5 Things You Must Know Before Hiring a Dog Trainer – Your dog’s life could depend on it.  

1)    There is no dog trainer or dog training method that can guarantee 100% success.

Nevertheless, some overzealous trainers advertise a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you use a dog trainer that has such a guarantee you basically give them a blank permission to do whatever it takes to make your dog comply and be obedient. Make sure that you fully understand what training methods your trainer is using. If you want your dog only be trained with positive reinforcement get a written confirmation from your trainer that only positive reinforcement will be used. 

2)    Not every dog training method works for every dog.  

Dogs have unique personalities, characteristics, and emotions. Yes, research has undeniably confirmed that dogs have emotions and can suffer not only physically but also emotionally.  Some dogs are treat-motivated, others love their toys, and some respond favorably to positive verbal feedback. All of these are referred to as positive reinforcement training, which is fun for the dog and very effective for the vast majority of dogs. If you select a dog trainer that only knows how to achieve results through the use of e-collars or prefers, for the sake of convenience, shock collars, the results might be only superficial and your dog might have been exposed to pain and perceived the training as pure terror. 

3)   Board and train arrangements sound like the perfect solution for busy pet parents, but they can also be a rude awakening.  

Boarding your dog for 1 – 3 weeks while you are on vacation and getting a well-behaved furry companion back sounds almost too good to be true – and in many cases it is. Unless you personally know the trainer, have checked references and have a means of checking in on the training progress and the well-being of your dog please proceed with caution when it comes to board and train arrangements.  Good trainers will send you daily video clips from the training progress and keep you informed about any health or behavior related changes of your dog.  In addition, they offer web cam access so that you can check in on your furry family member at any time during day and night. 

4)   Red Flags that You picked the wrong Dog Trainer for Board & Train

  • You are not receiving daily training updates in form of videos, pictures, etc. 

  • The dog trainer doesn’t respond to your inquiries for over 24 hours.   

  • Your trainer is asking for more time to “finish” the training. This can be code for several things, neither of them are good for your pooch. Insist on picking up your dog immediately. If necessary, involve local law enforcement to get your dog back right away.  

  • Your dog appears to be stressed with high-level of anxiety after the board and train and collapses once you are home.  

  • Your dog has lost weight during the broad and train. This could mean that your trainer was withholding food to make the pet more responsive to the training or your pet could have been so stressed by the experience that it wasn’t eating. Other reason could include that your pet has health issues and require immediate veterinary attention. In either case you should not find this out at the end of the board and train period. Good dog trainers will keep you posted with daily updates, so that you can intervene if necessary.    

  • Your dog is more aggressive and on edge and his sweet, gentle nature is gone – maybe even forever.  

5)   Be clear on what training methods your trainer will use

Establish clear expectations that you require training updates at least every 24-48 hours in form of a video or picture(s).  A video update is great tool to stay in touch with what is happening as it will give you the opportunity to see the training progress, which also increases the likelihood that your dog will be indeed trained every day and not just locked up in a kennel for 2 weeks followed by one week of high pressure and stress training.