How to Find a Reputable Dog Trainer

Did I hear the word "training?"

"Did you just say :dog trainer?"
"Did you just say :dog trainer?" | Source

I have trained my dogs to sit and lie down and want to make $100 bucks an hour!

Be Wary of Unqualified People Trying to Make Money

Everybody seems to want to train dogs nowadays. With the airing of several television shows portraying charming trainers, it is quite tempting to want to try to make some money this way. Truth is, the path to becoming a dog trainer is not that smooth. Yes, it is true, anybody can virtually call themselves a trainer nowadays, but there are trainers and trainers and trainers!

The problem is that there are some unethical people around that print out business cards, publish a website, write a few fake reviews and call themselves trainers. These people may be really passionate about dogs, they may have perhaps trained their own dogs, worked as a dog walker for some time or watched many television shows. But it takes more than that to be a real trainer! We will be looking at the path to becoming a dog trainer, some red flags to be watchful for and some signs of good trainers. This should help recognize the good apples from the bad. Don't just trust anyone to train your dog; rather, do some research and ask important questions!

What are Signs of a Reputable Trainer?

As mentioned, there are trainers, and trainers and trainers. How do you spot a good trainer? There are several things to keep into consideration. Ideally, upon spotting a trainer you should ask several questions over the phone or in person. Following are signs of reputable trainers and questions you may want to ask to ensure you and your dog will be in good hands.

  • History of Training

Not impressed by the number of years the trainer has been training for? Well, at least the trainer is being honest! Of course, everybody has to start somewhere! But even somebody new in the field must have some hands-on training under the guidance of another trainer. A good trainer knows that learning how to train a dog is not something that happens overnight. One or two years working as an assistant trainer may be a humble start, but at least the trainer has put some effort to learn under the belt of a professional.

However, don't be too enthusiastic about the trainer that says he has trained dogs for over 25 years and he looks like a teenager! Some people inflate their years of knowledge in hopes to impress. Yes, if Mary says she has trained for 30 years and she is in her sixties, that makes sense. Unfortunately, it has become a trend to count the years a person has devoted to training his/her own dogs.That does not count, anybody can train their own dog to sit and lie down! Make sure you ask specifically, how many years have you trained dogs professionally. This may considerably cut down the years...

  • Certification and Schools Attended

This is where it gets ugly: there is ultimately no licensing or certification requirement to become a dog trainer! This is obviously a problem because just about anybody can print out business cards and call themselves a trainer! While a lack of certification does not automatically translate into a bad trainer, a certificate along with hands-on experience can really set a good trainer apart. Indeed, certification often demonstrates the will to take the profession seriously, delve deeply into learning theory and the will to continue learning and growing professionally.

There are several schools nowadays to become a dog trainer. Unfortunately, not all are that good. Some online schools allow you to obtain certification online by studying their books and then taking their test. While some of the materials studied are acceptable, a good dog trainer also needs hands-on experience. If a trainer claims to have obtained certification from an online vocational school, make sure that online vocational program was actually combined with some hands-on mentoring somewhere. To make it short and sweet: you cannot become a good trainer by simply reading a few books!

According to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a certified dog trainer may range widely from a person that has studied for 2 weeks and taken a test, to somebody that has studied extensively for years before being tested on his knowledge and skills.

  • Training Methods

There are many different types of trainers across the globe. Find one that is force-free and uses positive reinforcement. Stay away from dog trainers that use prong, chokes and electronic collars or harsh training methods. Also, be watchful for trainers who adhere to old dominance theories and that the use words dominance, alpha and pack leader. Be also wary of some dog trainers who sneak the word positive on their websites when they really are not positive trainers. We will see a list of some methods in the next section.

