In Pennsylvania, there are no set regulations for becoming or titling yourself a Professional Dog Trainer. Anyone can establish a name and open up shop. If you are shopping for a reputable dog trainer or company, keep in mind these simple tips:
Be sure that your trainer and their staff have resumes full of experience. Many dog trainers make claims about their illustrious careers with many years of dog training experience. We recommend asking them what they have accomplished with their own dogs over their career. What fields of discipline have they studied and trained? If they have certifications, who was the certifying agency? Hopefully not their own business!
A well rounded, experienced trainer should have a broad spectrum of training experience; not only with obedience, but therapy, service, and even sport work. If you are looking for a trainer to handle aggression issues, who better than a trainer who has worked with protection dogs or police K-9s. These are the trainers who really know how to help you. If you want precision obedience, look for a trainer with sport work or competition experience. In dog training, the best way to train is by hands-on experience. Dog training cannot be learned by watching or reading or viewing videos. It must be done physically and one-on-one with many different dogs.
Another key credential to look for is the trainer’s methods of training. Experienced trainers will have multiple methods of training, an open mind, and will have continued their education throughout their careers. If a trainer refuses to use training methods that may be of interest to you, take yourself back to their resume of experience. The right trainer will use multiple training methods and will explain why they would use a particular approach to solve your issues and achieve your training goals. Look for a trainer who has and continues to work with multiple trainers. A trainer that has spent many years working with and training working dogs is your best bet. For them, companion dogs are a walk in the park, regardless of the issues you may be having.
Beware of the slogan, “WE CAN TRAIN ANY DOG.” Unfortunately, it is nothing more than a marketing ploy and has very little truth. At Consummate K-9, we will work with any dog and owner, even when serious aggression or fear is present. Regardless of the issues, we will never give false hopes of turning your dog into a safe and balanced companion if we feel it is not achievable. We will be honest with what can be done and what the end results will be.
Be sure your next trainer has a training facility. There are many trainers that seem convenient because they will come to you! Unfortunately your dog will not be able to socialize with other dogs with only in-home training. Trainers with facilities show their commitment to their business. A proper training facility is quite an expense but well worth it for year round training and the availability of many training disciplines.
Often the most successful trainers are those you hear about from your vet or past clients. Over-advertising is a big red flag and is not necessary. Trainers that post ads all over towns, along streets, and in windows tend to be struggling and begging for business. A good trainer will have a great referral chain based on continued success. A great way to find these trainers is to call a few local vets and ask who they recommend. After all, your vet knows your dog and always wants the best. Often you will hear the same name from multiple offices.
One final piece of advice, beware of the hard sell. No reputable trainer will try to hard sell you out of respect of ethical business practices. At Consummate K-9, we encourage you to shop around and make an educated decision based on your training needs.
Consummate K-9 Training