The problem with dog training and dog behaviorists is that neither industry is regulated. A person can give themselves any title they want and start charging – even if they have a 100% fail rate. In the London Ontario area there are several people who are good, a few who are bad, and one or two who have given themselves a bad reputation.
How to find a good behaviorist in the London Ontario area
One of the best places to find a good dog trainer or behaviorist is to look on the local dog facebook pages. Not everyone is good with every dogs. I am very good with the bully and mastiff breeds. I love working with high drive dogs. That is why I created the Working Breed Training Program to give dog lovers the skills needed to manage a high drive or powerful dog.
There is someone for everyone. Some trainers are great at helping people win competitions. Others teach classes which give new dog owners the basic competition commands.
Word of mouth is the best bet. Collect about 5 or 6 potential trainers and behaviorist and then start looking for the one who can address your needs.
Know What You Want From Your Dog?
Do you want your dog to walk on a loose leash down your street? Do you want a dog to go with you to festivals, camping, and to dog events like Pawlooza? Do you envisioin a highly trained dog laying at your feet and responding to the slightest command?
Each trainer has a specialty. I know that I get a lot of clients who have large dogs and never owned a working dog before. Many of these people need handling skills. Their dogs may be already trained, but they don’t know how to get their dogs to obey. Or – they are afraid of their dogs.
I also get many reactive dogs that have serious issues. That is why I have 32 x 4’ Plexiglas wall. Emily, on the other hand, works with service dogs and ‘groups.’ We have our own clients, our own specialties.
Know How Your Trainer Trains
There are trainers who promise to fix problems quickly. They may use punitive and aggressive measures. I do not use these because I find they only mask the problem. Instead of teaching your dog a better way to react, the problem is buried, then one day it may explode with devastating results.
Other trainers use corrections – but they train into a void. There is nothing on the other side. The dog is corrected for being bad, but not shown what is good. These trainers may teach the bare minimum, or they may be very good. If your dog has been trained before but won’t listen to you then this may be who you want to handle your dog.
Some trainers train to never slow your dog down, never say no, never stop its progress or performance. Don’t micromanage your dog’s behavior. This may make a great performance dog but you don’t want this dog in a houseful of children.
How to choose a dog trainer who can handle obedience
- Don’t be in a hurry. Many people hire the first person who answers their email or picks up the phone.
- Ask questions. Get to know them. How do they treat their dogs? Will they even let you meet their dogs?
- Look online for reviews and comments. Go to the dog groups and see if they are active in the community. Do they go to dog events? Do they invest in the community, or is it ‘just a job.’
- Ask for credentials. Look up the organizations that certified them. There is no reason for any dog trainer to avoid being certified. The tests are fair, cheap, and readily available. You may also want to see what organizations they belong to. Are they active in the dog world?
- Do they compete and perform? Seriously, if they can’t take their own dogs to the next level then you have to question whether they are serious dog people who put the dog’s needs first, or just looking to pad their bank account.