It’s important for both you and your dog to have a good relationship with your trainer. Take your time to find the dog trainer who is the best fit for your individual dog and your specific needs. Stefani Fortney, ABCDT, shares her advice to finding the right dog trainer.
You always dreamed of having the perfect dog—a best friend who could practically read your mind and who listened to your every command. In your dreams, you and your dog ran through fields of wildflowers while laughing. Then reality hit. You got your dog, only to find out that she has a mind of her own. When you say “sit”, she looks at you… then walks away. She drags you through fields of thorns and stickers as you cry and beg her to stop. It’s time to find a dog trainer.
Finding the right dog trainer can be intimidating. There are different schools of thought, different approaches, group classes, individual lessons, books, videos—the options go on and on. So, how do you find the dog trainer who’s right for you and, more importantly, for your best friend? Here are a couple of tips to help make finding the right dog trainer a bit easier:[Tweet “Finding the right dog trainer can be intimidating.”]
Ask for credentials. Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. Research the accreditation held by each dog trainer you interview. Find out about where they received their education and what they’ve done to continue learning.
Ask for references. A good trainer should have past clients who will tell you about their experience. They can tell you the good and the bad, what worked for them and what didn’t. They won’t be trying to sell you a training package or a service.
Watch a class. If you decide that group classes are the best choice for you, ask the dog trainer if you can observe a class before signing up with your pooch. You’ll be able to see for yourself if you think it’ll be a good match and working relationship. Watch to see if the trainer interacts with each student, listens to questions that students have, and takes the time to work through the rough patches with individuals.
Meet and greet. If working one-on-one with a dog trainer is the best way for your pup to learn, set up an appointment for an initial meeting between the two. Watch how the trainer interacts with your dog. Does the trainer seem to enjoy spending time with your dog? Does your dog seem comfortable with the trainer? Does the trainer listen to your questions and concerns—and offer answers that you understand?
Stefani Fortney has loved dogs for as long as long as she can remember. At the age of nine, she and her little Beagle mix, Puppy, learned obedience together for the first time in 4-H. As an adult, Stefani became a professional groomer, then later earned her accreditation (ABCDT) as a dog trainer from Animal Behavior College. She uses Positive Reinforcement training techniques exclusively. Stefani currently shares her home with her wife (Melissa), six dogs (Phaedra, Spectre, Mani, Fritter, Poppy, and Opus), and one cat (Pudge).
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Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family. Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.