  • Attending a Class

A good trainer has no problem whatsoever in allowing a prospective client to attend a class. If the trainer appears uncomfortable, consider that he may have something to hide. Actually, some trainers even encourage you to take a peak at classes so you can have a feel of what they are like. If you decide to go this route, make sure you pay close attention and ask yourself the following:

Do the dogs look happy and eager to learn? Note; during the very first class, dogs may be a bit louder and excited; this improves as the dogs get used to being around each other. The people attending should also be enjoying themselves. Training should be fun for both dog and owners.

If there is a dog that is barking or reactive, is the trainer taking any steps to reduce such behaviors? The trainer should be increasing distance between dogs, putting up a barrier, giving a dog an interactive toy or giving the owner instructions on how to calm him down. Note: unless you are attending a "growly class" for reactive dogs the barking should be at a tolerable level.

Is the trainer explaining every exercise well? A good trainer employs different teaching methods so to ensure she meets the needs of different styles of learners. Some people have difficulty learning by just listening and do best if they get to observe the exercise and then practice it themselves. These are called "kinesthetic learners".Some trainers have demo dogs with them so they can show how to do the exercise. A good demo dog should not be a trainer's dog but a dog that has never performed the exercise before.

Is the trainer to dog ratio too high? A good trainer knows how important it is to keep classes in a small number so that she/he can scan the behaviors of dogs and avoid problems. Too many dogs grouped together under the guidance of a trainer may be an accident ready to happen, even if they are on leash. A good trainer to dog ratio also ensures the trainer can give the one-on-one attention dogs and dog owners deserve. Looking for a reference number? Generally, one dog trainer should have no more than 6 dogs, kept at a safe distance. If there are more dogs than that, there should be an assistant trainer.

Is the trainer providing assistance as needed? If you notice a dog owner is struggling with an exercise, is the trainer intervening or is she ignoring the owner and continuing to talk? A good trainer knows that importance of being clear and ensuring the client understands the exercise well. If the dog owner fails to understand, he or she will be practicing at home in the wrong way and this will slow down the training process.

Are children permitted in class? Are they safely kept under control? Policies about children attending classes vary from one trainer and another. Some do not allow small children in group classes , others do only if there is a parent/assistant to supervise such child. Some training facilities have an area designated for children where they can read, draw and play. Some trainers invite children to attend classes as long as they are well-under control and behaving. Children should not be running, screaming and creating havoc. They should not be playing with the agility equipment, client dogs or other items found around.

What training tools/methods are being used? A force-free trainer specializing in positive, reward-based training methods should have dogs wearing flat buckle collars, harnesses and sometimes head halters. Again, avoid trainers that allow choke collars, prong collars and shock collars in classes. Also, for the safety of dogs and owners, flexi-leads should not be allowed. The trainer should allow treats, toys and lot of praise. You want to avoid trainers that resort to abusive methods such as kicking, hanging, helicoptering, leash pops and leash jerks quite popular among old-school yank and crank trainers.

Does the trainer require proof of vaccination? A good trainer is concerned about the health and well-being of the dogs that attend classes. For this reason, a trainer should verify that all dogs participating in classes are clear of communicable diseases and have proof of vaccinations. Rabies, the distemper combination and bordetella are some common vaccinations required. Vaccine requirements may vary from location to location depending on what diseases are endemic per the local vet's advice.

How about continuing education? Ask the trainer if he or she belongs to any educational organizations that encourage continuing education. Some of these organizations include APDT, CCPDT, NADOI and IAABC. Reputable dog trainers know how important it is to continue their education and they therefore attend seminars, conferences, purchase books and network with other trainers. Note; just because a trainer is a member of APDT does not make him a trainer. APDT is not a training school that certifies trainers it is simply an association anybody can be part of if they pay a fee.

How About references? A good trainer will have no problem in having potential clients check references. Past clients, training colleagues, veterinarians are all great references that are willing to leave a testimony about the trainer's skills. Testimonials and references are usually provided by the trainer upon request.

Dog Trainer Ethics: offering guarantees when dealing with behavior problems and failure to refer clients to other professionals if something requires a higher level of expertise is an ethical issue.

