You’ve decided that your pet would benefit from a trainer, but how do you go about finding the right one? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as doing an internet search and choosing the one that’s closest to your home. To help you find the right person to help you and your pet reach your training goals, we’ve put together a list of five key questions you should ask any potential trainer.
1. Determine what type of training you are interested in
What are your training goals? Do you want your pet to learn their basic commands, a new set of skills, or perhaps overcome negative behavior? The answer to this question is a good starting point in your hunt to find the right trainer for your pet. Trainers often specialize in different areas of obedience so for the most effective results you’ll want to find one that matches your training goals. This is also a good time to learn more about their training methods. The positive reinforcement approach is a popular training method, where pets are rewarded for positive behaviors (such as with their favorite Freshpet treat
) and negative behaviors are redirected – but this isn’t the only approach to training out there.
2. Ask about their qualifications
Pet training is an unregulated industry, which means anyone can enter the market – this makes it even more important to do your research before you choose a trainer for your pet. Before you pick a trainer, ask them about their training background and any credentials they have. Were they formally trained, did they learn through an apprenticeship, or were they self-taught? One is not necessarily better than the other, but you may be more comfortable with a trainer with formal training versus a self-taught trainer or vice versa. Most importantly, take a look at recommendations or reviews from past clients.
3. Ask if they take part in any ongoing continuing education
Like any other profession, the world of pet training sees changes and advances each year. To stay up-to-date on the newest trends and techniques, trainers can attend industry events or partake in courses. This enthusiasm for continued education and the application of new approaches to training shows that they are committed to providing the best services to their clients.
4. Ask about the training environment
Depending on your training goals, your pet may be more suited to one type of environment than another. Trainers usually offer the option of both group and private lessons, but this is always something you should inquire about before you make a decision. The teaching of basic commands is easily done in a group lesson, but dealing with more problematic behavior often requires one-on-one attention and a more strategic training plan.
5. Ask if you can observe a class
If you want to see a trainer in action before you make a decision, ask if you can observe a class. Even after doing your research and speaking with the trainer, there’s nothing like seeing them do their thing for real. After this, you should be able to more easily determine whether or not they’re the right trainer for your pet.
The more research you do and questions you ask before you choose a trainer, the better the chance that you’ll find the perfect one for your pet. Even if you ask all the right questions, but still don’t feel it’s the right fit, that’s okay – this experience can help you ask more specific questions as you continue your search. Finally, if you’re struggling to find a trainer, your veterinarian is a great resource; they should be able to provide recommendations for trainers in your area.