When it comes to hiring a dog trainer, there are several things you need to bring up. Ensure you get the right person by asking these eight questions.
Did you know that a well-trained dog is a happier dog? You see, when your dog is well trained, you place fewer restrictions on them. You’ll consider them more reliable and hence extend more freedom for them to play.
Now, when it comes to training, even though you may do some at home, it’s still essential for you to hire a dog trainer. Now, hiring a dog trainer is the tricky part because not everyone who proclaims to be is a professional dog trainer. With the US pet training industry set to hit a monumental $820 million by 2026, you need to sift the wheat from the chaff.
To help you find the best dog trainer, we bring you this comprehensive guide on what factors to consider and what questions to ask. Keep reading to find 8 of the most essential questions to ask a dog trainer.
1. What’s Your Experience in Training Dogs?
Experience is a critical factor to look at before hiring any dog trainer. You need to understand that trainers vary greatly in their experience levels and their expertise. For example, how long has this trainer been training dogs?
Do they have qualifications from a reputable dog training institution? If the answer to these questions is no, keep looking. A seasoned professional dog trainer will have plenty of experience dealing with different types of dogs, dog breeds, and situations. They should be attending courses or at least sending their trainers to additional courses to continue to learn and profect their craft in dog training, just like any true professional would do.
So, if you’re looking for a trainer to deal with specific issues like aggression or potty training, it’s best to go for someone with a good deal of experience in that regard.
2. What Methods Do You Use in Training Dogs?
Different trainers use different methods in training dogs. Some trainers prefer positive reinforcement such as treats and verbal praises. Others use aversive or correction based techniques and others are balanced in their approach to working with dogs.
It’s important to ask the trainer about their preferred methods before hiring them. You want your dog to be trained in a way that is comfortable for both you and your pet.
Apart from this, it’s important to note that some methods are better suited for certain breeds of dogs than others. When hiring a dog trainer, make sure you discuss what strategies they have experience using and which ones they prefer.
3. What Is Your Training Philosophy?
Different trainers follow different philosophies when training dogs. These include positive reinforcement, where they train a dog through offering treats and praises, or negative reinforcement, where they teach a dog right from wrong through punishment or removing a positive factor. This area is very confusing to not just dog owners, but even to many unseasoned trainers, you should ask a lot of questions about their philosopy and approach in working with dogs and also different behavioral issues.
It’s important to ask the trainer about their philosophy before hiring them. You want to ensure that their philosophies align with what you believe in.
3. Do You Have References?
One of the surest ways of knowing whether a dog trainer is good or not is by looking at their online reviews and customer references. A good dog trainer will have plenty of satisfied customers who are more than willing to recommend their services. As a rule of thumb, they should have a minimum of 100 Google Reviews which is usually an good indication they have trained at least 400 to 500 dogs (most people don't leave reviews).
Before hiring a dog trainer, ask for some of their references and contact them. Calling those contacts will give you a good idea of what to expect should you hire this trainer. Additionally, it will help you determine whether the trainer is worth your time and money.
4. How Much Experience Do You Have with My Dog Breed?
Not all dog trainers are experts in all dog breeds. Some trainers may have more experience with certain breeds than others. It’s crucial to ask the trainer about their experience with your specific dog breed before hiring them. You also want to make sure they have a lot of experience in the behavior issues you are experiencing with your dog.
You want to ensure that they know how to train your dog properly without causing any behavioral issues. For example, hiring a trainer who has plenty of experience with German Shepherds but knows nothing about Yorkies is not ideal.
5. Can I See a Demo?
It’s always a good idea to see a demo of the trainer working with a dog IN Training before choosing a dog trainer. It’ll give you an idea of the methods they use and how well your dog responds to them. Many trainers like to Demo their personal dogs, and although they can be flashy and neat to see, that is NOT what your dog is going to be able to do at the end of two or three weeks of training, the trainer has spent many hours working with their own dog to get it to that level.
Most trainers offer free demos and will be more than happy to show you what they can do. If the dog training service you’re interested in does not offer free demos, consider finding another service. If the trainer you are considering uses electronic collars, you want to pay particular attention to HOW they are using it with the dog. Is it for communication only, or is the trainer using to it to correct the dog when they don't comply or make a mistake (that type of training is where the term shock collar comes from).
6. Is There an Initial Consultation?
Before choosing a dog trainer, it’s essential to have an initial consultation with them. During this consultation, you can discuss your needs and expectations as well as ask any questions you may have about their services.
This is also the perfect time to ask the trainer for references and more information on their background. With this, hiring a dog trainer will be much easier because you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.
7. Who Will Train My Dog?
It’s vital to find out who will actually train your dog before choosing a dog training service. You see, some trainers outsource these tasks to other independant contractors that sub-contract under them. You want to see the trainer's trainers training with dogs if they use someone else besides the person you are talking to.
When hiring a dog trainer, it’s essential that you know who will train your pet so you can decide whether or not hiring this particular dog training service is right for you.
8. How Much Does Training a Dog Cost?
It’s vital that you know how much hiring a dog trainer will cost before signing any contracts or agreements. You want to avoid any unnecessary expenses, so it would be wise to find everything out in advance.
Some dog trainers charge a flat rate, while others do an hourly rate. Although hiring a dog trainer at a flat rate may seem more convenient, it’s important to find out what this payment covers before hiring them and for most trainers it is fairly straight forward.
9. Is There Any Technology Used During the Sessions?
It would also be wise to find out if any technology will be used with the dog trainer during your lessons. For example, many dog owners are hiring dog trainers who are using remote training collars to help train their dogs.
If hiring a dog trainer who uses remote training collars, you should ask what kind of training this equipment is used for as well as why and how they believe it’s beneficial, those are fair questions and any reputable trainer will not be offended by this question.
Top Questions to Dog Trainers Before Hiring a Dog Trainer
Before hiring a dog trainer, it’s important to have an initial consultation with them. During this consultation, ask all the questions listed above, and they’ll help you make an informed decision.
Keep in mind that there are many professional dog training services, so don’t settle for any less than you and your pet deserve. That said, if you’re currently searching for the best dog trainer, please get in touch with us today.
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