A good trainer knows that there are no guarantees when it comes to changing a dog's behavior. Some behaviors may be genetically based and while they can be managed at times, it is also true that some behaviors can never be completely eradicated. So if a dog trainer is advertising or making statements such as " we will fix your dog's behavior problem guaranteed or we will train your dog in three days" be wary! Behavior takes a while to modify and no guarantees can ultimately be made. Guarantees and promises are a red flag that requires caution. To learn more about this read: Can Behavior Problems be Cured Once and for All?

A serious dog trainer should also not be stepping on boundaries designated for other professionals. For instance, a dog trainer should not be making recommendations on how to treat an ear infection and cannot prescribe drugs to use to calm an anxious dogs. This advice must be left to other professionals such as veterinarians and veterinary behaviorists.

*Note: According to APDT, dog trainers tend to erroneously use the title "behaviorist", a title to which they are really not "entitled" to use. A behaviorist is a professional who has a doctorate level graduate degree. For instance, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) is a behaviorist certified through the The Animal Behavior Society. Trainers who are not qualified should therefore not be using the term "behaviorist"- If the trainer is well-versed in dog behavior, the designations " behavior consultant" behavior counselor" or "behavior specialist" are more appropriate. To learn why a dog behaviorist is your best option when dealing with serious behavioral problems read: Why a Dog Behaviorist is Your Best Option when Dealing with Fighting Dogs

Last but not least, take a look at the trainer's dogs. A good trainer should have put some titles on their dogs. Does the trainer have a service dog? Has the dog won titles in the sport the trainer is teaching? If the trainer is teaching basic manners, at a minimum you would expect a CGC (canine good citizen) title. Many dog trainers hang their dog's ribbons and titles earned in the room they teach classes. If the trainer trains outdoors, ask what titles she has put on her dogs. For a list of American Kennel Club Titles visit AKC Titles.

What training method will you choose? See what dogs think!

Clicker trained dogs tend to display bright eyes, wagging tail and happy expression! They tend to be creative and enthusiastically offer behaviors.
Clicker trained dogs tend to display bright eyes, wagging tail and happy expression! They tend to be creative and enthusiastically offer behaviors. | Source
Dogs trained with shock collars tend to display fearful body postures,tense body, ears pulled back and lips pulled back. They tend to fearfully shut down and inhibit behaviors.
Dogs trained with shock collars tend to display fearful body postures,tense body, ears pulled back and lips pulled back. They tend to fearfully shut down and inhibit behaviors. | Source

Types of Trainers

There are ultimately so many types of trainers in the field of dog training, your head may be spinning! This is because a dog can be taught new behaviors in several ways. For instance, you can train your dog to sit by luring him with a cookie, prompting him into a sit by pushing his rump down, capturing the sit when your dog performs it naturally or even shocking the poor dog until he sits. This guide will help sort out the good from the bad and clarify some obscure terms that may pop out here and there on websites, groups and forums. To learn more about the quadrants of positive reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment and negative reinforcement read: Dog Behavior Modification Terms

Balanced Trainers: these trainers are a way in between the compulsion trainers and positive reinforcement trainers. They basically use a “balance” of correction and reward. Wanted behaviors are rewarded, and unwanted behaviors are corrected. These trainers tend to use a variety of tools in their repertoire and use them accordingly. They may, therefore, use treats and then use prong collars.

Clicker trainers: clicker trainers are force-free trainers who use positive reinforcement as their quadrant of choice. They use clickers to mark wanted behaviors the dogs offer voluntarily and reward. Because wanted behaviors are clicked and rewarded, dogs tend to repeat such behaviors. And because unwanted behaviors are ignored, they will extinguish over time. This training method produces happy dogs that are eager to train and offer new behaviors (see picture).

