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How to Choose a Trainer

(With Thanks to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers)

 Association of Professional Dog Trainers - Dog Training Professionals

                       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
                       clients alike.

                       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
                       professional services.