How to Find a Dog Trainer or Behavior Specialist
In the field of dog training, there are no “requirements” to call oneself a dog trainer. In addition, there are many ways to train a dog, as well as many different fees. So, how does an owner decide on a trainer for their dog? First, you want to look for a trainer that uses positive-based training methods. There is a lot of talk these days about being “leader of the pack”. While there is some merit to this, it is the sign of an old school trainer who insists on this mentality. We get dogs because we love them for what they are. We just want them to direct their desires through appropriate channels. For example, we want them to potty outside, chew their own toys, walk calmly on a leash, etc. Training is a way we communicate with a non-verbal species. Learning is motivational. For a dog to want to learn, it should be fun for them. Give them a reason to want to listen to you other than punishment. There is no need to jerk a dog on a leash in order to teach them how to behave. For the most part, owners want their dogs to be part of the family and a good canine citizen, not a robototic animal that is afraid to romp, play, and be a dog. Punitive methods can create a dog that is afraid of you. Second, what is it that you wish to accomplish? Basic manners? Housetraining? Does your dog have anxiety, fears, or aggressive issues? You need to select a trainer that is skilled in your area of needs with the proven experience behind them. Price is not the factor that should be your first concern. Most trainers can put together a program that will work for you within your budget. But remember, a dog is a life-time commitment. The money you spend now on training will provide you with a companion that you will enjoy to spend time with. Amortize any training fees over the life of your dog and it comes out to very little per year.Ask a trainer how much experience they have. Ask where they learned their trade. Trainers with little experience typically charge less because they want to practice on you. You would be better off spending a little more and getting more in the long run. Dog training is not brain surgery, but it does require a knowledge of learning theory and conditioning techniques and nothing says success like hands-on experience with lots of different dogs.

Ask if you can watch a single group class or training session. A trainer that you want to work with should have no problem allowing you to do this. Also, ask for references and call them.

Ask a trainer what happens if s/he is unable to keep a scheduled appointment or if a training technique is not working for you. What if you and the trainer do not “hit it off”? If you are working with a single trainer, you typically have no options as most do not offer refunds (this is standard in the industry). If you are working with a training company, you have the option to work with a different trainer, plus there are a multitude of resources behind your trainer.
Do not be afraid to ask questions.

It is your dog, your companion, and your investment. You have the right to make the right choice for you.

Why Train at Crossroads? Our “Best Behavior” trainers are experts in dog behavior. They study with top professionals to stay up-to-date on studies and techniques and actively participate in the APDT. Their focus is to help owners avert behavior problems through proper training using reward-based method that are fun and effective for both people and dogs. Our trainers go through an extensive training under Dan’s guidance, meeting weekly to ensure that their methods are consistent and Dan’s high standards maintained. In addition, our trainers are certified through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) or are currently working on certification. Until the APDT created the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers in 2001, there was no true standardized certification process for dog trainers. There are many schools that teach dog training and offer their own certification for their specific program, but such certificates often reflect the teaching and quality of the specific school and many are attained through unmonitored, take-home tests. The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers is a true certification entity pursuing accreditation from the National Organization for Competency Assurance. The test sites are moderated by the Professional Testing Corporation of New York.

Our trainers focus on pet dogs and their owners, not Schutzhund, Ring Sport, Competition Obedience or other “show ring” behaviors. Although our trainers also compete in agility and obedience trials, they understand that skill in a controlled show ring does not necessarily help the pet dog in day-to-day life. Anyone can train a dog in a show ring with the predictable, repetitive exercises in a predictive and repetitive environment. Pet dogs live in the real world where the environment changes all the time. This is where our trainers excel. In the real world.

Does a “kennel” environment promote bad behavior?

Many individual trainers offer boarding programs in their home suggesting that the “kennel” environment promotes bad behavior. This simply isn’t true. With a professional, well-respected facility such as Crossroads, our staff knows how to prevent bad behavior. You know your dog will be well-cared for andwell-socialized. With us, everything is out in the open and you can come visit at any time. When you place your dog in someone’s home, you really do not know what goes on behind those walls. Besides, most of these “home” trainers operate without a kennel license which is not only illegal, but it also means they do not undergo regular inspections by local officials. If you are considering a boarding and training program, make sure you do your homework and be sure there is an open visitation policy.

When should I begin training with my dog?

While dogs are capable of learning at any age, we believe in beginning training as soon as possible. Puppies with 2 sets of vaccines are welcome at Crossroads. It is easier to train a young dog proper behavior than to try to modify bad behavior later. However, even an older dog can learn quickly with our positive training techniques.

More Questions? 

Give us a call. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help! 1-800-823-4283

10832 Knott Avenue, Stanton, CA 90680