Professional dog training is actually a confusing term. Professional trainers can be almost as varied as breeds of dogs. There are many ways to become a professional trainer and many different methods or approaches to training that may be applied.
Seeking the services of a professional trainer can be quite helpful, particularly if your dog has a specific issue you need to correct or if you want to work in a specialized area like agility competition or service work.
Before hiring a professional trainer it is important to understand what the job entails so that you can be sure you are hiring the best-qualified person for the job. Trainers can apprentice with an established trainer before breaking out on their own or they may decide to go to school and get a degree in animal behavior. Still others may have started out working in shelters or competing in dog sports themselves before deciding to focus on training.
All of these are acceptable paths for entering the world of professional dog training. There is no one standard for becoming a trainer, nor is there any required certification or licensing. Some trainers may receive certification through organizations like the SPCA but that doesn't necessarily make them any more qualified or skilled at training dogs, so you should never choose a trainer based solely on the letters that follow his/her name.
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Watching dog training videos created by professional trainers can be a great way to get the information you need at a very reasonable cost.
More important when it comes to being a professional trainer is the method that is employed. There are various schools of thought when it comes to training, with some individuals believing that a heavy hand is required while others rely on positive reinforcement in order to teach behaviors. Professional trainers may fall anywhere on the scale between these two extremes and there is no one "right" or "wrong."
Selecting a trainer is a personal choice and you need to think about yourself and your dog and what will work best for you. Different dogs will react to training differently. Even the type of reward given can vary depending on the breed. While food or treats work for most dogs, more athletic breeds like the Australian Shepherd might respond better to a toy or a game of tug of war.
Professional dog training involves taking all of this into consideration and being able to tailor one's approach to fit the circumstance. Any trainer worth their salt will understand this and will be able to adapt to the situation they're facing. The ultimate goal of training is to get the best out of each dog and that means doing whatever it takes to achieve that end.
As a responsible dog owner, you should do plenty of research before selecting a professional trainer. Any trainer whose approach makes you feel uncomfortable will likely not be right for you. Often the best way to determine whether a trainer is good or not is by talking to other clients and finding out if they were satisfied.
Remember, getting the most out of your dog is important and that might mean looking into professional dog training. If you do decide to go this route, do your homework and find a trainer that you feel confident in. Making the right choice of trainer can make all the difference for you and your best friend.
Another great choice is finding a professional dog trainer online like, the aptly named "Online Dog Trainer," or "Doggy Dan" as he is known. His training program features hundreds of video lessons that are available whenever you need them and at a pace that works for you.
He even provides access to his full membership site with a trial of 3 days for $1 so you can check it out and see the incredible range of lessons available from foundation obedience material to specific behavior problems you are dealing with.
I would also recommend signing up for his free 4 video dog training series. This will introduce you to Doggy Dan and his approach to dog training (which is loving and never involves raising your voice or using physical punishment).