Finding a good trainer
Not only is your dog of great value to you, but so is your time and money. Seeking out a good trainer for your dog is essential, however, it is often difficult to figure out who is the best choice. Here are some guidelines and things to look for to help you make the right decision.
1. A good trainer can guarantee to deliver results. This means that they should have no problem delivering what they promise. For example, if a trainer tells you that he/she can teach your dog to lie down, they better be able to get to your dog to lie down.
2. A good trainer has the ability to train a dog of any breed, size, or personality. Be skeptical of any trainer that does not accept certain breeds or a dog because it is too big or strong. Do not be fooled by any trainer that claims to "specialize in one specific breed because they are so different and have special needs". In group classes, be wary if a trainer that does not allow a dog to participate because it is too wild and playful.
3. A good trainer is well versed in a variety of training methods. Any trainer that claims one specific method works for all dogs, in all situations, and for all problems is either lying, delusional, or does not have enough experience.
4. A good trainer should have the dog obeying YOU by the end of the course. This means the dog does not be to bribed with something like a treat in order to obey. Obeying you also means that you should not need to repeat a command several times in order to get your dog to comply.
5. A good trainer will have your dog obeying under real world conditions. A dog should be able to obey when other dogs are running around, cats or children are running by, in the middle of play, there's an interesting smell on the ground, etc..
6. A good trainer should be able to lead by example. Look at the trainer's dog. Even ask for a demonstration with the trainer's dog. Be very skeptical of any dog trainer who has a dog that does not obey well (especially under high distraction), needs to be bribed in order to perform, or is constantly misbehaving.
Cost is also an important issue for most people. Keep in mind that it is better to spend a little more money and get solid results than spend less money and have little or no results to show. However, this does not mean that the most expensive trainer is also the best trainer. As long as you look for the qualities mentioned above, I am sure you can find a training program that fits your budget.