Sometimes the questions asked involve pricing and scheduling and rarely go beyond that.
Achieving the appropriate training goals for your dog can be a daunting process; however, if you find the right trainer for you and your dog it should help tremendously.
If you and your dog do not feel comfortable with the format or the methodology behind the training then you will not likely to achieve the results you want.
Try asking each of the below questions before making your final decision: Q.
What is your training philosophy? A.
Some trainers use positive reinforcement methods with supplements like clickers or other reward methods.
Some prefer to study dogs and how they communicate in attempt to understand them and train around the way the dog thinks.
Others may use corrective training methods that require some form of correction for unwanted behavior.
Effective dog trainers often use a variety of philosophies to achieve the desired results.
You should know the methods your trainer will use and be comfortable with them before you consider working with them.
What is your educational or training background? A.
Some dog trainers complete a certification program and are ready to get started while others might have years of practical hands on experience and no certification.
Ideally, you would look for someone with classroom and practical experience.
Your dog also might need a specific type of training such as agility or herding so you might wish to find someone with a specialty in that particular reference.
Do not feel uncomfortable asking for proof or referrals from previous clients.
The dog care industry is booming and there are many unqualified people in the industry looking to make a quick buck! Q.
Can I bring my dog in for a free consultation? A.
This serves two purposes.
One, it gives you the opportunity to evaluate your potential trainer as he handles your dog.
Second, it allows your potential trainer to observe how you interact with your dog and his current level of behavior.
If your dog is uncontrollable, aggressive or too timid then the trainer might recommend individual training, rather than placing you and your dog in a group class.
If your dog isn't ready for a group class he will not succeed and he will interfere with the success of other dogs.
The consultation might also yield some items to practice at home before the group class begins.
You can ask all of the scheduling and pricing questions you need to at the consultation if it goes well.
How are classes structured? A.
This goes beyond the dates and times per week, it really refers to the pace of the class and the occupants of said class.
Does your trainer group the dogs by age or by skill level? Are there several options to choose from? Is there a socialization period or is the class strictly training? These are important items to consider when selecting a trainer or a class.
Can I come to observe a class? A.
Some people might think that an in person consultation in addition to sitting in on a class might be too much to ask, but most good trainers would be happy to accommodate.
There is no better way to find out what a class is about than by observing it.
Take notes and ask questions later.
Feel free to add other questions to this list, but please do not limit your decision regarding your dog's training to questions regarding pricing and scheduling.
If a dog has a traumatic experience in the initial training process it might be difficult for him to overcome in the future.
Find someone who understands your goals for your dog and can match those goals with an action plan to achieve someone.
Also remember to have fun during training, but don't be misled by any trainer no matter how fun he seems; training requires work as well.