One of the most exciting and fun things to happen in a person’s life is to adopt a dog. Dogs are known for being “man’s best friend” because they are loyal, fun-loving, and provide unconditional love to their owners. Whether you adopt a puppy or a senior dog, the rewards for both you and the pup will be exponential.
An integral aspect of dog ownership is the need for training from a professional dog trainer in your area. While owners may be able to train their pets on their own, it is usually easier and more fun for everyone involved to enlist the help of a dog trainer with ample experience and expertise.
So, how do pet owners find the right dog training expert? The first step is understanding why dog training is important and then being able to determine good dog trainers vs. bad dog trainers.
Why Is Dog Training Important?
Dog training is critical in a dog’s life because it provides your pet with structure and stability when it comes to its behavior. Knowing and understanding which commands to follow from their owners eases any stress a dog may encounter in any given situation.
For example, if you are walking your dog around your neighborhood and happen to see one of your neighbors coming toward you, you may want to have a brief interaction with that neighbor. Being able to give a simple command of “heel” or “sit” to your dog will let him know how you want him to react to the neighbor. It enables you to have a stress-free interaction with your neighbor, prevents any fear a neighbor may have (especially if you have a large dog), and gives the dog a clear understanding of your expectations in that situation.
Good dog training also helps you connect with your dog even more than you already have. By engaging in the same learning activity with your furry friend, you can form an even stronger bond with him. He can see that you are having fun and are proud of his behavior, and he will get great joy from bringing you that happiness. Once the dog training class is over, you and your dog will be closer and happier as best friends. And good dog trainers will help foster that close bond and happiness within the dog training class.
Qualities of a Good Dog Trainer
Training dogs is an occupation that takes a great deal of time and effort to truly master. Dog training and the classes dog trainers require experience and knowledge of behaviors and breeds. No two dogs are identical, so it is the job of a good dog trainer to recognize what types of training techniques will work best for a specific dog and what dog training method to avoid.
If you are a dog owner looking for good dog trainers in your area, here are some qualities you will want to look for while doing your research:
Use of Positive Reinforcement
Professional dog trainers should be using positive reinforcement with rewards based on merit during their training programs. Dog owners should be very suspicious of any dog training classes which do not utilize the power of treats to reward good behavior.
You should reward a good dog with positive reinforcement for good behavior, but this does not mean that the training methods of dog trainers should not also include some negative responses for bad behavior. Removing a privilege from a dog, such as walking off-leash, is a good way of demonstrating that the behavior was unwanted without punishing the dog.
Happy Dogs and Owners
In a dog training class, the owners and the dogs should be happy and have fun. A dog owner may be smiling or laughing during the course, and a happy dog alongside the owner should have his tail and head perked up. Dogs whose tails are tucked between their legs, heads are down, or ears are pinned back are not having fun.
Dog training, especially obedience training, requires time and patience from animal trainers, and punishments will generally only generate fear and anxiety in a dog who could otherwise learn well from positive practices and food rewards. If you observe unhappy owners or dogs in a dog training class, find another dog trainer!
Experience with Dogs, Personally and Professionally
A good dog trainer should have ample experience dealing with dogs on both a professional and personal level. Studying dog behavior and learning dog training methods is one thing, but good dog trainers should also understand how to live with and care for their dogs daily. When you own dogs, you get a much better understanding of how they learn and focus.
When a dog trainer tells you to practice with your dog at home, that person should understand that sometimes the dog will not cooperate and make suggestions for at-home practice that will work for stubborn dogs. That kind of understanding only comes from experience with dogs on a personal level.
Characteristics of a Bad Dog Trainer
There are some characteristics to look out for when determining if the dog trainer you are considering working with is not right for you. A bad dog trainer:
- It makes you and your dog feel inadequate, incompetent, or dumb during class rather than fostering a positive learning environment for all people and dog breeds
- Yells or shouts a lot which creates a tense and uncomfortable learning environment.
- Attempts to use a one-size-fits-all dog training methodology rather than adapting to your dog’s learning style and adjusting the training techniques accordingly, especially in a private training class. Not all dogs learn the same, and bad dog trainers do not account for that.
Contact Our Dog Training Experts in Virginia Beach
If you are in the Virginia Beach, VA, area and are looking for good dog trainers for you and your furry friend, look no further than K9aholics. Each dog trainer at our company has experience and skills to adapt to any dog’s learning style, and it happy to discuss the aspects of good dog trainers vs. bad dog trainers with you.
Contact us today to schedule a private dog training class for you and your best friend!