How To Find a Good Trainer

Training a dog is all about building a solid relationship, and the ultimate dog-human relationship is one where a leash is no longer necessary. Having a trainer to help guide this process can speed things up and help ensure the best results. Finding a good trainer is a very personal thing, because they will be teaching you to teach your dog. You need someone who has a lot of experience, who will be a good fit for both of you. The following questions will help you find a good match:

How long have you been training dogs?

What’s the highest level of reliability that you consistently train dogs to?

What methods and tools do you use?

Do you offer classes or private lessons out in the real world?

What are the limitations that you see my dog possibly having based on breed and temperament?

How long do you expect it to take to reach my goals for my dog?

Have you been able to get dogs with histories of wildlife chasing to recall reliably off of wildlife? How?

What kinds of dogs have you personally owned, and can you hike off leash with them and recall them in any situation?

When your clients are not able to get their dogs to obey reliably off leash, why is that?

A good trainer can work with a variety of people and dogs, will give you honest feedback about your chance of meeting your goals, and will use a range of methods and tools to help you achieve those goals. You will find trainers who are committed to certain types of training, and trainers who are committed to the end goal before the means of getting there. It will be your job to sort through and find what feels best for you. Not every trainer is meant for every person or dog. If the first person doesn’t work out, try again!

If you’re looking for referrals, start with neighbors whose dogs who are really well-behaved, and ask if they had any help. Ask the person on the trail who has the best behaved dog. Your vet may also have suggestions.