Compulsion trainers: the philosophy is that the dog must be shown who is the boss. Alpha leader, dominance and pack leader are some common words you will hear from these trainer's mouths. Expect these trainers to put a big emphasis on the need to have dogs perform fast with no questions asked. These trainers tend to use positive punishment/negative reinforcement as the main quadrant of choice. "If the dog does not respond to a command quickly enough, a correction must follow or the dog will learn to ignore commands", is their philosophy. Pro-compulsion trainers believe that dogs need some level of discomfort, pain or fear in order to respond. Choke collars, prong collars and shock collars are often used. Dogs obey because they do not want to face the painful consequences.

Cross over trainers: these are dogs who used to train based on compulsion but who have pledged to "cross over" and become more positive, force free trainers.

Force-free trainers: as the name implies, force-free trainers object to the use of force. They train using positive reinforcement and are basically positive trainers that use this term to make it clear they train force-free.

Positive trainers: these trainers use positive reinforcement as their main quadrant. However, the words positive needs to be interpreted with a grain of salt In scientific behavior terms, the word positive simply means "to add" and this word can be used for both positive reinforcement and positive punishment. “Positive reinforcement”, for instance, means to add something reinforcing that increases the chances that a behavior will be repeated. “Positive punishment”, on the other hand, means to add something perceived as punishment which decreases the chances a behavior will be repeated.Some dog trainers, therefore, may purposely use the word positive to attract clients when they do not really use positive reinforcement!

Which methods or trainers are right or use the best methods? Hackles are often raised when trainers compare each other and often there is lots of conflict. Common sense dictates that dogs should learn using the least amount of force as possible. After all, did you enjoy learning with a teacher that praised you every time you got an A or did you prefer that mean math teacher that yelled, pulled your hair and every body hated? Just as teachers are not the same as decades ago (a teacher would get in trouble nowadays for hitting a child on the hand with a wooden ruler) dog training is in the process of evolving as well. And because training dogs is mostly about forming a bond, kind training methods are ideal. More and more trainers, indeed are embracing force-free training methods nowadays and with great results. Dogs trained using force-free, gentle methods are happier, healthier and eager to please!



What are those letters next to the trainer's name?

You may be wondering at times what all those letters next to a dog trainer's name mean. These are acronyms, that is groups of letters that stand for words. These acronyms mostly depict the certifying school. Following are some examples.


ABCDT: This trainer is certified by the Animal Behavior College

CPDT-KA: stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed. This trainer is certified by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers.

CPDT-KSA: stands for Certified Pet Dog Trainer Knowledge and Skills assessed. This trainer is certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

CAAB: stands for Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. This behaviorist is certified by the Animal Behavior Society.

CDBC: stands for the Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Certified through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

CDT: Certified Dog Trainer through the International Association of Canine Professionals

DACVB: stands for Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

Cert CBST: stands for Canine Behavior Sciences and Technology Certificate. This behavior specialist is certified by the Companion Animal Sciences Institute.

CTC: stands for Certificate in Training and Counseling. This trainer is certified through the San Francisco SPCA Dog Training Academy,

KPA CTP: stands for Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. This dog trainer is certified through the Karen Pryor Academy

PMCT: stands for Pat Miller Certified Trainer. This trainer is certified through Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws.

VSPDT: stands for Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer. This trainer is certified through Victoria Stillwell's Dog Trainer Program.

Alexadry,© Adrienne Farricelli CPDT-KA All rights reserved, do not copy!

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Comments 19 comments

Lawrence Da-vid profile image

Lawrence Da-vid 4 years ago

I would suggest if you want a reputable trainer for your pup.....contact your personal Vet's office. Word of mouth gets to the pup doctor faster than a flea can attack.


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

Very good article. Someone at work comments how much he loves his dog and his dog knows that he(the guy) is the alpha male. He acts like that at work too. I wouldn't want him training my dogs.

I love that first picture of the dog. So cute!


alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for the tip, yes word of mouth counts a lot!


alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you wetnose, I love the picture too and have used for several articles, it is so expressive!


