OK so read about this on another blog and found the story to be a little one sided… I did some more research and found this news report and felt is was a little bit fairer in its reporting. Obviously jerking a dog by the leash is not a good way to train, period! And since my training career started with Petsmart (ending up as an Area Trainer) many years ago I know both companies are positive in their approaches to dog training but approaches are only as good as the trainers that use them. Could it be that this was a renegade trainer that jerked the pup? Maybe, or could it be a pre-exsisting condition as the news report mentions as another possibility? Sure… The fact is you must ask tons of questions and make up your own mind in the trainer you pick. I find that corporate trainers like the big boxes have great and not so great trainers, but also know they offer money back guarantees with their training and if you as a dog owner don’t like your trainer or are uncomfortable with the methods being used, simply get a refund and leave the class. I just don’t want any group of trainers lumped into one group. There is good and bad in everything and it is up to us to make the decisions not others… Hopefully I don’t make anyone mad with these comments but I thought these things needed to be said. Click the link below to get more info on the incident!

As a way to help I am re posting my article on how to choose a trainer below please take the time to read it and share it if you feel it merits that share…
Choosing a trainer for your pet
5 Basic Pet Dog Skills
My training is based around the idea that “Pet Dogs” must have 5 basic skills.
• Basic obedience commands
• Good mouth skills or bite inhibition
• Good social skills (they like people and other animals)
• Good leash skills
• Good understanding of recall or come when called
So there you sit, looking at a list of dog trainers on your computer screen. Your wife has made it perfectly clear…if you don’t get the dog’s “fill in the blank” behavior fixed, either you or Fido are going to have to find a new home. Just how are you supposed to pick a trainer and what is it that you and Fido need to learn? I bet you wish someone had gone over all this stuff before this “fill in the blank” behavior started…it would sure have made your home life a little easier.
Choices, Choices and More Choices
First we’ll start out with that huge computer screen of trainers and just how to make sense of all those choices! To limit your choices look for two things: 1. Does the trainer have certifications; and 2. Are they positive reinforcement based?
Unfortunately in dog training, anyone who wants to can claim to be a trainer and start their own business. If you are hiring a trainer, make sure they are qualified. They should have taking the time to pass a test to gain certification.
There are many trainers in this area who are certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers; the certification they earn is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer or CPDT-KA. An additional qualification is Canine Good Citizen Evaluators. Many trainers also have specializations. Some focus on helping people live happily at home with their pets!
There are many trainers out there, and each will train dogs differently. Who and what type of training you choose is up to you. A great place to start looking for a trainer is The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Look for the APDT logo on the trainers marketing material (ad, website, etc.)
Start with an Interview
As for the positive reinforcement aspect of training, interview at least three dog trainers and for goodness sakes ask questions! This is the only true way to gauge a trainer’s view on how to train dogs. Ask how they deal with pulling on the leash or what techniques they use to deal with puppy or play biting.
Specifically ask about your “fill in the blank” behaviors that are driving you nuts about your dog. One really simple litmus test — any technique that you use on dogs could also be used on kids. So if you are hearing things you would never use or try on a child…in my opinion you have not found the right trainer. Call the next trainer on the list till you find the trainer that relates to you and your dog the best. Let’s face it, no matter how good the trainer is, if you and he/she don’t jive together, then there is going to be very little learning going on for you or Fido.
Let’s Get Started
OK, so now you have picked your trainer, but now you have to choose between all these options of instruction type: group classes, in-home private lessons, one-on-one session with a trainer, formal obedience instruction, pet dog training, and so on. How on earth are you supposed to make this decision?
Well there are several things to consider; cost, time investment, severity of the problem, type of problem and even the location of the problem behavior. For example, if you have a young dog who has had little if any training, group classes are probably the best bet so that you can get the most comprehensive training possible.
Maybe, you have a dog who is very scared of strangers and barks at everyone in the house. In this case, private training is probably best, but you will want it to be at your house so that your trainer can see the problem behavior in the environment in which it happens.
What if on the other hand you have a problem behavior like potty training or pulling on the leash? These are problems that could easily be taken care of through a one-on-one session with your trainer at their facility, and that could save you money! You also have to consider the time investment.
Some behaviors will take a considerable time to correct or manage and others not as much.  A trainer should be there to teach you and to instruct you in ways to correct the behaviors and teach your dog. Dog training should be about fixing behaviors, not starting therapy that takes years.
What About the Cost?
Last, you have the cost factor.  While shopping around for the best deal is a great idea, in many cases you get what you pay for with dog training. Make sure to ask lots of questions including “why are you half the price of most trainers”?
In the end, choosing a dog trainer is a personal decision that you must be
comfortable with. I by no means know everything nor do I claim to, but I can tell you if you follow your head and your heart, chances are you will not go wrong! So get back to that computer screen and grab the phone. Start asking questions, become your dogs advocate and get busy fixing those “fill in the blank” behaviors that are wrecking the harmony of your happy home…Good Luck!

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