If you’re considering hiring a dog trainer because your Labrador Retriever just isn’t behaving the way you expect, use these guidelines to find a good trainer who uses positive methods and can help you establish effective communication with your Lab:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors, and relatives who have friendly, well-behaved dogs.

  • Ask the opinion of pet professionals, such as veterinarians, vet techs, groomers, boarding kennel managers, humane societies, and rescue groups.

  • Call the Association of Pet Dog Trainers at 1-800-PET-DOGS to ask for the names of dog trainers and canine behavior consultants who use positive training methods, such as lure-and-reward and clicker training.

  • Expect a good dog trainer/canine behavior consultant to understand how dogs learn and to communicate with you — in terms you understand — about how to manage and train your Lab.

  • Ask about experience and ask for references. And check them! A good dog trainer/canine behavior consultant will have extensive experience educating owners and their pets.

  • Ask about correction styles. A good dog trainer/canine behavior consultant doesn’t advocate or use physical punishment (shock collars, choke chains, prong collars, leash jerks, or hitting).

  • Expect fun! A good dog trainer/canine behavior consultant gives you the feeling that training will be fun for you and your Labrador!