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 4 years ago from USA

Good advice! I've always used clicker training myself but if/when we get another puppy, I'm planning to try a professional trainer. Thanks to your wonderful hub, I'll know the qualities to look for and the right questions to ask.


alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you Donna! I am happy you found it helpful!


Dubuquedogtrainer profile image

Dubuquedogtrainer 4 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

Good hub with lots of good tips, Alexdry! Voted up and sharing on my Canine Connection page on Facebook. David, actually vets are not often aware of training methods or practices and often are uninvolved except when they have to be. I do not recommend asking a vet for a referral for this reason. Unfortunately they may refer to the most well known trainer, even if that person is a force-based trainer and/or the trainer that offers kickbacks for referrals. I would not trust a vet's opinion about training unless I knew the vet knew something about training and behavior modification, for example by being a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.


Lawrence Da-vid profile image

Lawrence Da-vid 4 years ago

To reiterate dog training....In Norfolk, Va, I've checked with 4 vet hospitals and all can recommend dog training facilities unless you want attack or K9 in which you're referred to the local police department, and even they will set up an appointment for critical training. Maybe other towns, cities don't stay up to date.


dogfond 3 years ago

Good advice Alexa. Another great hub!


alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, dogfond, this hub is very close to my heart because there are so many trainers nowadays that lack knowledge and use coercion-based methods. A great place to look for trainers using dog friendly methods is the pet professional guild and the truly dog friendly website.


A real trainer 3 years ago

I have always found a balanced trainer best. I think any trainer who sticks to one method and is against others or certain training equip is showing their lack of education. Eg: I don't use clicker training because the dog learns to depend on food and if you don't have any the dog won't listen, or if the dog is aggressive he won't want the food. It's is an example of a compulsion based trained that has never learned anything else but yank and crank.

The same goes vice versa, I don't use choke collars, leash pops, pinches, or shock collars because they are in humane and cause fear and pain.

Translation, I don't know how to properly use these tools so they must be bad.

Basically. If your a trainer you should be able to adapt to any dog, use what works and be open minded. If you have a square peg and a round hole you don't reach for a hammer to bash it in, you make a square hole so it fits.

Also. Many of the certs above take nothing more than a check payable to the organization and answering a multiple choice test.

Try getting certified through NAPWADA, NORT, or USCENTCOM through lackland Air Force base. Those are certs that measure real skill and ability.


alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Mr "real trainer," not necessarily. I actually have found the contrary. I was a balanced trainer before and after embracing reward based methods, my horizon opened as I learned how I can train using my brain more rather than relying on certain training equipment. I train more effectively now and the dogs I train are more eager to learn. And no, with clicker training your dog does not depend on food, if you are savvy on this method you should know that the clicker and the food is faded gradually. If you want precision behaviors this is the way to go. And if the dog is aggressive and doesn't take food, it's simply because he's over threshold. And for your information, no, many of these certification programs are not like you say, many of them require a hand-on approach, hours of apprehentship and training alongside established trainers. They're not comparable to the long-distance learning pieces of papers some online school offer as you're trying to portray --and it's not nice for you to assume so if you're not familiar with these certification programs.


A real trainer indeed 3 years ago

No need to get on the hyper defensive and it might be a good idea to actually read my comments before flying off the handle.

E.G. Means example given..... So my above comment referring to what old school yank and crank trainers say when confronted about using clickers was just that, an example of what they say when they obviously don't know how to do anything but yank and crank and since they don't know how it must be wrong.

As far as your "real trainer, not necessarily" comment well I think the cert authorities at Lackland Air Force Base, USCENTCOM, NAPWADA, and NORT, ATF, And the DEA might disagree. Some of my certs are issued by the government not private industry companies with no regulations. I am currently on my fifth year of deployment in Afghanistan as a K9 trainer/ kennel master for the Department of Defense training PEDD and PNDD teams. ( patrol and explosive detection dog, patrol and narcotic detection dog). I also have worked for the USDA, Department of Homeland Security, and various police departments worldwide.

