For those who persue training with their dog…?

Pittman & Davis

Question by Shadow’s Melon: For those who persue training with their dog…?
So everyone had to learn from some place how to train there dogs. I’m sure some had the benefit of growing up close to family or friends who shared a weath of knowledge.

I wonder, for those who did not have that nice little bonus, how did you find a suitable trainer to help you learn what to do in training your dogs. Did you at first, make a bad choice and go with someone less than experienced/reputable? How did you find that gem who guided you in learning how to train? What kind of resources did you use to find that person and/or people? Was the Yellow Pages even an option? Did you use just one instructor or did seek out training with a few different trainers to learn different methods/techniques? Does a trainer need to be researched to verify they actually know what they are doing?

With so many suggesting the “pet supply store training classes” (ugh), I just wonder if some really think it that hard to find a good trainer?
I found my trainer my contacting the local agility club, who suggested this woman because in her puppy class, she did mild introduction to agility equipment, like tunnels, low teeter and dog walk. After going to the first class, I told the instructor I was interested in persuing beyond the puppy class. She informed me there was a competition obedience class beginning in a month, but that I would first have to show, in the puppy class, that I was serious about training my pup and that would show in our progress. She did not want to waste her time with someone who wasn’t serious about training and I am glad she was like this.

We did well, got into her class and have learned so very much from her years of experience. She has UDX titled her Dals, as well as done agility and confirmation. She’s a well rounded instructor, who is always learning new things when she can (seminars, etc…) and we’ve been very pleased to learn from her.

Best answer:

Answer by Lisa
I researched obedience classes taught in my area online, and got a recommendation from the no-kill shelter that I picked my first dog up from.

They provided copies of their certification, and references from happy customers, as well as letting me attend a session as an observer before signing up.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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20 comments on “For those who persue training with their dog…?

  1. my Vet Tech has 3 large breed dogs – a weimereiner, a rottie and a dobie and she trained with a local trainer here and my vet recommends that person for training. When I arrived with my “first dog of my own” in his office and mentioned training, he recommended this person and suggested I speak with the vet tech as she has been through many many classes there with her dogs. I went out and was sold.

    So I was Lucky. he he Very Lucky.

    hey – today is Lucky’s THIRD birthday!

  2. I was fortunate enough to have a mentor. I also took it upon myself to research.

  3. Well my answer to every one of your questions is no… As far as I am concerned all the dogs in my life from the time I was born take the credit for teaching me how to teach them. I have never had a mentor, professional trainer or anything at all.. just me and my dogs and all the accumulated life experiences with them. I guess it worked out pretty good because I can teach my dogs just about anything… Funny too all the tricks and stuff and commands just came to me, not many people I knew taught their dogs much more than sit and down. It was the dogs who taught me that they liked to learn and by paying attention I guess I figured it out just how to tell them what I want. Don’t get me wrong I am still learning.. every dog has a new lesson for me and my dogs teach me things every day. For me it was the dogs in my family and friends that shared their knowledge.

  4. I went to the library to read the training books. I like the books and tapes by Ian Dunbar…

    The I looked for trainers who were certified by his Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) group….
    http://www.apdt.com

  5. I know several trainers within the rescue network. When I needed one for my recently adopted dog, I contacted them and asked for referrals. We begin tomorrow and I am very excited about learning how to help my dog learn his manners =D This trainer and her colleagues focus on clicker training methods — no chain collars, etc. (He will be using a Gentle Leader due to a tracheal problem, so that’s not a problem)

    For my other dog, I took her through group obedience lessons offered through a very active local training club, mostly AKC volunteers. This training club was based on more conventional methods (chain and pinch collars, positive reinforcement, some luring, etc.)

  6. I actually originally started training from a book (The Koehler Method of Dog Training) and titled a couple of dogs with that. Then I started working with the neighborhood dogs, and I was working with an Irish Wolfhound that needed socializing. I’d been to a fun match at a training club, so I called and asked if I could bring the dog to socialize up there. I went and enjoyed watching the classes and was invited to join in, and then I signed up for some. The trainer/owner was an excellent “old style” trainer who loved the dogs and could really get them to work for him, so I was fortunate to have found a good place to train. I ended up attending most classes and assisting with quite a few.

    I started moving on with my training methods when I read Winnifred Strickland’s book, followed a few years later by Diane Baumannn. Eventually the orignal trainer and I had a falling out (not training related), and I moved on to another club. I’ve worked with several different instructors and learned a variety of techniques, as well as continuing to read on the subject.

    I was also pretty lucky when I started doing agility, I’d heard the facility recommended so I gave them a call and asked about training a basset hound. The instructor’s reaction was “kewl!” We recieved excellent instruction there, and I would still be going except that I changed jobs and can’t take my dogs to work any more, so to get to class I would have to make an hour’s drive home to get the dog, then 1 1/2 hours in the opposite direction to class, then 1 1/2 hours back home. Just not feasible. I like my new instructor too, but it’s not quite the same.

