Finding the Perfect Trainer for Your Dog

Updated On: Thursday, June 29, 2023 14:45:59 PM America/Los_Angeles

Training is something that every dog pawrent will have to deal with throughout their fur baby's life, and trainers are often part of the picture at some point during that journey. But how do you know if a trainer is the right fit for you and your dog? Whether you’re trying to get your furry one to develop more social skills or learn basic commands, the below suggestions will help you with finding a dog trainer for your pup!

Photo by John Tuesday

Group Vs. Private Sessions? 

Before hunting for the perfect trainer for your fur ball, consider whether or not group classes or private sessions make more sense for your dog. Some pups will thrive in a group setting and learn more quickly by seeing others’ behaviors. Others may feel anxious, intimated, or even too excited to benefit from a group setting. Your fur baby’s personality and preferences will determine whether a group or private setting works best.   

Trainer Essentials

Look for a trainer that’s been certified by a trusted organization, as dog training is largely unregulated as a profession. Reviews online can also be helpful for determining whether or not the trainer has a solid track record. Additionally, there are a few key things to listen for when you speak with the trainer:

  • Training philosophy: Look for trainers who are committed to a positive reinforcement approach versus a dominance reduction approach. Positive reinforcement is not only backed by science, it also rewards appropriate behavior instead of punishing inappropriate behavior. 
  • Communication style: While a trainer’s primary goal is to train dogs, they’re also working very closely with dog pawrents to make sure that training continues outside of sessions. This means that the trainer should not only get along with your pooch but with you as well. Use the initial session to make sure that your communication styles and values gel.

Other Details to Consider

  • Personality fit: Not all dogs are made alike. Many dogs will enjoy an upbeat, peppy trainer, but some shier pups may want someone who has a more gentle, nurturing disposition. Whatever your doggo’s personality, take it into consideration as you search for the right person to guide your pooch. 
  • Specific training goals: Consider your furry one’s specific needs and personal history when deciding on a trainer. For example, a dog who breezed through potty training independently may still do well in a group setting for obedience training. And pups who thrived during obedience training in a group setting may benefit from focused lessons for specific skills such as leash training.
  • Cost and frequency: The trainer should be willing to speak frankly and transparently about what your training goals mean for your wallet and your time. Never go with a trainer who is not up front about the cost and time commitment required for training. 
  • Location: A perk of one-on-one lessons is that they can take place at any location. A trainer can come to your home to assist with potty training for indoor dog bathrooms or pee pads like DoggieLawn, or they can also work with you in a more public setting like a dog park if your goal is to master leash training.