Finding a Dog Trainer for Your Puppy - dummies

Finding a Dog Trainer for Your Puppy

By Sarah Hodgson

Finding a good dog trainer — one who is well rounded in his or her knowledge of puppy behavior — can be a real lifesaver. If you need help training your pup, scout out professionals in your area to get some good leads and call today. You and your puppy will be glad you did.

Working with a personal dog trainer

Not all trainers are in this profession because they love puppies first and foremost. Some of them are in it for the money; beware of those types. Other trainers are wonderful with puppies but don’t excel in human communication skills. Look for someone who can train you as well as your puppy.

Avoid trainers who insist on using an electronic collar for your puppy. Though just pushing a button to stop unwanted behavior may sound marvelous, your puppy is an emotional being who will frantically displace his excitement and shock-induced terror on another, often more serious, pattern such as aggressive reactions or self-mutilation.

Going to a group trainer

Group training classes can be a real blast. They can also be a puppy owner’s worst nightmare. So what makes the difference? No, it isn’t your puppy. No matter how badly behaved your pup is around other puppies, the instructor is the one who makes or breaks the class.

When exploring different classes, talk to the instructor and get a feel for his or her style of training. Also find out how many dogs are in the class; a six-puppies-to-one-instructor ratio is best. Find out whether only basic commands are taught or whether problem-solving techniques are addressed as well. Here are some additional questions to ask:

  • Do they use food as reinforcements, or do they teach you techniques to phase off treating?

  • Are the classes indoors and out?

  • Is there a make-up policy?

  • How many people can come — are children welcome?

Professional trainers for your pup

A couple of associations list pet trainers in different parts of the country — these are listed below. A few organizations certify dog trainers. Perhaps the most respected one in the United States is the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). It can be contacted by the Web link shown here or by phone at 212-356-0672.

Association of Pet Dog Trainers

The APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) welcomes professional dog trainers and educators who are committed to their profession and who seek like-minded people to meet and exchange ideas with. It holds conferences to promote ideas, educate, and reinforce the ideals of the dog-training profession. The APDT promotes dog-friendly training techniques and serves to educate the public, as well as veterinary professionals, about the benefits of a positive training approach.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers
101 N. Main St., Suite 610
Greenville, SC 29601
Phone 800-738-3647

International Association of Canine Professionals

The IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals) welcomes all professionals associated with dogs, including trainers, groomers, kennel owners, pet sitters, merchants, and veterinarians. It lists members, but like other membership-based associations, a fee can buy association, so you have to determine whether an individual is up to your standards. Of course, membership in a respectable association is a good sign.

International Association of Canine Professionals
P.O. Box 560156
Montverde, FL 34756
Phone 877-843-4227 or 407-469-2008