    After the amount of time I’ve spent training in this area, I know most of the instructors and whether I’d want to work with them. And I’d guess most of them have at least heard of me, since there’s not a lot of people competing with basset hounds in the performance events.

  7. Well, I called PetSmart’s trainers and asked about fear aggression in an older dog. I then with Sammie in tow met the trainer to see how the two of them interacted. So, With great success, Sammie and I are currently using a pet supply’s store trainer.
    If that hadn’t worked out, I would’ve called my vet, the groomers, and Chihuahua Rescue and Transport since it was from them that I adopted Sammie.

    I think it’s hard to find a good anything whether it be dog trainer, riding instructor, horse trainer, vet, groomer, boarding facility for horses or dogs, reliable pet supply places, et.al.

    Of course, in regard to training Sammie, I’ve owned horses for the past 20+ years and actually had to retrain my current horse sans the hands on help of an experienced trainer despite the fact that I didn’t really have all that much experience in actively training a horse. This experience has greatly enabled me to work with Sammie in getting him over his fear based aggression.

    If I hadn’t hit the jackpot my first time hunting for a suitable dog trainer for Sammie and me, I would’ve kept looking and would’ve focused on the trainer’s body language and attitude and both Sammie’s and the trainer’s reaction to each other as well as the trainer’s voiced and unvoiced opinions and biases about Chis.

  8. Hi. I have four Shelties we train for Agility Trials. I found the best information from the people we buy our Agility Equipment from. We buy from several people around the US and they are always happy to share their knowledge.
    Also, like many that have already answered your question, we have learned from people who show their pups at the dog shows/trials etc.
    I went only one time to a Petsmart store & took 2 of my pups…we left after 20 minutes. It was a total disaster & never would I have them trained at a store. The girl doing the training was ok…but everyone was so distracted by all the people coming and going. Kids throwing treats at the pups…forget it…our pups (as I’m sure you feel the same way) are way to precious to be put thru that. I had a trainer come to our home for a few months and then took over training with my older teenage son. Our vets have also been a terrific source of information & they come to our home for all our vet needs for all 8 pets we have. That is certainly a blessing. LOL
    As to “Do you think it was hard to find a good trainer?”
    ABSOLUATELY!!! The trainers or so-called trainers are just not trained in Rally-O/Agility/Herding etc.
    I also purchased several video tapes and learned from the tapes along with the couple that we buy our agility equipment from. We have purchased 5 seperate Pause Tables…that I swear are “magic pause tables”….the pups started to learn as soon as these tables arrived. 🙂 🙂
    We have never understood that, but thank goodness for them.
    My personal belief (again only my personal opinion) is that we know our pups the best and we know how we want to train them…..we train with patience and kindness. We do repeat training all the time and we train for only 20 minutes per day, so they do not loose track of what they have already learned or get bored by it. Sometimes, they stretch this to 30-40 minutes…but ONLY IF THEY ARE INTERESTED. It also depends on the HEAT. We live in Florida. Thank goodness October is coming soon.
    I hope this helps & good luck to you with training your pup!
    Many blessings, Patti

  9. i was one of the lucky ones i guess…lol. I grew up in a dog family my aunt has always had atleast 6 dog pack. my father grew up breathing animals. and my mother trained her own dogs. me and friend helped train each others dog in grade school, growing up i read every book on dogs/ training i could get my hands on. but that doesn’t mean i didn’t seek other trainers later. who have went to school. the women that runs our shelter taught me a lot. the other trainer around here is not a fav of mine i don’t like every thing about her training but she is the only one who will take a pit bull in her class. the yellow pages is where i found her….the book not on the net….

    I think if u are looking for trainer u should do some research if they are certified. who did they learn from what school ect. and with the net it not that hard if u know how to type! ask other dog people.

    I like a blunt trainer, someone who is going to teach u not just the dog. b/c if the owner doesn’t understand then how is the dog. they don’t mind telling every thing u are doing wrong…it what ur paying them for anyway, right?

    good Q by the way u get a star!

  10. I’m fortunate I had my mother to pass on her knowledge.
    I work at a vets, a lot of our clients were saying how brilliant one particular trainer was, so I went along to her classes.
    She was brilliant, taught me in one session a very important lesson of recall, with my sighthound! Which to this day my dog will always come back to me.
    Her method was reward based, she demonstrates Obedience at Crufts most years and her own dogs are all PAT dogs in UK.
    She doesn’t do Agility though so I had to find a different trainer for that.
    My mistake I went through the yellow pages, went along to my 1st session and it was a complete free for all, no instruction nothing, needless to say I didn’t go back.
    I’m currently working on my fitness levels, I will look for new agility trainer once my fitness is up a notch to keep up with my dog!

