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How To Spot Good Dog Training

Finding good dog training can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. Sure, there are lots of trainers out there, but they all have their own ideologies and methods. While there is slight variation between trainers, there are some things that are completely non-negotiable when it comes to good training.

Whether you’ve adopted your first dog, have a puppy to introduce to your older dogs, or you want to commit to a board & train program for the first time, DGA has some info we think you should know before choosing a trainer.

How To Know What Good Dog Training Looks Like

There are a lot of dog trainers out there, but not all of them suit you and your dog’s needs, whether that means they have less experience with your breed, ideologies you don’t agree with, or less experience altogether, training with a less-than-amazing trainer could spell B-A-D news for your dog’s behavior. Here’s how to spot a good training program:

  1. They have a balanced approach to training your dog, and they use the Operant Conditioning model. (They should be knowledgeable of the four quadrants.)  
  2. It has to be a good fit: there should be a natural chemistry between you and the trainer, and the trainer and the dog. A positive relationship from the very start is a must.
  3. Trainers understand the training experience from the dog’s perspective.
  4. The facility offers a range of training services.
  5. The trainer is thorough:
    1. Trainer requests a full behavior history of your dog before training.
    2. Trainer understands at-home environment (other dogs, babies, backyard)

 Do I Really Need A Dog Trainer?

We understand: no one knows your dog like you do. But even though that is absolutely true, knowing your dog doesn’t necessarily guarantee knowing how to train your dog. With formal training (or even better, board & train) you and your dog can take advantage of training techniques that you might not have otherwise considered. A trainer can share their expertise and provide important feedback that could be critical for lifelong success.

As the owner, you have a primary role in the training process. In fact, you are the primary trainer in your dog’s life. When your dog comes home, the skills she learns at training will require reinforcement in order for them to stick. Working with a trainer can help you understand how to reinforce these skills in a positive, consistent way.

Sadly, many dogs end up abandoned or given to a shelter because the owner couldn’t train them, or training “didn’t work.” At DGA we believe that if training doesn’t work, it isn’t because of the dog, it’s because of the trainer. To learn more about board and train classes at DGA, take a look at our services.