We know that dogs are our best friends, but sometimes our dogs need a gentle nudge in this direction. After all, at their core, they are still untrained animals.
This can be particularly true if you have a newly adopted dog or have a younger dog and are looking into puppy training. It can also be necessary if the dog is going through a stressful time, such as adapting to a new living environment.
If you want to give your dog this gentle nudge, you may be looking for the perfect dog training program near you.
What makes a good dog obedience training program is a good dog trainer but unfortunately, not every trainer can connect with every dog. You need to pick the right trainer for your dog because we all want the best for our pooch.
Follow this easy guide to find the best dog training program for you!
Qualities to Look for in a Professional Dog Trainer
A good trainer can make communicating with your dog more comfortable. They can help by teaching your dog obedience or by doing away with bad behaviors.
Before finding your perfect dog trainer, you will need to know what your goals are.
This means you have to know what you want your pet to learn. This includes listing any bad behaviors that you want to eliminate, as well as any good ones that you want to see your dog exhibit.
We want different things for different dogs. Maybe you are looking for service dog training or for therapy dog training.
Maybe you are looking for protection dog training, or perhaps it’s just your basic obedience training.
In addition, you will need to consider your own ethics and philosophy regarding dog training, as it will affect your choice in a trainer.
For example, dog trainers are generally put into two main fields: classic trainers and positive trainers.
A classic trainer is going to lean towards older, tried and true methods of training while a positive trainer will focus more on positive reinforcement.
It is essential to work through your own ideas and expectations before seriously searching for a dog trainer because your dog is your best friend.
You want a trainer that is a good match for your dog and a good match for you. You shouldn’t settle for second best.
What Questions Should I Ask a Dog Trainer?
Once you have come up with your own expectations from a dog trainer and found a few suitable candidates, it’s time to start asking questions. There are a few key questions that you should ask.
You should have these questions for your prospective trainer prepared in advance.
These questions can address everything from their own values, training history and experience, to what they think they can do individually for you and your dog.
What Is Your Personal Training Philosophy & What Methods Do You Employ?
Every experienced trainer should have their own training philosophy, often built from their experience as a trainer, what school of training they belong to, where they learned, and even their own experiences as a pet owner.
Finding a trainer whose own philosophy and ethics match yours is important.
This includes training techniques used, methods of reward and punishment, as well as goals and what constitutes a well behaved and obedient dog.
It is important to discern your trainer’s philosophy, as well as to assert your own personal views, on a number of important points.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Alpha Dog & Dominance Training
- Treats and Other Positive Reinforcement
- Clicker Training
- Electronic Leash Training
- Choke or Prong Collars
- Model Rival or Mirror Training
- Relationship-Based Training
Training methods are deeply rooted in training philosophy. The techniques you would like to see employed with your dog and the training supplies used should be the ones that your prospective training course regularly offers.
Besides, your trainer should be flexible and have a variety of different methods in case something does not work. Not all dogs learn the same way, and this should be fully understood.
What Is Your Preliminary Assessment of My Dog?
Before deciding on a dog trainer, you need to introduce them to your dog.
This means letting them spend a little time with the dog, as well as giving them a thorough overview of what you want them to achieve with your pet.
After this, you should ask for an initial assessment.
Here, the trainer should be able to walk you through their expectations for your dog, what techniques they will use, as well as the expected eventual outcome.
Although there are a wide variety of things you should watch out for in this step, the basics boil down to three things.
- You want your trainer to have a solid plan and positive expectations for your dog.
Remember, the most important quality of a dog trainer is a willingness to be honest with you about your dog. A trainer that simply says they can train any dog or can achieve outlandish results will not be helpful.
- Look for a dog trainer who is going to be completely honest with you, even if this means they tell you that they will not be able to do what you ask of them with your dog.
An honest trainer will be able to tell you things that you might not want to hear but are in your best interest to know and understand.
Beware of dog trainers that simply tell you what you want to hear to get your business.
- Also, the trainer should be able to give you a thorough read on your dog. The inability to give an initial read could be a warning sign that they have trouble reading dogs in general, which could affect training success.
Are My Expectations for My Dog Achievable?
As a dog owner, you’re a little biased towards your dog. Your expectations could be overblown, or they could be too small.
The point is, you want to know if your dog can really learn everything that you want him to.
For instance, you might want to train your dog to be accepted into a pageant, or you want your dog to be great around a newborn baby, or maybe you’re just looking for basic obedience training.
The expectations of each dog owner are different, as are the abilities of every dog.
You want your dog trainer to be as upfront with you as possible regarding the abilities of your dog.
If they aren’t, you could wind up disappointed, and the trainer could be frustrated because they were not aware of your goals.
