What qualifies someone to train dogs?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by MandyPug, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    Mainly pet dogs. Sports are a whole different thing.

    What makes someone qualified to train pet dogs?

    Do titles matter?
    Certificates from schools or programs?
    Number of dogs they own?
    Experience with dogs?
    Can someone who has only ever had one dog in their life be qualified to train dogs?
    Would you want to see their own dog(s) and their behaviour?

    This is a question I've thought about for a while now but especially recently as my area has a sudden influx of people offering dog training services and my manager at work wanting to bring some of them in to show off their services. This is a city of 80,000 people and I need two hands to count dog trainers which is kind of ridiculous to me lol. Some have certificates from 6 week programs, some just because they've had dogs before and want some extra cash, some are probably legit.

    So what's your take?
     
  2. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Personally I think there are a lot of people out there training 'professionally' who have no business training.

    I will not train with someone in ANYTHING be it or manners, sport, whatever unless they have competed wih multiple dogs and preferably have had success with their students. I don't care about classroom Certificates, I want practical experience. Now the school I'm at now the trainers go to seminars often with 'big wigs'. I think its a good thing but I don't care that they don't have their APDT.

    Been there done that especially in agility. Well meaning trainers but they haven't even put their own dogs through many titles. If they had it was like... RN, CGC and novice agility. Not enough experience base to work from IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  3. xpaeanx

    xpaeanx Active Member

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    My initial reaction would be results and methods. How are the dogs that they've trained doing and how did they get there? Usually these trainers are found by recommendation and word of mouth, something your everyday pet owner may not have much access too.

    Searching for a trainer though? I'd want to see some sort of certification, and definitely more than 6 weeks. I don't think they need to own dogs, but they need expierence with them. Perhaps helping to train shelter dogs while they wait for their forever homes. And lastly, they need to have a well rounded knowledge on dogs and the personality to successfully teach the pet owner as well as the pet. Dog nutrition, positive training, dog behavior, appropriately taking a dog in public, etc... Lots of pet owners never go past their first obedience lessons, so the person who fills that role needs to be a wealth of information on dogs and needs to bee able to deliver it in such a way that people learn from it(even if it's completely different than what the previously thought).
     
  4. Dex

    Dex New Member

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    I think that a large portion of it should be the ability to teach people. A person could have the ability to do amazing things with a dog as far as training goes, but if they can't communicate effectively with the owner of the dog, then what's the point? The owner is the one that needs to learn how to train their dog.

    Also, a trainer that believes there is only one way to do something and offers no flexibility on a dog to dog basis is not one I'd go to. Experience is important as well, especially with a large variety of breeds.

    So yea, that's my take. The ability to communicate, flexibility and experience. Titles are great and all, but more important if you are looking at sport dog training and not so much for basic obedience and manners, etc.
     
  5. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    A strong understanding of dog behaviors, breeds, and so forth. An open mind, several methods and the comfort with saying I'm not sure but I will find out. Experience far, far outweighs any classroom certifications, in fact I don't even care for them. My agility and obed trainer probably has some but I have no idea, my IPO helper and club president are picked on the same ideals.

    Beyond that an ability to clearly explain and maintain a low/no judgment and open mind with their students. An understanding that you cannot help the dogs if you do not help the owners and this often takes a lot of hard work and patience. Teaching the dogs is a lot easier than teaching the owners.
     
  6. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    For pet dogs, yeah, I dont really care about titles on the dogs. I saw too many "trainers" push dogs and drive their own ego with titles not noticing the damage to they were doing to their personal dogs. I want a trainer who actually NOTICES the dog and understands them. I also want a trainer who knows how to teach. You could be awesome at titling your own dogs, doesnt mean you know how to teach manners, basics, or beyond to others.

    I want understanding of dog behavior. I want continued education. I want practical experience sure but I dont think titles show that.

    Now, that being said...NOTHING is wrong with titles of course! If I was looking for an agility trainer I would yes, expect them to actually compete in agility but the other stuff would still be very important.
     
  7. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I like titles because it is objective proof. I know this person trained these dogs to these levels.

    I've met some very well read trainers and students that are woefully bad at putting their book knowledge into practice.
     
  8. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    For sports, sure, but a fantastic pet trainer doesn't have to title a dog. IMO My coworker is a great trick trainer & pet trainer, she's super smart and relates to clients well. Her dog was in a couple plays and even worked as an animal actor but she has never titled a dog and I am still confident in her abilities.
     
  9. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    Its only objective proof that they trained that particular dog to that particular goal. Doesnt give any proof of how they relate to people, or other breeds of dogs, or house manners, etc.

    Again, some of the most titled trainers I used to work with had dogs that were not good pets. The dogs were either working or put away. Thats not a pet or family dog so why would I go to them or use their titles in training one?

    I also just know a lot of trainers who have wonderful dogs that will likely never have titles, or at least not many. They are rescues or abuse cases or what have you which yes, often CAN go on to title but I would rather a trainer not worry about titles and worry about the dog being comfortable in its own skin first. Or I guess what I mean is I am not going to fault a trainer for rescuing a dog that does not have the right temperament for competing.
     
  10. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    I don't really think any one thing would qualify someone really.

    I don't have a check list for what I look for in a trainer, honestly the best way I've gone about things is meeting them and seeing what they're like, how they relate and work with their cliental, how they work with dogs and how good they are at imparting knowledge in a way that helps and furthers you while being able to shift depending on the goals/attitudes/wants/needs of the person, or the dog.

    It's also nice to see if the people they are teaching are flourishing and growing because at the end of the day it's going to be about that more than the trainers personal successes.

