WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins
WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins

HOW DO YOU RECOGNISE A GOOD DOG TRAINER? By Clarissa v. Reinhardt

This is a question we have often been asked, seeing as the number of services on offer has become so large, it's hard to get any sort of overview, and there are still no regulated criteria for professional dog trainers. We gladly recommend colleagues from all over Germany whom we know personally and whose working methods we are convinced of. Some are listed under "addresses and links" (on our web site www.animal-learn.de), others you can enquire about via e-mail.

If you want to look elsewhere, or if you have received a concrete offer from a dog school in your area, this brief checklist can help you to choose a suitable trainer for yourself and your dog.

 

THE TRAINER -

  • Should have a sound education in handling dogs and humans and should be able to prove it any time. Vague assurances such as "…I once did a course…", or "…I know what I'm doing…" are not sufficient!
     
  • Should of course have a broad (!!!) base of specialised knowledge of dogs and should be capable of dealing with all manner of breeds, characters and problems.
     
  • Should honestly tell you if he or she is just starting out in the profession and recommend an experienced colleague to you if he or she feels out of their depth with
    particular training issues. In return, it would be nice if you appreciated this honesty and not saw it as weakness…everyone was a rookie once!
     
  • Must be able to realise when the dog and/or the human needs a break. Very often, both of them are pushed way too far, which leaves them insecure and frustrated.
     
  • Should refuse to admit the dog to a training kennel without the dog owner being involved. The allegedly thorough introduction of between one and five days after the training can never bring across the individual steps by which the dog achieved the training goals to the dog owner, and you as dog owner have no control about HOW your dog was trained. Additionally, there is a huge disadvantage for you: your dog learns to perform the exercises with his trainer and not with you.
     
  • Should always be willing to pass on information and make an effort to communicate the maximum amount of specialised knowledge to the customer. The exercise structure must be explained in detail, your questions must be answered. Ideally, you receive written documents, such as work sheets or a training diary, to enable you to calmly work through and repeat the enormous amount of information at home.
     
  • Should be able - and willing! - to deal individually with each particular dog owner. Unfortunately, many dog owners are not treated with patience and sympathy for their very individual problems during the training. Sometimes they are even cheekily branded as being "unable to handle a dog", or even "too stupid". You should never put up with this. Go to another dog school and, if possible, also make it public how customers are being treated there. After all, a dog school is a service company and should be run accordingly.
     
  • Should of course work in line with the latest research in behavioural science and without using cruel equipment such as Remote Electric Training devices, No-Bark collars, etc. Any and all methods that cause the dog fear or pain, destroy his personality or wound his dignity are out of the question. The blind obedience often still demanded even today says more about the psyche of the trainer and nothing about the psyche of the dog.
     
  • Should be free of any image complex and should not constantly boast about how good he or she is and how bad all the others are. Co-operation and fairness say a lot about a person's character!
     
  • Continuing further education and regular review of his/her training methods should be a matter of course.
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This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).

 

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