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12/30/13

Train Like a Champion: Are you barking up the wrong tree with your dog trainer?

One of the more important decisions you'll encounter upon getting a dog is not so much if you're going to employ a dog trainer but just exactly what type of person is high on your list.
The notion that dog trainers are universal and can whip just about any breed into shape is quite flawed. Another misconception regarding those who are employed to keep man's best friend on their best behavior is that experience might be a bit overrated and often comes with a price tag worth skipping.
But skimping on a less than renowned, less expensive trainer or assuming that your German Shepherd will immediately bond with a person who only works with a pitbull probably isn't going to end well.
It's paramount to pay close attention to certifications when selecting a dog trainer.
Much the same way you question a personal trainer at a gym before you allow them to plan or monitor an exercise program, you should employ that same inquisitive demeanor when dog training is brought to the table. Simply scraping that hard nosed, selective process when it comes to you dog is doing a disservice to the entire training process.

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And while you're in the midst of checking qualifications and experience of this trainer, you may want to ensure that you get along with them as well. Developing a rapport and having a trainer that includes you in the training process to some degree is an attribute you'll want to see first and foremost.
Keep in mind that this is still your dog, and a trainer who goes over an itinerary or keeps you up to date on progress works the same way an involved teacher would update a parent on how their child is doing in school.
A lack of communication between trainer and owner most likely will end with a dog "graduating" from the school and being handed back to you with little or no understanding of the point A to point B process.
And finally, don't overreach when you're making your selection process. If you're trying to get your dog into the renowned Westminster Dog Show, be certain your trainer is adept at that skill set and isn't necessarily in the beginning stages of their training career. The flip side is employing an A-level dog training pro if you're only in search of stopping your dog from jumping on your guests when they arrive.
In other words, don't bark up the wrong dog training tree and take a long, hard look at exactly what results you want and make a decision that doesn't ultimately pull you in the wrong direction.

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