Things to look for when searching for a training class

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019


K9 Corner

A reader asked how to evaluate a dog training class before she enrolls.

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From my library on dog training and from the Internet, I have come up with the following suggestions from nationally known dog trainers.

Brian Kilcommons recommends going to a few classes without your dog to see if you feel comfortable with the teacher. “Pick a class that is limited to ten or fewer dogs and that uses methods that make sense to you. Both the dogs and the people should be having fun.”

Job Michael Evans writes, “I firmly believe that anyone who wishes to become a class or private trainer should serve an apprenticeship under an experienced trainer.”

Therefore, according to Evans, a dog owner looking for a quality dog training class should ask for the trainers’ backgrounds. How many years they have been training, where they got their instructions as an aspiring trainer, and who they apprenticed under.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers says to look for trainers who use a variety of training methods. “Dogs are individuals and your trainer should be able to respond to those individual needs.”

Robin Kovary, on the Internet, writes: “The American Dog Trainers Network offers the following criteria concerning what to look for:

• An excellent reputation as a trainer.

• Widespread experience. Inquire about his or her background. Investigate any stated affiliations, a trainer lists or any claims to have ‘studied’ with well-known dog trainers or behaviorists, ask for their telephone numbers and contact them to be sure. (A common ploy for some trainers is to attend a couple [of] one or two- day seminars or workshops with a well-known dog expert, then claim to have studied with that person.)

• Humane training methodology and gentle, effective handling skills. Reputable trainers are concerned about their dogs’ welfare.

• Extensive behavioral knowledge. Dedicated trainers keep themselves up-to-date by attending dog training and animal behavior courses, seminars and workshops whenever possible.

• Good teaching and communication skills.

• A sense of humor.

•“[Puts] ethics before profit.”

The Final Solution Dog Training [School], also on the Internet, counsels that the price of the classes should not be the determining factor. “Since there are no laws regulating this profession, anyone that has read a book on dog training can start a training class with little or no experience.” Watch the trainer work a dog, especially his own dog.

The dog should be happy and willing to work for his owner, according to this school.