Find Another Trainer IF ...
The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists who offer the following advice:
How to Hire a Dog Trainer
It is advised that dog owners call, interview, and ideally observe a trainer prior to hiring them.
If the trainer you are considering using falls into any of these categories, you should pick another trainer.
1. The equipment recommended for basic obedience includes or is focused on choke collars, prong collars, or shock collars.
2. Trainers who ban head collars of any kind may rely unduly on force.
3. The trainer instructs you to manage your dog’s behaviors by pinching toes, kneeing the dog in the chest or abdomen, hitting the dog, forcibly holding the dog down against their will, constantly yelling at the dog, frequently yanking the collar, or using prong, choke, pinch or shock collars or electronic stimulation.
4. The trainer believes most or all training is about encouraging the person to be “alpha” and teaching the dog to “submit”.
5. The trainer explains that most dog behavior, for example, jumping on people, occurs because the dog is trying to be “dominant”.
6. A trainer recommends “alpha rolls”, “scruffing”, “helicoptering”, “choking” or any other painful or physical methods as a means of “training” or modifying behavior.
* Please note that having initials after one’s name is not a guarantee of a trainer who will not engage in these practices. To maximize the chances of recommending or using a qualified trainer, the dog owner will need to ask the trainer some basic information, and see for themselves how the trainer treats the dogs in the classes/consultations.
Should your dog ever start to show signs of aggression, fear, anxiety, distress, or any other condition that you find worrisome during training let your veterinarian know. If you ever feel uncomfortable with something the trainer asks you to do to your dog, stop working with that trainer and alert your veterinarian so they can give you guidance.
Not all certifications are the same.
Some trainers are "certified" by the school that they took their educational program through whereas others are certified through independent certifying bodies that are not affiliated with any particular school or program. So a "certified trainer" could be someone who simply took a two-week course on training or someone who has studied dog training and behavior extensively for years and was independently tested on their knowledge and skills. The term "certification" is widely used incorrectly in the field and most certifications are in fact certificate programs. This does not mean that certificate programs are bad and many of them are quite good, but the dog owner should be aware that the term means many different things in this field. Click here for more info and explanations of degrees and designations.