I was just reading a newspaper article about a dog trainer was been arrested and pleaded guilty to Aggravated Cruelty to Animals for shoving one of his own dogs head through the sheet rock wall of his office, body slam the dog on the ground multiple times, and punch the dog with a closed fist. He was reported to animal serves by an employee and given the security camera footage of what took place. The very same facility that claims to have trained over 1,000 to not pull on their leashes and obey their owners as happy well adjusted dogs.
It is clear that not every dog trainer is a good fit for the job or should be anywhere near animals for that matter. Whether you are a fan of pack leader ideas or a fan of positive reward based system or a combination of the two there is a trainer out there that you will feel is a good fit for you and your dog. If you get a bad feeling when meeting a trainer do not sign up for their class follow your instincts. If you meet someone at the dog park who tells your dog needs training take a look at the person’s dog and see what their behavior looks like. If the dog is happy and playful and running with other dogs or jumping in the water to fetch sticks that is a good sign. Its an even better sign that if the person can call their dog to come and the dog runs over happily tail still wagging to say hello to you and your dog. On the other hand if you are out walking your dog and you bump into someone else walking their dog and they say train your dog take a look at what is going on. Why is your dog not doing what is should or displaying signs of behavioral issues? Does this person approach you from behind or on a bicycle with their dog running alongside and never ever stop for any sort of interaction? Does the person tell you to get out of their way when you are walking and minding your own business while they roller blade by with a dog off leash who doesn’t want to listen? Is it the dog that your dog is reacting to or the person? Just like you can determine if someone seems like they would be good to work with so can your dog. It is a bad sign that your dog barks at them when meeting for the first time. Dog trainers are not gods and some might even seem like miracle workers when they help you get Fifi to stop pulling or get Rover to come when called and some will really bond with your dog and you can tell your dog likes them and they truly have a love for dogs.
Be careful when looking for a trainer ask to meet them and see their facilities before signing up. Ask what their policy is for puppy training. Are they letting dogs come to train in group classes if they are under 16 weeks old and couldn’t possibly have all of their puppy vaccine boosters. When asked what you bring to class with you on the first day are you told to bring treats or told don’t you dare bring any treats? Is the trainer used to working with large and small breeds or do they normally work with one over the other. Does the trainer compete their own dogs in dog sports or dog obedience competitions? Yes there should be a policy in place that the dogs are not supposed to play with each other in class but they should be allowed to act like puppies and be happy.