
on how to teach the behavior(s).
d.Give students ample time in class to begin
practicing the day's lesson.
e.Assist students individually with proper
implementation of techniques.
3. A skilled and professional trainer will encourage
dialogue and be courteous to both canine and human
4. You want to be comfortable with the training tools
and methods used by the instructor. A skilled and
professional dog trainer employs humane training
methods which are not harmful to the dog and/or
handler, and avoids the practices of hanging, beating,
kicking, shocking, and all similar procedures or
training devices that could cause the dog great pain,
distress, or that have imminent potential for physical
harm. You have the absolute right to stop any trainer
or other animal care professional who, in your opinion,
is causing your dog undue harm or distress.
5. A conscientious trainer will stay informed about
innovations in dog training and behavior tools and
techniques. Check to see if the instructor is a member
of any educational organizations such as the APDT,
and whether s/he pursues ongoing educational
6. A good instructor will take care to protect your dog's
health in a group setting. Ask if dogs and puppies are
required to be vaccinated prior to class and, if so,
which vaccines are required. Make sure you and your
veterinarian are comfortable with the vaccination
7. Current clients are a valuable source of information
for you. Attending a group class gives you the
opportunity to ask clients how they feel about their
experience – if they are enjoying the class and feel that
their training needs and goals are being met.
8. Because of variables in dog breeding and
temperament and owner commitment and experience,
a trainer cannot and should not guarantee the results of
his/her training. However, an instructor can and should
be willing to ensure client satisfaction with his/her