Last week I told you I would write a post so that you know how to recognise a good dog professional from one that it is not.
Choosing a dog trainer is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your dog’s life. The techniques you learn to use will affect the interaction with your dog forever.
Honestly, it is not easy, especially if you start to search without any recommendations. There are many trainers everywhere, the problem is that there is a high percentage that are not good professionals and they are not even educated. Add to this fact that there are no regulations of the profession and there you have the reason why there are so many outrageous cases.
To begin, search a bit in Google their name and dog training centre. Investigate what type of methods they use. If the information where the trainer has been educated does not even appear, it is not a very good sign.
1- Look for those trainers who demonstrate continuous education, attending seminars and conferences, there are always new theories and methods.
Avoid any trainer that uses force or methods based on dominance, leadership / alpha role, or any other method that might damage the physical and mental health of the dog i.e.hanging them from the collar, beating, kicking, using prong, choke or shock collars, among other things we saw in the previous post.
These are not acceptable ways of educating anyone. No apprentice wants to be in a situation where they have to be constantly in fear of making a mistake.
3- A good instructor knows how to explain what behaviour they are entraining, why they are important and how to show it. He or she will make you practice and feel included in the training.
4- Be cautious if you are recommended to make your dog stay at a centre. Please don’t do it!
There are too many cases that after being some time interned they’ve become worse, with severe problems of fear and mistrust, it breaks the dog and most likely destroy your relationship with him. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a few days, two weeks or a month. They don’t want you to see what they do. This should ring the alarm. If they would use kind methods they wouldn’t mind you to stay all the sessions or take your dog home everyday.
5- What to evaluate if you have videos or you are already in a session:
(a) Look at the dog’s body language. Do they seem happy and comfortable or the seem to have fear and to only behave well while they are being punished? Are their tails wagging from side to side or are they stiff, low or hidden? Is the trainer talking in a calm way or is he yelling?
(b) Look at whether rewarding occurs. Rewarding the correct behaviour is key for the dog learning well.
(c) Ask yourself if the techniques used are safe to practice them yourselves, your children or family members. In cases in which the dog has aggression issues it can re-direct to whoever performs the training technique.
Do you feel comfortable? You should feel comfortable in doing anything the trainer asks you to do with your dog. If you think that your dog won’t react well in a situation, ask the trainer to explain to you why recommends this technique.
(d) How are you being trained? There should be a training plan. Each step of the process must have established clear and achievable goals so that the dog knows exactly what to do to get your reward. In the same way the trainer must make super clear what he or she is doing in each of these steps with your dog.
(e) You must know HOW the trainer MOTIVATES YOUR DOG.
Do not be afraid to ask. If the answer is with leadership, dominance, force or any technique focused on using fear or pain to punish unwanted behaviours, discard it immediately.
Careful with those who say using positive methods only because they use the clicker or treats, when actually the only they know how to do is punish.
Example: A video circulating on Facebook from a dog training centre here in Spain (click here). You can see that the trainer uses clicker and treats but also kicks the dog and makes so many corrections (all unnecessary) on the leash. What terrible handling! I feel so sorry for the dogs that have to go there. These people should not be allowed to work in this field.
And now so that you can compare it look at this video by clicking here. This is positive training, this is how clicker is used! Look at the silence, there is no constant orders or corrections, yelling or punishment of any kind. Everything is nice; and do you know what is best of all? The dogs’ attitude! They are happy to work, their tails wag from side to side, they show motivation and good concentration. Such a big difference from the video before which does not even come close to an attempt at training anything. They just know how to frighten dogs.
(f) Be cautious if you are ensured an effective and immediate result. No conscious trainer guarantees the results of training at any term. They can only guarantee the satisfaction of services provided.
(g) A good trainer has no problem working with a veterinarian and knows when to seek help from other professionals if there are behaviour problems.
It is crucial that you see that the methods used by the trainer are transparent, both for the dog and for you as owners. Make sure that the dog professional is educated, uses only positive methods and is a respectful person who has common sense and ethics.
Remember that training your dog should be a fun experience for both of you!
I hope that you found the post useful.
Help me to share it so that all dogs have a proper education 😉 !