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Training is key to creating a safe, loving environment for your canine companion.
Dogs are great learners and always eager to please their owners. With the right techniques, a little patience, and consistency from the whole family, Fido can learn just about anything.
Besides teaching your dog respectful behaviors (like no excessive barking and no begging from the table), training keeps your dog:
If your dog knows to come on command, or “stay” in place, both of you will be safer when outdoors. Untrained dogs may dart off into the road, or become distracted by their surroundings and get lost.
Consistent instruction is mentally stimulating and improves your dog’s cognitive health. Learning also prevents boredom and the destructive habits that often result from it.
Dogs thrive on positive, loving relationships with their human companions. A dog that doesn’t behave is unlikely to have a good relationship with the people around him. By teaching your dog what behaviors are acceptable, you establish a comfortable and loving environment.
Effective training is key to a positive dog-owner relationship. Learning how to communicate with your canine companion is difficult without assistance, however. If you’ve been struggling with your dog’s behavior, it may be time to find a professional dog trainer near you.
Finding Professionals In An Unregulated Industry
There is no regulating body or licensing process for professional dog trainers. Anyone can advertise themselves as a trainer, whether they have the necessary skills and knowledge or not.
Navigating through this unregulated industry can be tricky. As a dog owner, you want a qualified trainer that will:
- Respect you, your dog, and your family.
- Stick to your schedule.
- Train in various settings, environments and stages.
- Never harm your dog.
- Address your dog's unique needs and behaviors.
- Empower you to build a healthy, loving bond with your dog.
- Use positive training methods.
- Teach you how to better communicate with your dog.
- Provide ongoing support and check-in after training sessions.
It takes years of experience and education for trainers to be able to offer all of the above. So how do you find a professional that fits your and your dog’s needs?
"Pawsitive" Indicators of a Good Dog Trainer
Some things to look for when searching for a dog trainer include:
There are various training methods out there, but the most effective is positive reinforcement. According to the American Kennel Service, positive reinforcement techniques “are based on the science of animal learning and have the bonus of strengthening the dog-owner bond.”
Stay Away From:
- “Alpha Dog” or dominance-based training techniques. Dominance theory is based on incorrect assumptions of dog and wolf behavior. Dog behaviorists have proven that positive techniques are the only healthy way to communicate with dogs. Dominant, punishment-based training causes anxiety, fear and aggression.
- Trainers that use choke-chains, shock collars, sprays, and other punishment tactics.
You want to enjoy the time spent with your trainer, so find someone with a happy, exciting personality. You’re looking for a professional, of course, but we are all dog lovers here, so light-hearted attitudes are important. Your dog must connect well with a trainer for efficient learning, so pay attention to how your dog reacts to your chosen trainer.
Stay Away From:
- Trainers that make you feel bad about your relationship with your dog or your dog’s behavior.
- Rude, dismissive attitudes, and trainers that are too uptight.
- Trainers that use harsh words and aggressive tactics.
A dog trainer is truly a teacher at heart, and their goal is to teach you how to better communicate with your dog. You need a coach who helps you connect better with your pet, empowering you to build a strong bond. When the trainer is gone, you’ll be the one giving the commands, so make sure you find someone that is understanding, patient, and committed.
Stay Away From:
- A trainer that does not want to involve you and your family members in the process.
- Programs that only offer board and train -- effective training involves various settings, including classes and inside the home.
- Trainers that cannot explain how dogs learn and cannot teach you how to communicate with your dog.
Dog trainers do not need a license, but there are various education programs available. Look for a trainer that can prove their credentials with experience, education, and certifications. If you have a specific need, such as personal protection or service training, be sure to find a trainer that is experienced in that area.
At Dog Training Elite, our dog trainers are educated and experienced with training dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages. All locations are registered with the Professional Retriever Trainers Association, the International Association of Canine Professionals, and the American Kennel Club.
Stay Away From:
Trainers that cannot prove their education, experience, or background.
All dogs have unique personalities and life experiences that shape their behaviors. A well-qualified trainer offers customizable programs tailored to the unique needs of each client and dog. In-home training approaches are preferred, so the trainer can observe your dog in his home environment (where he feels most comfortable acting naughty!).
You should also look for a trainer that covers both basic obedience and advanced programs.
Stay Away From:
- Trainers that can’t teach more than basic obedience commands.
- A trainer that diagnoses medical issues as reasoning for problem behaviors. Trainers are not licensed veterinarians and should never diagnose a dog. If a medical issue is suspected, a qualified trainer will recommend you speak to a vet.
References and consumer reviews are key to finding a reliable trainer. Ask around at the dog park for good references, and research each trainer or company. Read through customer reviews and take a look at how professional their website appears.
Stay Away From:
- Trainers that have no website or online references, or trainers that have poor reviews.
- Trainers with reviews that mention aggressive tactics, fear-based techniques, and punishment-based theory.
Our Balanced Theory
We base our training around the "Classical Conditioning" model (a.k.a. "Pavlovian" or "respondent conditioning"). This includes developing conditioned or automatic reflexes to commands. In its simplest form (after proper conditioning), when the owner says "sit," the dog automatically sits without thinking about it. Our unique techniques ensure our program is a success no matter what behavior we encounter.
We empower owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.
We deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.
We train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).
We support owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").
We work with all members of the household.
Simplified & Customized
We plan training around the owner's schedule and require only 20 min/day follow-up practice.
Additional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.
We follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.
Our high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.
clas·si·cal con·di·tion·ing PSYCHOLOGY noun A learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired; a response that is at first elicited by the second stimulus and is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.
Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation
At Dog Training Elite, we believe that Service Dogs save lives. It is our mission to make these life-saving companions available to our Veterans, First Responders, Women Survivors, and Children with Medical Needs. Whether it be for PTSD, Mobility Support, or Special Needs, Dog Training Elite works with the Malinois Foundation to heal and empower these individuals with a specialized service animal, a partner in life, and a new best friend.
Trust Your Gut
Choosing a trainer is an important part of being a dog owner, and in the end, you want to choose the professional you feel comfortable with. This is someone that you’ll be inviting into your home and spending plenty of time with! A dog trainer with credentials, experience, and a friendly personality that makes your dog’s tail wag is most likely a great choice.
You also want to make sure you get your money’s worth, so choose a trainer that is invested in you and your dog. At Dog Training Elite, we follow up with our clients even after training sessions have ended. Our goal is to help clients build strong relationships with their pets, and that takes consistent effort. Our professional dog trainers are some of the best in your local area. We cover training programs such as obedience, personal protection, anxiety, aggression, and service dog.