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How to Choose A Professional Dog Trainer or Behaviorist

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A large part of the dangerous dog problems here in The United States are directly related to lack of RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP. A must for all dog owners should be learning to understand how to communicate with their animal. Establishing early guidelines of what is and is not acceptable behavior sets the ground rules for a long lasting, controlled, companion animal. Learning to speak "dog" is sometimes more difficult then it seems. To find a responsible, professional dog trainer, there are several things you should consider.

1.) STAY AWAY FROM TRAINERS THAT OFFER A FREE EVALUATION OR CONSULTATION: . In almost all cases this is just a slick sales pitch to get into your home and rather than evaluate the dog, the trainer is their to give you a sales pitch and a possible high pressure sales job? Real professionals don't work for free; good dog trainers make a good living and usually have a waiting list to be seen. You can't see your doctor for free, you cant see your vet for free, why would you expect to see a dog training professional or animal behaviorist for free. You should expect to pay between $100 to $200 to be seen and evaluated by a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

2.) ALWAYS MEET WITH THE TRAINER FACE TO FACE AND HAVE THEM ONLY EVALUATE YOUR DOG IN PERSON. STAY AWAY FROM DOG TRAINERS OR BEHAVIORISTS WHO SAY THEY CAN EVALUATE YOUR DOG OVER THE PHONE: No real dog training professional and certainly no behaviorist can ethically say they can do an in-depth behavioral evaluation over the phone without meeting with you and your dog. If you have a child or relative with a behavioral problem would a Psychologist say they can evaluate and treat you over the phone; Of course not? What about a car problem, will a Professional Mechanic say they can diagnose the problem with your car over the phone: No way! If your dog has a medical problem will your vet diagnose and treat your dog over the phone, again, no professional will diagnose problems over the phone, and they will need to see you and see your dog face to face. Dog Trainers that don't meet with you first are lazy, and they are hurting for business. Real Professionals will need to meet with you and your dog, they will most often charge an evaluation fee, and good trainers usually have a waiting list.

3.) VERSATILITY: A good dog trainer will use dog training techniques and dog training styles, which are compatible with not only your dog's temperament, but yours as well. Every dog is different, and some dogs respond better to certain training approaches. What works for a Rottweiler won't necessarily work for a Toy Poodle. Recognizing and understanding individual breed traits is important to the success of any training program.

4.) EXPERIENCE: We all know people that have been driving for many years, but still can't parallel park. Dog training is the same way. Don't measure dog trainer's skills by the number of years in the profession. Instead, judge a trainer by what he/she has done in the "dog world", rather than how long they've been doing it.

5.) COST: You get what you pay for in life. Be cautious of dog trainers and dog training programs that are cheap. Price is usually a sign of a trainer's experience, and success rate/results with difficult dogs. When you pay for dog training, make sure you are paying for results…. not a specified number of hours or session. Good dog trainers know that every dog/owner team is different. Some need more time to learn than others. Good dog training can sometimes be a valuable investment. For full training services you can expect to pay between $900 up to about $1900 for in-home training, Board & Train Programs, and dogs with aggression or phobias, can be more. This being said, Make sure you get a written 100% money back guarantee from the trainer or run. Don't use a trainer who won't guarantee their services with your money back. Be a wise consumer; don't fall for guarantees that fall short of giving your money back.

6.) WHAT ABOUT GROUP CLASSES? Try to avoid this for beginning dogs and handlers. The level of distraction that is present in a group situation is seldom beneficial during the learning process. When professional dog trainers train their own dogs they rarely do it in a group setting. They train one-on-one, giving their dog 100% of their attention it's usually best to introduce and teach new exercises and rules in a distraction free environment. Good trainers will teach first, train second and proof with distractions once the dog truly understands what is expected.

Extreme Group Training gives you the owner, and your dog a superior advantage by providing you with Private Lessons in your HOME FIRST. Here we can address specific behavior problems, and also get you and your dog a great foundation of obedience and control; at this point you are ready for our group training and are ready to handle distractions of any kind. We also have the right number of experienced trainers to make sure you get the time and attention needed for success.

7.) HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR A GOOD DOG TRAINING PROGRAM? You can expect to pay between $900 and $1900. In some cases like a board and train or dogs with aggression or phobias you can expect to sometimes pay more. A good dog trainer will usually have a waiting list of dog owners who want to work with them. Your goal should be to work with the best dog trainer you can find, not haggle over price. And in virtually all cases that we've seen, the dog trainers who are charging bargain basement prices are the ones who you probably don't want to be working with in the first place. It's better to spend your money intelligently on a top-notch dog-training program from the start, than to waste your money chasing a bargain and then having to pay more money for a good dog trainer somewhere down the line.

8.) HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE TO TRAIN MY DOG? You should expect your dog to be working and behaving off-leash in 2 to 3 lessons. The biggest fraud in the dog training world, is that it takes years to get a dog working and behaving off-leash. Most so called "professional trainers" will have you do on-leash obedience first, and take between 6 and 18 lessons to teach this. Then they will sell you another training program for off-leash. Most trainers take many months if not years to accomplish what TLC K9 ACADEMY can accomplish in just 3 lessons guaranteed! Don't waste your time and money with an amateur trainer.

9.) SHOULD YOU SEND YOUR DOG AWAY TO BE TRAINED? If circumstances do not permit you to spend the required time needed to train your dog at home, then "DOGGIE BOOT CAMP" training may be your best solution. After your dog has successfully completed the training away from home, you will still need to take time to learn the training techniques that your dog now understands. The trainer should be willing to explain how the training was accomplished and how you as the owner can easily maintain it.

10.) SHOULD YOU HAVE A DOG TRAINER COME TO YOUR HOME? Since this is where the majority of problems begin, why not? Some trainers will conduct the initial consultation on neutral territory to get a truer reading of the animal and allowing for less distractions (i.e. children, phone, dinner, etc…) for the owner.

11.) WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID THE BIG, CHAIN PET STORE DOG TRAINING PROGRAMS: Because in most cases, the dog trainers you'll encounter have very little actual "hands on" experience, and have been recruited through a newspaper ad. Dog training is both an art and a science. There is no way one can become a professional dog trainer without apprenticing under several experienced dog trainers, with varied backgrounds over an acceptable period of time.


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