Best Dog Training
Your dog is a special member of your family, so it is justifiable that you want the very best for them such as the best medical care, food, and of course, the best dog training program and trainer. However, finding an ideal one may be more difficult than you think.
There are many dog training options and trainers available. You can go online and access dog trainer videos like Brain Training for Dogs or look for in-person classes offered by private trainers or local pet stores.
That said, what qualifies as the “best” may depend on what you want from a trainer or program. There’s no shortage of training solutions on the market, but there are some important factors you may need to consider before you choose one.
Behaviorist vs. Trainer
Do you know the difference between a behaviorist and a trainer? And do you even know which one you need?
Many dog owners may think that training classes are all created equal and that any trainer can help with doggy problems. The truth is that these specialists help with different aspects of your dog’s behavior, and knowing the difference between the two may help you find the right one for your dog.
Some behaviorists are trainers, but not all trainers are behaviorists. Which one is right for your dog depends on why you’re seeking the help of a trainer.
In general, dog trainers specialize in training dogs to do certain actions and tasks. They may also help train a dog to “not” do a specific action. Some trainers may help with behavioral problems, but their knowledge may vary.
Alternatively, behaviorists are a type of dog psychologist. They strive to study and understand why your dog is having a particular issue. Some unwanted behaviors have deeper causes than others, and that’s where behaviorists come in.
They may not be trainers, but they can give owners advice about behavior modification and how to understand their pets. If you ask your prospective trainer about their certifications, you can get a good idea about their behaviorist background.
Behaviorists who have formal training have a degree in Applied Animal Behaviorist, and they may have an MA, MS, or Ph.D. in animal behavior. They may also have additional certifications in animal behavior.
Positive Reinforcement vs. Alpha Dog
Next, you may want to consider your preferred training approach. The best dog training approach may depend on you and your dog, but the most popular methods are positive reinforcement and alpha dog.
These are completely different training styles, and both are widely debated as being the “best.” However, there are also detractors to both styles. Ultimately, you may need to decide for yourself which one you feel the most comfortable using with your pet.
In the simplest terms, positive reinforcement trainers believe that all good behaviors should be rewarded. If punishment is necessary, it doesn’t need to escalate to physical force or a harsh reprimand.
Positive trainers use the following to help modify behavior:
- Hand signals
- Verbal cues
Positive reinforcement trainers use negative punishment or taking away rewards when dogs exhibit unwanted behaviors
Alpha training techniques are more aggressive than positive reinforcement methods. Despite backlash from the positive reinforcement community, alpha training is not meant to be abusive towards the pet. However, they do use tactics that some owners are uncomfortable with
Some tools and techniques used by alpha trainers may include:
- Prong collars
- Choke chains
- Electronic or “e-collars”
- Hand squeezes that mimic a quick bite
- Alpha rolls or pinning the dog to the ground
- Flooding or subjecting the dog to something it doesn’t like
Does that mean that alpha trainers don’t reward good behavior? Not necessarily. Some trainers use a blended approach, though their primary techniques may stem from alpha beliefs.
As a side note, you may find a trainer who incorporates a variety of techniques that don’t fall under the two methods we discussed, and that may be the ideal option that doesn’t break your dog’s trust while still providing effective training. That said, the Brain Training for Dogs incorporates force-free training techniques that focus on using the dog’s innate intelligence to train them.
Questions to Ask When Searching for the Best Training
1. What do you want your dog to learn?
Pinpointing what you want your dog to learn will help good trainers assess everything. This may include the breed, environment, doggy motivations, and your expectations and goals.
2. What are your philosophies and ethics?
This question is important since training your dog during off hours is your responsibility, so your trainer and you must have the same ethics and philosophies.
3. What is the trainer’s reputation?
Knowing your trainer is very important since he or she will have an impact on your dog’s behavior and well-being. Thus, find out what your trainer knows and how they’ve interacted with past clients through certifications and referrals or reviews.
4. Does your trainer include you in the training process?
Your trainer is with you for only a brief time, so you must be included you in the process. As such, you can continue training once they leave.
Choosing a Training Medium
Now that you are familiar with the different kinds of trainers and methods, it’s time to decide how the training will happen. Does the best training come from in-person courses? Books? How about online videos?
The scope of available in-person courses may depend on the area you live in, but if you don’t have many options, don’t despair. You have other choices.
Some people prefer to train their dogs themselves at home. They do so by searching for the right techniques in books or training videos. If you do choose this option, you may have to try a few before you find the right one.
Any training medium you choose may also require a lot of research. You don’t want to throw time and money away for something that doesn’t work for you.
Hence, check out as many trainer reviews and referrals as possible. Furthermore, if you can check out a class, do so without your dog, and watch how everyone interacts with the trainer and each other.
The “best dog training” depends on the individual but you can find the one for you and your dog with research and by asking the important questions. Also, remember that each dog is unique, not just because of the breed but also because of personality.
When you consider a dog training program and method as well as a trainer, think about the one that matches your dog’s personality. Remember that what works for your neighbor’s dog may not work for your own.
If you want to build a lasting bond with your pet, you may want to consider training at home with online trainer advice from websites like Brain Training for Dogs. This program can help guide you towards your training goals while deepening your relationship with your canine buddy!