Are You Hunting For a Good Dog Trainer?

Your retriever mix Buster gives you a run for the money…literally. Several times daily, this energetic three-year-old pooch drags you out for potty walks. He pulls you down the street as you stagger along behind him. Although you’re probably getting a good cardio workout, your dog-walking neighbors don’t go through this. Buster clearly needs some discipline. Your Greenwood, IN veterinarian has referred you to a dog trainer. Before enrolling your canine housemate in a basic obedience class, though, observe the instructor’s performance.

Secure, Well-Equipped Facility

Eighty-pound Buster moves to his own beat. He’s a happy, playful pooch who always seems to be trying to circumvent the rules. He’ll probably attempt to escape the training center, so you’re pleased that the facility has heavy exterior doors. You’re also encouraged to see a sign requiring proof of current vaccinations before students can enter the class.

Expect a tidy training room with an immaculate floor. The trainer should stockpile disinfectant and paper towels for students’ potty accidents. Pet parents also want spic-and-span facilities. Each bathroom should contain sufficient toilet tissue, soap, towels, and cleaning supplies.

Canine/Human Dynamics

You (or another well-known family member) will partner with Buster during class. If your dog hears commands from one person, the training is more likely to produce good results.

Ideally, the course will have six or fewer students. Because the instructor wants to give each team personal attention, she’ll find that easier if she isn’t overrun with dogs.

Respectful Training Philosophy

Skilled dog trainers use respect-based training aids such as head halters, flat collars, and harnesses. You might see treats and toys used as incentives or rewards. Avoid an instructor who brings out negative training devices such as choke, prong, or electronic collars.

Ban the Punishment

A seasoned, confident instructor conveys her commands in a normal voice. Don’t tolerate a trainer who screams or yanks the dogs’ leashes. If she kicks, hits, or otherwise abuses a trusting student, leave immediately.

After class, get details on the trainer’s credentials. If she belongs to a dog training organization, she’s probably serious about maintaining (and improving) her skills. If you’re pleased with everything you’ve seen, sign Buster up for a class.

When Buster next visits your Greenwood, IN veterinarian, he should be a much better-behaved pooch. If your dog needs some structure and discipline, contact us for expert advice.

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