How to Choose a Dog Trainer

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Dog Training is Unregulated

Did you know there are people out there claiming to be dog trainers with no certifications or education?

Did you know there is no legislation to stop this from happening?

Did you know there are some certified dog trainers that use outdated methods?

Don’t panic. I mean, panic a little. I need you to panic. That way you will look just a little closer at who you hire to train your pets, so they can become the loving family members you envision them to be.

How can you trust us?

Just like choosing a babysitter for our children this decision can be stressful. When you know what to look for there’s less stress.  That’s where we come in. Now how can you trust us? What’s to say we know what we are talking about? Did you see the images at the bottom of the page? Those certifications show how much investment we have made in our education.

Need help finding the dog trainer your dog deserves? Check this out!

I mean wow! This is not me bragging. I’m brand new to the industry and have only earned two of those badges. The rest are Tara’s. She’s been in the industry almost 10 years now. She has seen many sides to dog training and has read over 300 books. Just don’t ask her about it, she will downplay it like a popstar who’s hit song is about how they “don’t fit in with the cool crowd’. My point is, look for these types of certifications on your local dog trainer’s website. If you don’t see a certification on their website, chances are they don’t have one. Certifications aren’t cheap! You best believe we are going to wave our badge everywhere we can! If you see a badge and don’t recognize it, google it, check the methods, make sure it’s a positive reinforcement-based certification. Check the about page, or methods tab like we have here on Real Pet Behavior. Study pictures to check and see if the dogs are wearing harnesses or regular collars.

Remember those outdated methods I mentioned earlier?

Shock collars, prong collars, choke chains, and pinch collars are still used by some in our industry. These tools often appear effective immediately, but unfortunately can result in what trainers call “fallout”. Dogs often shut down and stop offering behavior, and this includes that adorable spin before going out to potty. The use of these tools may also cause aggression as a result of being hurt by the tools and associating this pain to the humans that used them.

What if I told you that training our way, using reward-based training, would be just as effective and you’d never have to jerk, pinch, or shock your dog again? You wouldn’t have any of the risks associated with using these tools.

Ready to find a trainer?

To make this decision easier we have designed some questions you might want to ask your next dog trainer with some keyword answers you want to listen for. Emailing us at woof@realpetbehavior.com with your city enclosed is always an option. You can always talk face to face with us via virtual consults.

Now get out there and start training your dog!


Samantha Brown, Victoria Stilwell Graduate

Sam graduated with Distinction from the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy.  While completing her studies she mentored under Tara. She is a Fear Free Certified Professional and is continuing to seek other ways to expand her knowledge base. Her background as a professional comedian compliments her skills as a trainer.  She volunteers at the local shelter and specializes in day training, kitty kindergarten, and class creation.

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