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Infinite Pawsibilities

  • Writer's pictureCharles Pennefather

Five Signs Of A Good Dog Trainer

Selecting a good dog trainer is important – your dog’s life depends on it! How does one identify a good trainer, though? We have traditionally relied on word of mouth, but here are five signs that will tell you a dog trainer is a good one. For the sake of brevity, we shall be using male pronouns.



His relationship with his own dogs.

Ask your prospective trainer about his own dog ownership experience, and experience as a trainer. Don’t be shy to ask for videos of those dogs – in all likelihood you won’t have to ask, since there will be ample evidence of this on social media. If your trainer has never been a pet parent, it is quite unlikely that he will understand the problems you will face or are facing fully. If the trainer does not have a good relationship with his own dogs, how can you expect him to develop a strong bond with yours, or teach you how to form one?


The willingness to learn and share knowledge.

Knowledge is an ever-evolving commodity, and everyone knows that they need to keep abreast of developments in their field to make sure they are best equipped to discharge their duties. A few simple questions about how your trainer keeps himself current in the field of dog training will tell you a lot about how passionate he is about his profession.

True students of learning also know that knowledge only grows when you share it; unlike money in the bank, it doesn’t earn interest if you leave it untouched. If your trainer is unwilling to share basic information with you, that is a red flag. Without appropriate knowledge you might undo any good work the trainer does, thus making the training a waste of your money and everyone’s time, including your dog’s.


He will not want to train your dog indefinitely.

Good trainers know how to hand over the knowledge of ‘maintenance’ to the owners. After all, the dogs need to ultimately listen to the owner, not the trainer. A good trainer will consider himself a success if his trainee graduates ASAP, and the owner has the ability to keep training the dog to retain the good habits developed. A trainer that says training is an indefinite process and that isn’t willing to set goals and discuss progress and updates with you regularly is someone to be wary of.


The relationship with your dog after a few sessions.

Once you’ve employed the trainer, observe how your dog greets him when they meet for the training session. You might not be home, but whoever is home can take a video for you. Dogs never lie, and the behaviour your dog exhibits will tell you all you need to know about their relationship. If you are unsure about how to interpret your dog’s behaviour, a quick consult with your vet will help, all it will take is for your vet to have a look at the video. You will then know whether to stick with the trainer or terminate his services.


Knows that dog training has a large human aspect

A dog can be trained relatively easily; it is humans that require far more effort. A good dog trainer will want to meet the owners, observe how they interact with the dog, and offer guidance on how to adapt their behaviour to make sure their dog has the best possible life. He should be able to explain that all learning requires practice, and that the owners will have to keep the dog practicing. He should also be able to explain his methods clearly and concisely so that the dog benefits the most.

A good dog trainer will also have the ability to recognise when training a dog will be an exercise in futility because of habits the humans might have, and be able to explain this to the family without being offensive. The best dog trainers are the ones who can get the owners to understand what dog training involves, and get them involved so that the dog achieves its training targets and maintains them for the rest of its life.


Now that you know what signs to look out for in a trainer, go get the best one for your pooch, and both you and especially your dog will reap the benefits of it.

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