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Find the right Lowcountry Pet Trainer for your family

Every pet has its own personality traits and that’s what makes them special, but sometimes we need to work on these behaviors or invest in pet training to help them overcome challenges. Whether you want to teach your pet basic obedience or advanced training, a great dog trainer can make all the difference. Especially for new dog owners. But how do you know when you’ve found the right dog trainer?

Anyone can print business cards and charge for their services, regardless of background, education, or experience since dog training is an unregulated industry. That’s why it’s so important to do your research. Taking the time to evaluate potential trainers before trusting them with your pet will help you ensure they are the right fit for you and your dog. Which, in the end, will always save you time, money, and headaches.

What to Look For in a Dog Trainer

When looking for a trainer, look for someone who provides more than just the basic training techniques. Dogs and humans have different ways of looking at the world, and the more you understand your dog’s perceptions, the better equipped you are to meet their needs and live together happily.

The first question you should ask a potential trainer is their method of training. There are several methods available but the most recommended is a reward-based method known as positive reinforcement. It is based on either giving a food reward to make a behavior more likely to happen again or withholding a reward to make the behavior less likely to occur. This technique is based on the science of animal learning and has the bonus of strengthening the dog-owner bond and fostering a love of learning in dogs.

Another important piece to look for in a potential trainer is their education and any credentials they have. While some trainers have gained their training through apprenticeships and years of experience, others have taken a more academic route in building their skills. Depending on the wants and needs of your pet, someone with experience over a new academic training might be a better fit if your pet is experiencing aggressive or destructive behavior.

Something also worth considering, but often overlooked, is speaking directly to the trainer. It’s not enough to read the brochure or website. Ask for a free evaluation if they have one. Getting a feel for the trainers personality and people skills so you feel comfortable is just as important as the training itself. Realistically, you are the trainers student too so it’s important you’re able to communicate and work well together.

Choosing between group classes and private dog training lessons?

As with everything in life, there are potential pros and cons to group classes and private lessons. And of course, we each have our own personal preferences.

In general, group classes are a great option for puppies as they provide an invaluable opportunity for the pups to learn in the presence of other dogs. This means they develop the skill to focus on their owners and play with other dogs when allowed to. They are also great options for refresher classes of experienced dogs that also need more socialization.

Private lessons, on the other hand, can be a terrific way to help someone get started with training. Especially when there is a need for concentrated work on specific issues such as separation anxiety, fear, or aggression. But, even for new puppy parents, private lessons allow you to learn effective management, handling exercises and teaching manners in a familiar and non-distracting environment. However, as the dog and you, as the pet owner, become more experienced, this may become a bit of a drawback. Once the dog has developed a good training foundation, working in a classroom setting around other dogs and their people can be a great way to begin to practice around a variety of distractions that are still somewhat controlled.

Finding a Trainer

No matter what decision or method you decide on, the trainer needs to be the right teacher for you, your dog, and your individual needs. An excellent trainer is a wise investment and will help ensure a lifetime of happy and harmonious living with a well-behaved dog.

Local Trainer Recommendations (listed in no specific order)

Ridgeside K9 Summerville Dog Training

Cane Bay K9

Dog Training Elite Lowcountry

Other Trainer Resources

AKC’s list of approved CGC evaluators

Certification for Professional Dog Trainers directory

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers trainer search

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