Quality training for your dog

When you choose a trainer for your dog, you need to ensure that the trainer is reputable, and works for you and your dog. The best way to choose such a trainer, is to go and watch their classes before you enrol. Look for things like:

  • What kind of equipment are the dogs wearing? Harnesses are ideal, but standard collars are fine too.
  • Make sure none of the dogs are on choke chains or prong collars.
  • Look around and make sure the grounds are clean and safe, so that no dog could inadvertently get out of the property.
  • There should be shade and ample water bowls for all the dogs.
  • There should be one instructor or assistant per four to six dogs and handlers, so that everyone gets the attention they need.
  • Watch to see how the dogs are trained – do they use clickers and treats, or just treats?
  • Are dogs ever punished if they do not perform as required?
  • If a dog/handler pairing are not understanding how to do an exercise, how does the instructor deal with that?
  • Does the instructor give clear instructions when explaining the teaching of a new exercise?
  • Do they cater for different learning styles in people?
  • Do they have a plan B, and even C, if plan A doesn’t work?
  • Lastly, do the owners and dogs seem to be enjoying themselves? If not, look for another school, because training should be fun for the dog and his owner.

Wendy Wilson, behaviourist

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