When training detector dogs, whether it's for customs applications, explosives, narcotics, etc we ONLY use marker training, so yes I am savvy on these methods and know full well that high value food rewards are faded as a part of training. We also use marker training with our patrol dogs. Military and police working dog training has undergone a major crossover using these methods where twenty years ago it was all about compulsion. The result is free thinking dogs that offer independent behavior and problem solving instead of mindless avoidance.

Being educated and using various training equipment IS using your brain. The two most useful and important pieces of training equipment are on two opposite spectrums , clickers and e collars. If used correctly by a trained professional both can utilized in ways most trainers will never see in their lifetime because they are married to one " method or school of training".

And for your information I am very familiar with many of the certs you mentioned and a CPDT- KA is based on a 250 multiple choice test and not on demonstrated skill last I checked.


alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Actually wrong, I was right that you were not aware of the requirements. A CPDT-KA requires over 200 hours of proof of hands-on work in the field and references from veterinarians, other trainers and clients. If you are referring to me since coincidentally you mentioned CPDT-KA, please note that I am not certified by them alone, I am also certified by the Italian School for Dog Trainers and Canine Consultants. This required me 6 months of hard hands-on work, study of canine ethology, health, animal husbandry, behavior and training along with a master dog trainer and veterinary behaviorist and three skill assessed tests that took several days.

The Karen Pryor Academy is another reputable school that produces some of the greatest trainers in the country and loads of the training is hands on.

I can understand your point in believing that balance is the way to go, and as such, I hope you may respect and understand my view, but my feel is that often trainers of working police dogs/law enforcement etc. feel that training in this field requires the use of force-based techniques based on compulsion. However, according to this article by the Whole Dog Journal "a growing number are beginning to realize that positive reinforcement not only produces reliable dogs, it also decreases dog-handler conflict and creates stronger working relationships."

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/14_2/featu...

I used to think that clickers were stupid and I had the right timing to train effectively without them until I attended a workshop and incorporated the clicker for advanced obedience.

Note that I don't feel I ever got "hyper defensive" and if I read your post again, I can't stop to notice already a certain attitude and sense of superiority just by reading your nick name "a real trainer' as if all other trainers are fake, stupid or useless. I respect all your hard work and experiences, but I cannot hide that I 'm not too fond of certain attitudes.


Gabriele Anderson 24 months ago

I really enjoyed your article and almost totally agree with what you are saying. I have been a Professional Master Trainer since 1984, and actively have been training customer dogs since then. Yes, training has come a long way from the force training to positive re-enforcement training. I am what you call a balanced Trainer and involve my customers from day one. I explain all my training step by step. I use what ever works best with the least amount of negative re-enforcement. While I believe proper training does need to be given to customers on jokers and prong collars, I do use them on grown dogs as needed. I do not believe in halter collars, since a dogs nasal cavity is very fragile and does not need to be crushed. After all, the dogs Olfactory is one of its main senses. I never use any of the training collars for puppy training, since they are just learning and should be guided into training through treats and having fun while creating that special bond with their owners.

A good trainer should also study a dogs breed and its natural abilities while utilizing them in training. All dogs and owners are individuals, and one training method cannot be applied to all. A trainer should be open and agile enough to utilize different techniques as needed. I still learn new stuff from customers and dogs every time I train. Also, Trainers should not slam each other, but support each other. There are not enough good trainers out there to handle all of the dogs in the U.S. so I do not look at others as competition. I will say, I have seen more unqualified Trainers in the last view years as I have ever seen. You cannot call yourself a Trainer, learning from Books or On-Line Courses. I have seen too many dogs being abused and even killed during training by other unqualified Trainers, along with customers paying good money for nothing. I am one of view Master Trainers out there and train and certify reputable Dog Trainers myself. They undergo a combination of Classroom, Research, Hands-On Training along with having to learn to teach customers on how to work with their dogs, and finally, a written exam. Once they train six dogs on their own under my direction, I will give them their Certification under my Business, INCTA (International Canine Training Academy). They all have to follow a strict Code of Conduct and are never aloud to abuse dogs or customers. Learning to read dogs, is a must.

