Qualities of a good dog trainer

Qualifications matter A person has to have the required knowledge to train your pet. That can only come through formal education – a professional degree in canine behaviour counselling and dog training from a reputed training school or a mentor.

Progressive methods
A bad trainer will abide by harsh training methods – use of prong collars, choke chains and electric collars. He may also inflict corporal punishment on the dog and intimidate your pet. A good trainer will use gentle, dog-friendly and progressive reinforcement means instead. He will strengthen behaviours which are recommended, redirect and manage behavioural problems.

Initial Assessment
A good trainer will ask the pet parent many questions related to their pet, focusing on how their pet fares in various scenarios. A skilled trainer is good at reading dogs. If the trainer is unable to assess your pet’s ability, then he isn’t the right person for the job.

Training Plan
Just like school teachers make lesson plans, hard working animal trainers will also etch out a plan to teach furry kids. This will be done after your pet has been properly assessed by the trainer. Pet parents need to be kept in the loop regarding the plan and the progress of their pet. And the plan needs to be flexible.

Your Presence Needed
A good teacher will always be confident of training your pet in your presence. Ideally, pets shouldn’t be trained in the owners’ absence. But pet parents need to witness the training, so that they also learn how to train their dogs.

Beyond Basic Commands
Learning basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘stand’ is just the ABC of dog training. A dog must be familiarised with obedience training as well. He should be taught the difference between good and bad behaviour.

Sense of Humour
Isn’t it boring to sit through drab classes? Humour not only makes classes’ fun, but facilitates easy learning. This holds true not just for humans but for canines as well. Dogs feel the positive energy. If the trainer is always stern, the dog may get demoralised.

Each dog has a different aptitude and temperament. If a dog has slow learning milestones, the trainer should be understanding and never vent his frustration on the canine. The trainer should be ready to explain repeatedly till the dog understands. It’s a challenge to tame aggressive dogs; good trainers keep their cool and never give up.

Credible References
References can be genuine or fake. Bogus references may be scripted by the trainer himself or penned by close friends and relatives of the trainer. If an instructor provides the contact numbers or emails of his previous clients, there may be greater chances that their dogs were actually taught by the coach. You need to go through the testimonials to determine if the trainer has been praised. Online search engines often list and rate dog trainers, a cumulative star rating is calculated based on all the ratings which have come in.

Just like your endless search for the best teacher for your kids, don’t compromise on a dog trainer.

www.dogsandpupsmagazine.com; www.facebook.com/Dogsandpupsmag

Did you know?
  • Giraffes have no vocal chords.
  • It is possible to hypnotise a frog by placing it on its back and gently stroke its stomach.
  • An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Northampton, UK, showed that cows have strong social bonds. They display physical symptoms of stress when they are away from their best pals.

—thedodo.com, bestlifeonline.com

-Pallavi Bhattacharya
Download The Times of India News App for Latest Life & Style News .