You may have seen on the news recently about a Ft. Myers man who claimed to be a certified dog trainer was abusing his customer’s dogs.  He had never even stepped foot in a training school, yet he was able to convince people that he was a licensed and experienced dog trainer.  What could compel a person to put on such a charade and commit such heinous acts is something we can barely understand.  But what we can do is make sure how to find a good dog trainer to ensure our pets are learning from and being treated the best.

What to look for:

You can check out any prospective trainer on The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) website. They not only have a great non-biased database of registered trainers, they also have some great resources to help you find the best trainer in your area.  A lot of good trainers will have references that you can check as well.  Also, during the class, make sure they do not yell, choke, tug or frighten any of the dogs.  Instead, they should withhold treats or praise and ignore undesirable behavior in place of chastising your dog.  When possible, family members should be able to participate in the training to reinforce the training for both the pet parent and the pet. 

Questions to ask:

  • What is your educational background in training and canine behavior?
  • What method(s) of training do you use?
  • Do you engage with continuing education?
  • Are there any special services you provide (competitive, therapy, or service training)?
  • To what (if any) professional organizations do you belong?
  • Do you have any certifications?

It can be hard to decide who to trust, especially when you are leaving your loved one in the care of a new stranger.  If you have any doubts, double check references, stay for class and if you have to, take your dog out as soon as you think something may be amiss.