So you need to hire a dog trainer, but don’t know where to start. The process can be daunting with many different options. A trainer’s answers to these questions will tell you everything you need to know about their training methods and if your dog will be protected and in safe hands.

1. What are your methods?

The world of dog training is as diverse as human education. There are 100 different ways to teach a dog to sit! Every dog responds to training differently. Ask your prospective trainer to explain their methods to you – specifically what they do if the dog doesn’t do a command correctly and what they do if they do a command correctly. This will give you a feel for their training style, and most importantly, if you can recreate that training during your daily routine.

2. What happens if I can’t get my dog to listen after training?

“Sparky won’t listen to me but he listens great to you!!” – every client we’ve ever trained. Don’t take it personally; dogs are like human children when they behave badly for their parents but act like perfect angels for grandma on the weekends. What separates a really great dog trainer from the average is their ability to convey their methods to their human clients. If a trainer has a specific plan on overcoming these challenges for after training, then you’ve found a great dog trainer.

3. What types of safety measures are in place at your facility?

Odds are if you have researched dog training, you have found that a lot of dog training services are offered in a board and train setting where the dog goes to stay with a trainer for an amount of time, then is returned to the family. It is really important to tour the facility where your dog is staying and ask any questions you may have. A legitimate dog training company will have no problem letting you see where your fur baby will stay and being totally transparent about their processes and procedures to keep dogs safe and healthy.

4. What is your background and experience in dog training?

Unfortunately, there is no one specific certification or credential that makes someone a dog trainer. There is no law that prohibits Joe Shmo down the street from opening his own dog training business, unlike other skilled professional services such as doctors or lawyers. Many dog trainers can obtain certifications through online courses and never handle real dogs in real-life scenarios. Make sure you research your trainer’s background, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you are unsure about their training!

You are on your way to securing your dog’s future happiness! In the end, use your God-given instincts when interacting with a prospective dog trainer. If the trainer puts you (and your dog) at ease and you feel like you can easily work with this person, then you may have found the perfect trainer! If a trainer does not have solid answers to these questions, move on in your search. More harm can be done than good by hiring the wrong dog trainer.