    I think people should be aware there are lots of different methods, for me the reward based method worked best, but that’s not to say that I namby pamby my dog!
    She understands that in MY house I’m top dog and she ( and my other dog) never challenge that, we have a happy household. 🙂

  11. nothing so dramatic just went to the closest training club— learnt basics —lots of praise and repetition also read books and lots of close talking to the dog. It all helps so that you eventually understand each other even if you don’t speak the same language.

  12. Finding a good trainer in some areas of the US is a real challenge. The Internet is good – as are recommendations from your vet, or even a local shelter.

    Yes, you can make a bad decision. Make better decisions next time.

    Yes, it’s true. You may have to travel a considerable distance to get the kind of experience/training etc. you need.

    Is it worth it? YES! Oh my yes!

  13. My vet had an ad on the wall and It said obediance training, the dates, times, and price so I asked him about it and signed my spike up for it. I learned alot it was for 5 weeks and Spike and I had a great time.

  14. I’ve never had my dogs professionally trained, but I do see advertisements in the paper occasionally.

  15. I don’t know about anyone else, but here’s my 2 cents- I have had dogs all my life, but never had any you could call “trained” just a rag tag collection of rescues who knew the basics at best. When we got our APBT way back in the early 80’s, it became obvious to me that knowledge was extremely necessary. A good friend of mine who had a SchIII male with every possible UKC obedience title introduced me to the basics and directed me to our local obedience club. All of the trainers are volunteers/members who do it for the love of the sport. We have returned with all of our dogs since then. My current boy is a one year old Dogue de Bordeaux who will be starting level 3 classes this fall. Unfortunately he had some health issues and has had to take a break from training, but if all goes well, this will be my first dog to actually continue to the ring. Now that we are done with the torturous task of raising children, I can have a hobby of my own!

  16. I read up on training techniques for a year or so before adopting my dogs. When the time to start obedience came, I spoke with my vetrinarian about who she reccomended. I had an initial meeting with the trainer without my dogs, just so I could get to know her a bit and determine whether her methods were something I was comfortable with. She and I were a great match and with her help, I was able to strengthen the bond between me and my now wonderfully behaved dogs.

    Sadly, most people do not want to put in that kind of effort. But I am glad I did.

  17. Well, I grew up helping my mother train our fosters so I am pretty good at basic obedience and I haven’t needed a pro trainer for that. I use trainers for bigger problems that I need an outside perspective on. I have never stuck with just one trainer or method. I have found it to be so much more effective to analyze the dog’s individual needs and go from there. I would talk to different trainers and ask what they would do in that situation and then choose the one that seemed most knowledgable and best comprehended the problem. That has always worked for me. I have not ever had a bad experience with a trainer for that reason. I try to use the ones that have a particular strength and not try to make them do EVERYTHING. It seems that trainers that are great and working with aggression issues seemed too strongarmed for the easy cases and vice versa. Every dog is different and therefore, every dog needs a different training regime.
    I think if you know what to look for and what questions to ask, then it is quite easy to find a good one. If your only option is to pick a name out of a phone book, then it is quite hard to find a good one. The best bet is to really educate yourself with books and such and then have trainers help you supplement that knowledge rather than depend on them for everything.

  18. I first went to my local Kennel Club. When I decided that I didn’t agree with their methods (they used choke chains, which I didn’t believe were necessary for my dog; he hated them and sulked and misbehaved more when on a chain, I was even horrified to discover him flinching one day!) they respected my decision and refered me to a great training organization that doesn’t use them. If you asked your local KC for reccomendations, I’m sure they’d be happy to help you. And I’d also reccomend going along to once or twice, to see a typical training session, before your pup starts. Any good trainer/training school is only too happy to invite prospective clients for a preview! The best of luck!

  19. Good question. Long before the chain stores and their pet training classes, we had Dog Training Clubs. We still do! 🙂

    When I got my first Siberian puppy, my mother insisted we take him to puppy obedience. We looked up “Dog Training” (or maybe it was “Obedience Training”) in the Yellow Pages, and found the number for the local dog training club. Signed up, took the class, got hooked, took more classes, became members, started teaching classes…etc.

    While taking my various classes, I met several members with different training backgrounds and philosophies, and I learned from all of them. Rather than taking a class from someone who learned how to “train” from a corporate loose-leaf binder, these were people who’d put obedience titles, tracking titles, Schutzhund titles, conformation championships etc. on their dogs…a wealth of info.

    Most major cities have dog training clubs…just might take a little work to find them. It’s worth it, though.

  20. nodesignerdogs4me

    Since I foster dogs, the first trainer I went with taught me a little bit about basic training. So now I do not have to hire a trainier first.
    (I did not merely check under the yellow pages, I had several recommendations)

    I assume you are just talking about obidience training!

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