    If I met someone that had never titled a dog and only owned one dog their whole life but had some crazy good ideas, worked well with me and my dog and were able to impart their wisdom and help well then I would totally go to them.

    Titles, experience and multiple dogs under their belts are great but not end all be all to me.
     
  11. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I'll be honest, the people I know with the most high end titles in many sports usually buy, train, sell, repeat. It's far from the same as working with pet owners. I have absolutely no issues with it, finding the right dog is important if you want to compete at the top and many often wash out, but that won't always prepare you for the staunchly patient process that training a pet dog can be.
     
  12. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I have no doubt that there are good pet dog trainers out there. I just don't know how I, as a potentially uneducated customer, am supposed to figure out who is legit and who isn't? Yes titles tell you only that that person trained that dog to that level but I know NOTHING about someone who hasn't titled a dog. Nowadays I'm educated enough to weed good from bad but a lot of people aren't. I have seen one ridiculously incompetent 'certified' trainer. I mean absolutely moronic when it came to dogs/dog behavior.

    Personally I have seen a lot better understanding of dogs in general from sports trainers and people involved in dogs to a higher degree than just a pet. I am really not trying to dig on pet trainers at all but just saying why I personally wouldn't go to them. I also find sports people and I tend to have a better alignment as far as goals for our dogs behaviorally.

    Obviously a trainer needs to be people oriented and be able to teach. I don't think there's an easy way to judge that until you've seen them teach though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  13. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    I think for training pet dogs, experience, maybe a program, certification, and some well behaved dog(s) of your own with the ability to teach people well would be enough. I definitely look for a cpdt-ka in any obedience/pet trainer I go to. I want a trainer with a lot of methods in their toolbox and an understanding of how every form of reinforcement or punishment is used, even if they don't teach it.

    I definitely don't believe in teaching something you haven't titled.

    My boss leads most of the puppy, obedience, cgc, intro to agility, etc. classes that are geared towards companion owners. She has her cpdt-ka and I think that's enough personally. I trained under her before I got a job working with her and she's part of the reason I know what I know and can train as well. I don't know that she's ever titled in anything- maybe a little agility or rally? And CGCs of course.

    We have a CPE agility judge on staff who leads the more advanced agility classes, and a pet detective on staff who runs a business using nosework to find lost pets to lead our nosework classes.

    My agility instructor doesn't have any certification that I know of, but has titled very highly in agility (I'm not sure exactly what titles) and is good at teaching us. I don't know how well she would do teaching a CGC class, though, or working with an client with extreme reactivity issues.

    The proof is in the pudding, right?

    I know that personally, I would not be able to have as vast of an understanding and ideas if I hadn't worked in shelters and seen every side of any kind of dog you can imagine. My boss often refers people to me with reactivity issues or aggression if I'm in class with them because I have so much experience with my own dogs (Frag and Sir) and shelter dogs and she has personally never owned a dog with reactivity or aggression. That doesn't mean she doesn't know how to train them or work with them, but first-hand experience is a lot easier to explain, I've found. You know exactly what they're going to need to trouble shoot before they get to that point and can warn them about more or set them up to succeed before it gets to that point.
     
  14. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    There's a middle ground between buy, train, sell and just pet though. I am not a fan of cycling through a bunch of dogs for the one sport prospect either.

    Then again I dont forsee me ever going to a trainer for just pet stuff at all. I guess never say never though lol. I probably jinxed myself there.
     
  15. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    If I was going to a class, I'd look for one that was convenient and one that I could sit in on a couple times without a dog to see what goes on. If it fits with what I want, sign me up, if not keep looking.


    Beyond that, everybody is a trainer to me. When I first started, I had a few people that I looked to almost exclusively, the more I learned, the more I looked at everybody. I've picked up things from so many people I can't even remember them all.

    Some have titled dogs, some have never, some don't do sports, a lot do. Some train for a living, some are training their first dog. My core principles don't change a lot, at least they haven't in quite some time, but I can always pick up a new trick here or there that can help me out.
     
  16. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    Okay maybe I'll add to the scenario.

    What abouy Board and train, doggy bootcamps, or dog walkers or daycares that also train your dog without you there... So not classes where you're really interacting. What qualifies someone to do that?
     
  17. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I don't trust people to do that.

    /control freak/
     
  18. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    Lol I never would either. But if I did, I would expect to see a dog they trained doing what I'm paying them to teach the dog. I would want referrals.

    I offer board and trains on a limited basis to work on repetitive tedious tasks that owners don't have time to do: crate training, house manners, recall, housetraining, etc.

    Stuff that I absolutely know how to do, basically.
     
  19. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    This is a great answer.

    My answer remains the same. I train bootcamp, besides not killing their dogs daily I feel my clients continue with me due to my customer service and the results I offer.

    I would totally use the service I offer if I could afford it. I have requested in all seriousness sending B to my agility trainer a few times a week to be trained.
     
  20. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    Pet trainers?
    I want their dog to be EXCEPTIONALLY well behaved, titles may not be needed but I would expect their personal dog to be a frikin angel.
    I want their students to have good things to say (even if it means just positive yelp reviews or something)

    Other dog trainers?
    I would like titles on their personal dogs but more than that, MUCH MORE, I want titles on their students.
    Being able to teach YOUR DOG something =/= being able to teach. The proof is in the pudding and that is dogs that have graduated from your classroom.

    I don't care that YOU can title your dog, I don't live with you! I care that you can teach ME how to title my dog

    I also like to see different methods, creative teaching styles that suit different dogs, knowledge of breeds and just..
    being a kind human being.
    I love training but I cannot stand mean trainers. I am not going to class to be talked AT or put down.. I am here to work with my dog and you are here to help me.
     

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