We’d like to start off by saying we think that ALL dogs are good dogs!
But since their personalities are all unique, some need a little more guidance when it comes to obedience.
Many pups end up developing undesirable behaviors related to separation anxiety, attention-seeking, or even aggression. When this happens, it’s key to first understand the root cause of these behaviors for your dog, which is where a professional comes in.
With all that said, the fact is that all dogs — and their humans — can benefit from the help of professional trainers.
Why? Because in addition to teaching your companion obedience, it’s a fun mental challenge that builds your pup’s confidence and strengthens the bond between the two of you.
And remember, it’s not just about teaching your furry friend. It’s essential that you, as his guardian, learn how to train a dog, too!
A trainer will help you learn about dog body language cues and how to communicate better with your pooch.
You’ll also avoid common training mistakes that even the most loving pet owners can make.
This will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration in the long run, plus it’ll help your pup live a happier life, too!
Of course, the first step is to choose the right trainer for you and your family (furry friend included). This person should be qualified, of course, but most importantly, he or she should genuinely care about helping you and your pal.
We asked 169 dog trainers from around the world how pet parents can benefit from working with a professional, and compiled their expertise into this article.
So if you’ve ever wondered if you and your dog could benefit from professional training, the answer is a resounding “Yes”!
The Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Dog Trainer
Can you teach Fido to sit, lie, and roll over, yourself? Sure! But professional dog training goes beyond the basics.
“You can definitely train your own dog, but think of [working with a professional] as hiring a personal trainer,” says Elissa Weimer of Paw & Order Dog Training. “Your trainer will make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly and as often as you need to reach your goal. Your dog trainer KNOWS dogs and dog language. He or she can adjust the training so that the dog will succeed and succeed quickly.”
Further, there’s a lot of bad and incorrect advice out there — especially on the internet — so it can be difficult to determine the best approach to take with your pup.
“Avoid online information, for example [promoting] dominance-based training, which can harm dogs and create far bigger issues,” warns Leanne McWade of Dog Training Collage. She adds, “Many trainers talk badly about dominance-type training.”
Jo Wood of Doggy Dilemmas Canine Behaviour & Training Solutions agrees. “There's so much info available about training and some of it uses old-fashioned, harsh methods. A current, knowledgeable trainer should use kind lure and reward-based methods and teach the owner how to do so, too.”
In short, good dog trainers look at the whole picture when it comes to teaching your pooch; they consider the root cause of the behavior, the best communication methods, and the best way to motivate your pal.
“A great trainer is like a teacher, therapist, coach all rolled into one,” explains Jennifer Pennington of Lead With Fun. “They can recognize behavior problems before they start, mediate family disagreements about training and management, and expedite training by adjusting your technique.”
Adds David Levin of Citizen Hound, “Experienced trainers are like detectives: We just have a unique ability to see things others can't see and a bag of tools and tricks to draw from.”
When You Should Hire A Dog Trainer
First off, there’s no wrong time to hire a dog trainer. But if you have or are planning to get a puppy, the younger you start training him, the better. After all, it’s never too early to start learning good manners, and it’s essential that they’re learned the right way!
“Sometimes it just takes a professional touch,” says Levin. “If we're talking about puppy training, you only get one shot; you've got a window of opportunity where the neural pathways that are being developed are still malleable.”
For a dog who’s already established habits or behaviors, especially one that may have suffered trauma (like in the case of a rescue dog), working with a professional is especially necessary, because as Levin says, “rehabilitation can be quite complicated.”
For the record, even your much-loved family dog can benefit from training.
Maybe they have an undesirable behavior that you’d like to redirect, and you need a professional to teach you exactly how to do it. Or, perhaps your smart companion needs a new challenge and you’d like him to learn skills like therapy or agility training!
Whatever the case, a professional will help bring out your pup’s talents and reach his potential!
Learning How To Train A Dog
As mentioned, the purpose of working with a dog trainer isn’t just to teach your dog — it’s to teach you, too!
“A good trainer is a teacher of people and can help people learn to read their dog's subtle behaviors,” says Laura Myers of Whoodles LLC. “I find that most people do instinctively the exact opposite of what they should until they begin to grasp the principles of positive reinforcement.”
She gives the example, “Most tend to push their dogs down when they jump up, inadvertently reinforcing the very behavior they want to correct.”
Communication Is The Key
At the end of the day, training is all about learning how to communicate with your dog so your bond can grow stronger than ever.
“Training is the language we use to communicate with our dogs,” summarizes Alan Baldwin of Legacy Dog Training LLC Certain. “Factors such as timing of a cue, praise, and timing of a correction can sometimes send an unwanted or [the] complete opposite response to what we are trying to achieve.”
He continues, “For example if you feel your dog isn't listening when you call him/her, and you called them nine times but on the tenth time they come, but you yell at them or discipline them because you are frustrated, all you have communicated to the dog is that coming to you equals discipline. You have just effectively punished them for doing what you asked.”
An Investment Worth Making
If you think working with a trainer is expensive, consider how much money you’ll be saving in broken or destroyed items if your pal has a tendency to chew or steal food from the counter.
Further, you could be avoiding vet bills (and possibly heartbreak) if your companion learns not to help himself to the dinner table or garbage can, which could be very dangerous.
Simply put, working with a professional is, “an investment in having the information needed to train their dog properly,” Nicky Gore Jones of the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center points out.
When You Work With A Qualified Dog Trainer, Your Dog Will Be Trained The RIGHT Way!
Dogs are hard-wired to please us, but as we’ve discussed, it’s easy to send the wrong message if you’re not an expert in dog psychology.
“Training a dog is simple, but not as easy as most people think,” concludes Jennifer Cattet of Medical Mutts. “Good training requires technique and a great deal of knowledge. Hiring a trainer will help the owner and their dog get on the right track and avoid mistakes, right from the beginning.”
So what’s the number one reason to work with a dog trainer? You love your loyal companion and want him to reach his potential as a happy, healthy member of the family!
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of professional dog training, be sure to read the next article of our dog training guide, which uncovers the biggest training mistakes to avoid.