Training is a critical part of developing a happy, healthy, and safe dog. As pet owners, we want our dogs to be well-behaved dog citizens, but sometimes things go awry.

All dogs are different and because of that, there is no real “one size fits all” when it comes to dog training. Depending on your dog’s nature and breed, plus your own dog experience, you may find that you need the assistance of a dog trainer. And that’s perfectly okay! Many dog owners enlist the help of a trainer to assist with all sorts of issues ranging from basic obedience all the way to behavioral problems like aggression and biting.

But finding the right dog trainer to tackle your dog’s needs isn’t as always straightforward as you may think.

Source other dog owners

There is no better source for information on a trainer than other dog owners. Ask dog-owning friends if they have recommendations and their experiences working with trainers. If that route doesn’t help, then the internet can be a highly valuable resource. Search different forums and dog communities to discuss with people locally and nationally.

Veterinarians are also a wonderful resource for finding dog trainers and behavioral veterinarians, who can help with a variety of issues.

Read reviews and testimonials

Once you’ve identified a trainer or several, read reviews on their methods from past clients. You can likely find business reviews on the internet and most reputable dog trainers will have client testimonials on hand for you to read as well.

If you want to be extra thorough, see if you can reach out to a past client to better understand their experience.

Have a consultation

Whether by phone or in person, scheduling time to speak with a trainer you are interested in hiring is essential. In fact, most trainers will require a consultation first. This allows both you, your dog, and the trainer to get a sense of what is going on and how the trainer can help. You may find that a particular trainer is highly skilled in the area(s) you need, but not in others – and vice versa.

A consultation is also highly beneficial to make sure you and your dog are comfortable with the trainer and his/her approach to training.

Be open and willing to listen

Sometimes trying something new is daunting – for both dog and owner. Trust your trainer and be consistent with your efforts. While some things, like impulse control training, may seem weird or difficult to master, if you put in the hard work and listen to your trainer – you will see improvement in your dog.