Choosing a dog training class or a behavior consultant is one of the most important decisions you will make during the lifetime of your puppy. The main objective of a dog trainer is not to train your dog; it is to teach you how to train your dog. The training methods you learn in a dog training class or from a behavior consultant will influence your training style and the bond you have with your puppy for the rest of the puppy’s life. A trainer who heavily relies on aversive training methods will cause your puppy a lot of stress. This can lead to severe behavior problems later on in life. A trainer using positive reinforcement techniques, however, will make sure that both your puppy and you enjoy training time.
If your dog is fearful or reactive, consider working with a dog trainer to help guide you through the many different behavior modification techniques in existence today. Please be aware that the field of dog training is highly unregulated and anybody can call themselves a dog trainer, whether they have a graduate degree in animal behavior or draw their knowledge out of popular TV shows. There are also many different dog training certifications available (indicated by letters behind the name). Some certifications require a graduate degree, while some can be acquired online. For more information about certifications, please Click Here. We recommend working with a trainer that is at least certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, which will be indicated with the letters CPDT-KA or CPDT-KSA behind the trainer’s name. This national certification requires a certain amount of experience and a solid knowledge of learning theory and behavioral science. Regardless of the letters behind a name, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has published guidelines to help you choose a dog trainer: Click Here
Please browse through this part of our website to learn about different certifications dog trainers and behavior consultants can achieve, and find links to websites of dog training professionals we recommend. Also read about Alternatives to Choke Chains, Prong Collars and Other Aversive Methods.