Dog Obedience Training: How to Find the Best Training School

Dog Obedience Training: How to Find the Best Training School

Observe the canine students

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To see what really happens during a class, ask the training facility (or the trainer, if they do independent dog obedience training) if you can observe a session. While watching, look for clues in the body language of the dogs, says Metiva. "Are they loose and wiggly, attentive to the trainer? Or are they stiff and tentative?" Dogs who are licking their lips, yawning, or have a slinking or low body posture, pinned-back ears, or a worried expression are exhibiting sure signs of stress. At home, here are the signs your dog is secretly mad at you.

Verify the trainer's credentials

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"There are many schools of training and certifications available, but that's still not a guarantee that the trainer abides by their code of ethics," says Metiva. Seek a dog trainer who is kind and whose focus is building a trusting relationship with your dog. When you have that combo, you're far more likely to get the results you want. Those who are certified by the CCPDT and the IAABC have agreed to a joint code of ethics that adhere to LIMA—a Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive training methodology. Read the certification mission statement and verify the trainer's credentials on the website. Follow this advice and you'll be on the right path to choosing the right trainer. Once things are under way, don't ruin your trainer's hard work by making these common pet parent mistakes.

But trust your gut

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Metiva is quick to point out that there are wonderful dog trainers who don't have certifications. If you feel a connection with a trainer who doesn't have certification, dig a little deeper instead of simply moving on. Ask the trainer specific questions, like who their mentors are; what books have they read and would recommend; and what seminars, workshops, and conferences they have attended. "All of these answers will give hints into their experience and methodology that will help a parent make an educated decision," says Metiva.

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