Saturday, July 11, 2009

Questions for trainers

Being a first time dog owner, I've spent a lot of time looking for a dog trainer. So far I've had good and bad experiences with dog trainers. Our first classes were at our local SPCA, they focused on positive training and building relationships. Marley and I completed all of the classes they offered and I want to try some advanced obedience.

Finding an advanced obedience class that continues using positive techniques is difficult. So far I've encountered trainers that don't listen to me and trainers who have a very different view on positive training.

I suspect Marley was abused in the past and there are many techniques I do not feel comfortable using. For example when I first got her she would cower and cry whenever I touched her collar. Due to this I will not use any technique that involves any pressure to her neck.

I've used the Association of Pet Dog Trainers for information and I've used the Humane Society of the US for guidance.

I've compiled a few questions I currently ask potential dog trainers:
  • What does positive training mean to you? Usually at this point they mention their favorite celebrity trainer, Cesar Millan or Victoria Stillwell. I'm sure if you watch TV you may have seen both shows and may have an opinion on their techniques.
  • What do you recommend I do if my dog is not listening to me? At this point if they say "pop the leash" I know I need to leave. I will not use this technique on my dog based upon suspected abuse.
  • Do I need any special equipment or can I use my harness? This lets me know if they are aware of any small dog needs. It also lets me know if they are part of the "popping" the leash crowd.
  • If I have any concerns with any techniques or if something doesn't work for my dog, can you adapt your training techniques? Basically, I want to know they will listen to my questions and concerns, no matter how silly they may appear.

I also think its kind of handy to take an example of a common problem and see what kind of solution they provide. If the method is compatible with a method you feel comfortable with then this may be the trainer for you.

I'm still looking for an advanced obedience trainer, basically if Marley was AKC registered I would want to work on our CDX. If you know of any trainers who may be able to help, please let me know.

1 comment:

Johann The Dog said...

You are so smart to find only someone that fits with you and your needs. Good for you for sticking to your 'guns'!