We are seeing them everywhere! “Force Free”, “Pure Positive”, “Dominance”, “Balanced” – there are so many methodologies out there. The truth is, the field of Dog Training has expanded exponentially over the last 50 years. As our knowledge about dog behavior and medicine grew, general information was more prevalent for the average pet owner. More people are engaging in dog training than ever before! This can be a very exciting prospect, but when there are so many trainers out there, how do you vet worthy options to find the right fit for you and your dog?
A Responsibility to Clear Communication
Your trainer should have clear communication skills and leave you feeling less confused than you started. Clear Communication relies upon honesty and a mutual understanding of goals and expectations. A quality dog trainer will tell you what you need to hear, not always what you want to hear. Be wary of a trainer who will not confront untrue statements about your dog or who is unwilling to provide you with the firm guidance you need to be successful and stay on track with your training. A good trainer should always be able to explain “why.”
A Responsibility to Be Educated
Verify that your trainer knows their stuff! Ask about their certifications and education. A quality dog trainer should have both a certification from formal education and mentorship experience. Learning the science behind the exercises is as important as putting them into action! Be sure that the trainer you choose will be structuring your training plan with honest evaluations and insight for your specific dog. Dog training is not a One Size Fits All situation. Your trainer should also be educated about general medical requirements, safety procedures, and laws pertaining to pets and pet owners.
A Responsibility To Be Humane
A quality trainer should be adhering to LIMA standards. LIMA stands for Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive. A trainer who uses the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy will use a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective. Basically, they use the most humane method to get the job done. During training, a dog should not be in a state of distress or fear. Learn more about LIMA standards at https://m.iaabc.org/about/lima/
A Responsibility to Be Lawful and Provide Safe Training Conditions
A quality trainer should both know AND respect the laws pertaining to dogs in their area of operation and should give their client sound advice to also respect these laws while participating in training. They should always prioritize you and your dog’s safety during all training activities. They should make every effort to control variables and advise the client of appropriate owner etiquette. If you ever have a concern about the safety of any given training exercise or environment, speak up and ask questions! You should not be breaking laws or compromising the safety of your pet during training sessions.