Do You Have Any References?
Hiring a dog trainer is no different than hiring anybody else. You want references and referrals. You want to check out the trainer’s certification.
In most cases, this is a pretty easy task. Generally, good trainers are more than happy to supply you with these referrals.
In fact, you might get more than you bargained for, and the trainer may bring it up to you, rather than you having to ask the question.
What Can I Do to Help With the Training of My Dog? How Can I Be a Part of the Process?
Top dog training is not just about the trainer or just about the dog.
You have to be involved as well and to maintain the work that the trainer does, you have to be part of the process from the get-go.
Trainers will use different techniques. Some want to work with the owner and the dog together. Others just want the dog to be dropped off and picked up by their owner so that the trainer can work with the pet one on one.
Both of these techniques are valid, depending on what is desired by the client.
Remember, even if you are using the ‘drop your dog off for a few hours’ method, there are still bound to be things you can do at home to reinforce what the trainer is doing.
You want to be aware of these things, and you want to follow through with them.
What Kind of Dog Training Program Do You Prefer?
There are a wide variety of different kinds of dog training programs.
The one that is best for you depends on your training goals, your dog, your personal schedule, and the level of involvement that you personally as the dog owner would like to have in the process.
If you have already found yourself a trustworthy trainer, your best bet may be asking for advice.
A good trainer should be able to tell you what sort of training program will best suit your dog, your training goals, and your personal situation.
Dog Boarding and Training
Generally, dog boarding situations are best for cases of serious misbehavior or pet owners who simply do not have the time or energy to keep the dog at home during the training process.
Often training centers offer a two or three-week dog training program.
The 2-week dog training program is often for more straightforward cases, while the 3-week program is for more complicated training.
In the case of dogs being trained for service, protection, or therapy, these training programs can be even longer.
In a boarding and training program, the trainer will exercise, socialize, and train your dog, as well as expose it to different environments.
Some board and train programs are ‘in-home,’ meaning the dog lives at the trainer’s house. Others are ‘kennel based,’ meaning the dog spends their time in a kennel.
There are several basic advantages to board and training programs. They include:
- Most of the actual training is done for you
- It’s a good solution if you are out of town or otherwise very busy
- Being placed in a new environment often helps a dog be open to learning
Personal Dog Trainer Home Visit for Specific Training Sessions
For the more hands-on dog owner, most trainers and training programs offer in-home sessions, often sold in packages of a series of sessions.
This allows you to be much more involved in your dog’s training, and for the trainer to give you more points, remarks, and tips regarding your own behavior with your dog.
As the trainer is working in your dog’s home environment, this also generally allows for a more direct assessment of the dog’s behavior.
For instance, if your dog is used to stealing food off of the dinner table or begging, the behavior can be addressed in the very same room where it happens.
At-home training is regular, particularly when training a puppy or young dog. It allows the dog to get used to its home environment in a positive way and instills good behavior from the get-go.
A number of basic advantages to home visit training include:
- The dog is learning in an environment where it will be expected to exhibit new behaviors
- Flexible hours and hands-on for the owner
In Class Training Programs
An in-class training program is another option for more hands-on pet owners. Similarly to home visits, it is often sold in packages of several classes.
Also like home visits, it allows more time for the trainer to work with and advise the dog owner themselves in addition to teaching your dog.
Often classes are aimed to teach a particular theme or idea that many dogs need to learn and that a group of dogs can learn together.
This means that time spent individually with your dog and their specific needs is more limited.
There are a number of advantages to this approach:
- Less expensive than home visit training
- You have the ability to converse, observe, and learn with other dog owners
- The dog is helped to socialize correctly with other dogs
Top Dog Training in the Phoenix, Prescott, and Northern Arizona Areas
Picking the right trainer or training program for you and your pet can be an involved process, but in the end, the most important thing is finding a trainer that you trust with your dog.
There are a variety of dog training programs in the Arizona area, but one of the best is Armor K9 with locations in Prescott Valley and Phoenix, AZ.
Our trainers at Armor K9 specialize in a number of different dog training programs for nearly every training situation.
You will love our In-Home Sessions. The Essentials Package focuses on essential behaviors and instructs you on how to duplicate our results and how to become the best leader for your dog.
We will personalize the program for your dog of any age, size, breed or behavioral problem.
The Cutting Edge Package includes all the training included in the Essentials Package coupled with advanced training for your dog.
We also offer a Board and Train option for owners who do not have time or energy to train their dogs.
Your dog will come live with us for up to three weeks during which time we will train, exercise, socialize, and expose your dog to the appropriate environmental elements.
We will deliver back to you a dog you can be happy to own, proud to show off and enjoy living with.
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