July 26, 2011

Finding a Good Dog Trainer

Call me! Just kidding. In all seriousness, it is not always that easy to find a good dog trainer that you can feel 100% comfortable with ALL of their training methods.

I have started working with several new clients in the last month alone that have had problems with other trainers. Some don't even realize anything was wrong until they experience my methods and then they recognize there are alternative ways to train a dog without force & aggression.

There are two basic concepts of training: force-based & positive reinforcement. Within those two categories there are thousands of different approaches and mindsets. For instance, someone may say they are a trainer that uses positive reinforcement, but they still rely on a prong collar to control the dog or there may be a force-based trainer who uses a clicker.

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, a positive reinforcement trainer uses their brain to create a program using praise, treats, & play to reward a dog for good behavior and ignores most bad behavior. A positive reinforcement trainer works hand-in-hand with the dog's owners to set the dog up to succeed! They should not be using any type of force. Never hitting, slapping, punching, or kicking the dog regardless of pressure.

You should interview a prospective trainer before you hire him/her. Ask for several references and actually call them. Ask the references detailed questions about what the trainer's methods & results were. I will also caution you to be wary of references given by vets & local pet stores. They may be great, but don't just assume they are because your vet is referring them. Any trainer can walk into a vet's office or pet supply store and leave their cards behind without the vet or store owner ever experiencing the training for themselves.

Go with your gut! If you don't think something is right, don't do it. If a particular method seems to be hurting your dog...it probably is & you should stop immediately!!!

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Dog Training Philosophy

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I train dogs using positive reinforcement training to modify unwanted behaviors.  I step outside the traditional training box and use therapeutic-grade essential oils to assist in my behavior modification regime when it comes to dogs plagued with fear and anxiety as well as aggression.  My philosophy is to heal the dog's mind, body and spirit, not just to rid the dog of unacceptable behaviors.  I specialize in shelter dog rehab, reactive rover, and fearful fidos.