It is obvious, that you have not raised many dogs, since you disagree with the pack instinct. That is very important, especially with proud males, large and small. Just watching my puppies as they grow, teaches me about their social behaviors and their pack instincts, and yes, they still live by them. Gabriele Anderson, MBA,MPM,CIPM and Certified Master Canine Trainer since 1984


Gabriele Anderson 24 months ago

I really enjoyed your article and almost totally agree with what you are saying. I have been a Professional Master Trainer since 1984, and actively have been training customer dogs since then. Yes, training has come a long way from the force training to positive re-enforcement training. I am what you call a balanced Trainer and involve my customers from day one. I explain all my training step by step. I use what ever works best with the least amount of negative re-enforcement. While I believe proper training does need to be given to customers on jokers and prong collars, I do use them on grown dogs as needed. I do not believe in halter collars, since a dogs nasal cavity is very fragile and does not need to be crushed. After all, the dogs Olfactory is one of its main senses. I never use any of the training collars for puppy training, since they are just learning and should be guided into training through treats and having fun while creating that special bond with their owners.

A good trainer should also study a dogs breed and its natural abilities while utilizing them in training. All dogs and owners are individuals, and one training method cannot be applied to all. A trainer should be open and agile enough to utilize different techniques as needed. I still learn new stuff from customers and dogs every time I train. Also, Trainers should not slam each other, but support each other. There are not enough good trainers out there to handle all of the dogs in the U.S. so I do not look at others as competition. I will say, I have seen more unqualified Trainers in the last view years as I have ever seen. You cannot call yourself a Trainer, learning from Books or On-Line Courses. I have seen too many dogs being abused and even killed during training by other unqualified Trainers, along with customers paying good money for nothing. I am one of view Master Trainers out there and train and certify reputable Dog Trainers myself. They undergo a combination of Classroom, Research, Hands-On Training along with having to learn to teach customers on how to work with their dogs, and finally, a written exam. Once they train six dogs on their own under my direction, I will give them their Certification under my Business, INCTA (International Canine Training Academy). They all have to follow a strict Code of Conduct and are never aloud to abuse dogs or customers. Learning to read dogs, is a must.

It is obvious, that you have not raised many dogs, since you disagree with the pack instinct. That is very important, especially with proud males, large and small. Just watching my puppies as they grow, teaches me about their social behaviors and their pack instincts, and yes, they still live by them. Gabriele Anderson, MBA,MPM,CIPM and Certified Master Canine Trainer since 1984


alexadry profile image

alexadry 24 months ago from USA Author

Greetings, your program seems what I underwent 4 years ago. A master trainer had us for 6 months, training with a mentor for 200 and plus hours and then undergoing a very selective test written, oral and hands on with a vet, behaviorist and 3 trainers on the board. I want to clarify, that the pack instinct I talk about is the dominance myth that even the APDT frowns upon. I am aware of some form of "pack" going on among dog-to-dog interactions, being more fluid and quite different than the hierarchy Shenkel studies in captivity have shown. You can read more about my thoughts on this in my article http://hubpages.com/animals/Dog-Behavior-Are-Dogs-... I fully agree on your views of providing breed specific training, there is no cookie cutter approach in training dogs and variances exist even within a breed.


juderes profile image

juderes 15 months ago from cebu city, philippines

You can train your dog by yourself


alexadry profile image

alexadry 15 months ago from USA Author

Sure, many can do that, but dogs and owners may miss out many important things that can happen only in classes. If everybody could effectively train their dogs, all dogs would be perfect and all trainers would be out of business:)

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