Part 2 - Dog Trainer Red Flags

Today, we bring you our Part 2 in our three part series about how to sniff out hidden red flags when choosing a dog trainer. If you need to catch up, check out Part 1 in the series here

In this installment, we'll be digging further into important items we need you to know about that may not be so obvious when in your search. Your dog is relying on you to get them the best behavior support. Here’s the inside scoop on how to sniff out other red flags.

Let's continue our detective work by looking at methods used by trainers. Here’s where your keen eyes can see through the sales pitch.

PSA #3

One of the other things that makes us concerned about is a lot of clients will come to Wonder Dog University after having engaged someone for Bootcamp/Board and Train (or even in Private Training sessions), where the methods that were used were, “old fashioned,” as I like to say. And to be blunt, “aversive,” meaning using choke collars, prong collars, slip collars, leash pops where you jerk the leash or even more of a firm voice.

None of this is necessary with Modern Training. I teach our Reform School Class (formerly known as our Growl Class) and have been doing that for years. We have enormous success with aggressive behaving dogs. Never once have we ever, or would we need or want to, used any of those old fashioned methods. And what's great - you can have confidence in right now - is that those methods that we use, Modern Training methods, are all backed up by science. A recent Position Statement by one of the leading groups in animal behavior (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior) cited twenty-one different studies that back that up. So it's been put out in the dog training industry now, that guess what, no leg to stand on for using old fashioned training anymore. Definite. Confirmed. 

PSA #4

Many times when clients come to us, the dog has not been trained to what they needed, which is unfortunate. But there's also some behavioral fallout and damage that's been done from outdated training techniques that were used, and that is heartbreaking for us and frustrating. Because dog people, a lot of times, don't know any different. So it's hard for them to question or know that there's another method unless someone's showing them and telling them… which is why I'm doing this blog post.

So when a “professional” dog trainer says, “This is what we need to do,” that person's in an authoritative position, and the dog’s person is going to follow, because they think that's the right thing to do. Unfortunately, they often come to us or other modern trainers for help afterwards.

Ask trainers what methods they use. We’ve noticed a new trend in dog training marketing and sales speak. Because there has been public backlash about aversive training methods, many old fashioned trainers have found ways to talk around the subject and use terms to make those methods sound more acceptable. Also ask exactly which training tools are used. Nothing other than a flat, regular leash, a front clip harness, treats or toys and either a clicker (or verbal marker) should need to be used. No exceptions.

For a great dive into how marketing language can mask the details, check out this fellow trainer, Eileen Anderson’s, article: https://eileenanddogs.com/blog/2014/04/07/barkbusters-review-myths-about-barking/ 

And don't forget to stay tuned for our upcoming Part 3! Ooo, it's going to pull the curtain back even further for a better view into choosing your beloved dog's trainer.

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