What to look for in a behaviourist or trainer

With the ever increasing number of dogs living in our society today there is an ever increasing number of 'would-be' trainers and behaviourists that have little or no experience but see the pound signs flashing before their eyes.

I mean, how hard can it be to be a dog trainer? You see it on the TV all of the time and they make it look so easy. You had a dog 20 years ago and that done as it was told or you might have been to a few classes with your dog in the past.

How hard could it be? The truth is it takes a lot of hard work, studying and investment not only of time but of money as well. It takes years to gain enough knowledge and experience about different types of dogs and methods available not just a whim to make some money and be around dogs all day.

Our dogs are a very important part of our lives, they are a member of the family and when things go wrong it is very upsetting. As caring and responsible dog owners you deserve to know that the people you are trusting your beloved pet to have the knowledge to help and not just a hankering for your money. You are entrusting a much loved family member with someone who has the ability to do more harm than good, that rather than admit that they do not have the knowledge to help you they may push you to re-home your dog unnecessarily or even to have it euthanized. This can and does happen because the person you have put your faith in does not have the knowledge to deal with your dogs issues.

There are several good behaviourists and trainers in our local area with a wealth of knowledge and experience but there are also some who think it is an easy earner. I urge you to exercise some caution and if you are looking for a trainer or behaviourist ask them about their experience, their qualifications AND their insurance. Would you entrust any other member of your family to someone without asking these questions? I doubt it.

When looking at a trainer for your dog then don't be afraid to go along to their classes without your dog and observe. You should look at how the dogs and owners in the class are acting? Are they relaxed and enjoying themselves?

When looking for a behaviourist for a more complex matter then it is even more important that you ask about qualifications and experience, they will be happy to tell you about them as they have worked long and hard to achieve them.

Jo Crosby-Deakin ACFBA (S049) (MT)GoDT MIACE PAACT 112 K9 Solutions

Dog Training & Behaviour