How do I find a legitimate dog trainer in an un-standardized industry?

Choosing a dog trainer is one of the most important decisions you will make for your family, and there is so much controversial info and quick fix marketing that it can make your head spin.

Franchises, trainers, and training collages have no standards holding them accountable.

Yes, read that again: Franchises, trainers, and training collages have no standards holding them accountable.

There is no one you can call if a trainer breaks your dog to measure their behavior or hold them accountable.

There is no standard for the information your trainer gives you regarding your dog. In a world where we push so hard for animal rights…. that all seems to go away when it comes to training, especially if we are already frustrated with our dogs.

So…. now what?! Well, there is plenty of science and research into animal behavior and animal training…..that supports operant conditioning, that animals will seek the path of least resistance, respond to boundaries and conflict, that dogs ARE pack animals and DO transfer dominant behavior toward humans if there is not fair leadership.

TONS OF IT….and, it isn’t new.

Dogs are NOT linear thinkers, they do feel pain and fear. They do understand hierarchy of leadership (genetically), they do want balance and peace in their packs (genetically). They do want to please and have a good relationship with their leaders (genetically). They understand boundaries and can respond positively to corrections when they are fairly taught expectations .Have you ever seen a dog and human interact fairly, calmly, and as a team? Yes?….well…. you and your dog can too. Ask your trainer to explain their training plan specific for your dog and the mechanics of how it works. Ask them about possible side effects from their training method. Ask them to explain and define: positive punishment, negative reinforcement, dominance, leadership, house breaking, body language etc. YOU ARE YOUR DOGS ONLY ADVOCATE FIND A TRAINER WHO WILL ADVOCATE FOR YOUR AND YOUR DOG’S FUTURE.

Ask them who their favorite trainers are….then watch those trainers and see if they are someone you want to learn from. Ask them to explain cue development, what devices they use and when and how they utilize them. Ask them if punishment is used before cue development. Run for the hills if they leave you with a device in your hand to hit, throw, bonk, hang or scare your dog with. Punishment and corrections are absolutely part of training and so are reward schedules BUT overnight, quick fix programs are as real as the Easter Bunny. Suppressing an animal is only tactically sound if you enjoy coexisting with an animal that is miserable, living in fear and doesn’t trust you. A huge part of successful training is relationship and leadership. That does not occur on a first date basis. Any trainer who is worth their salt will put education and the welfare of you and your dog before their ego….they should be open to regulation (if they have nothing to hide) and they should have mentors to answer questions that they may not have answers to. They should not be afraid to explain that training takes time and may include challenges. Unfortunately, the people spreading the most information are not always the most educated, they are the best marketers.

With that said, I am mentored by Mike D’ Abruzzo at K9-1. He is leading the way in fighting for industry standards and teaching science based dog training. Dog training that can be replicated by owners because it makes sense, feels good and doesn’t require a magic wand.

About K9-1 and the Foundation Style Dog Training System