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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hiring a Trainer - Where to start your search

So we've discussed in detail things to look for when hiring a trainer (and we are not done yet). But how do you even find a trainer to interview and scrutinize?

A Google search for "dog trainer [city]" could yield over 200,000 results.
So do you start by calling the "A's" and work your way down? If you did, your dog might be elderly before you find the right trainer.

Of course you could ask friends, family, vets, etc.. but sometimes they will often report results, not methods and not the actual skills of a trainer.

Example. If I send my dog to a boot camp and out of my site, my dog is shocked, kicked yanked, etc.. till he/she is scared to do anything at all, I might be a satisfied customer because my dog is no longer jumping, barking, etc..

So how do you narrow down your search? You can start searching the websites of certification agencies. Or find some highly skilled professionals who have schools and start your search there.
Does this guarantee you will find a great trainer? No, but this is much better than starting from scratch.

Here are places I where I would start a search

Karen Pryor Academy
Jean Donaldson's The Academy of Dog Trainers
Pat Miller's Peaceable Paws

The above are the top three that come to mind based on what I have read of Karen Pryor, Pat Miller and Jean Donaldson - especially Karen Pryor.

For more serious issues:
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

If your dog's medical issues are so severe that medications (such as psychotropic drugs) are needed, be sure to consult with a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist. Not a vet, not a behaviorist, not a trainer, but a vet behaviorist.

Other places to look
Pet Professional Guild
Truly Dog Friendly Trainers
Certification Counsel For Professional Dog Trainers
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
  --On this site, be sure to note the different types of membership

Once again. I can't stress this enough. Finding a trainer on one of these sites does NOT mean you have a skilled, force free trainer. These sites are just a starting point.  After you have narrowed down your list, then you can start your interview/observation process

More on hiring a trainer here

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