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How to choose a dog trainer

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

With so many dog trainers and services available, figuring out how to choose a dog trainer can feel overwhelming. To help make that decision easier, we talk about the basics of what a trainer does, when to start training and how to find a dog trainer that is right for you.

How to choose a dog trainer

What does a dog trainer do?

A dog trainer works with dogs and their owners to encourage and develop desirable behaviours, reduce undesirable behaviours, upskill their techniques and learn and enhance performance abilities. Dog trainers may also specialise in a particular field of training or breeds of dog.

Why get a dog trainer?

Investing in a dog trainer can help you achieve your training goals faster by teaching you how to understand and interpret your dog’s behaviour, how to communicate effectively with them and avoid a lot of frustration for you both. The issues you may perceive your dog to have may not be a behavioural issue, but a training technique issue and an experienced dog trainer can help you to identify the breakdown in communication between you and your dog and help bring you both back onto the same page.

How do I find a dog trainer in my area?

To find a local dog trainer in your area, ask your local pet shop or veterinary practice for recommendations, ask other dog owners who they train with and what their experience has been.

When to get a dog trainer?

You can begin working with a dog trainer from when your puppy is 10 weeks old, which is usually in the form of puppy socialising or puppy training. Starting training early helps your puppy get used to different places, sounds, people, experiences and environments to help them feel safe and happy entering adulthood.

Is my dog too old for training?

There is no upper age limit for training a dog because despite what the old adage says, old dogs actually can learn new tricks! Dog training can also aid rescue dogs in transitioning into their new life with you and helping you both to bond.

How long does it take to train a dog?

There is no definitive answer for how long it takes to train a dog as it depends on the individual, their life experience, natural instincts, your objectives and how committed and skilled you are as an owner at carrying out the training. This is important to remember when some trainers advertise ‘guarantees’, because each dog is unique and should be allowed to progress at its own pace and we, as owners, need to understand that some dogs may never want, or be able, to perform certain behaviours or tricks.

So, how do I find a dog trainer that is right for me?

Here are our top 5 pointers on how to find a dog trainer that is right for you.

1) Consider the methods used by the dog trainer

When looking for a dog trainer, enquire what methods and approaches they use and ask if you can watch a class or two before you commit to be sure they are right for you and your dog. Reward based, science supported, force free trainers are our recommendation, as these trainers encourage a positive relationship between dog and owner and a kind way of working together. Asking what organisations the trainer belong to can be a helpful insight into their ethos; if they are a member of School of Canine Science, IMDT, APDT, VSPDT, PPG, IAAC or ACE, these organisations only condone reward based, science supported, force free methods.

2) Ask what experience the dog trainer has

Experience is important to consider when choosing a dog trainer, because each dog is an individual with their own specific needs and understanding how to approach these issues in an ethical, efficient and effective manner is the key to you and your dog's training success. Ask what industry experience do they have, how long have they been dog training and do they have experience with your particular requirement?

3) Check what qualifications the dog trainer has accomplished

In the unregulated industry of dog training where anyone can start a dog training business without any prior training or experience, it can be hard to distinguish which trainers have relevant experience and the wrong advice or training methods can cause significant damage to your dog’s behaviour, well being and your relationship.

However, there are a number of fantastic organisations looking to raise the bar of what it means to be a dog trainer and through rigorous assessments of practical and theoretical knowledge, dog trainers have to prove they know their stuff! We would recommend going with trainers that are fully qualified and accredited with organisations such as School of Canine Science, IMDT, APDT, VSPDT, PPG, IAAC and ACE (you can double check a trainer has these qualifications by searching the members list in each organisation).

4) Read the reviews

Reviews can be an insightful tool when deciding which dog trainer is right for you, as they show other client’s experiences, the longevity of the business and the support provided.

5) Weigh up the cost (cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better!)

A cheaper price tag does not necessarily mean better value when it comes to choosing a dog trainer. Dog trainers who have invested time, money and effort into continual training, development and qualifications will most likely have a higher cost attached, but the benefits and knowledge they have gained will be passed onto you when you train with them. When working with such dog trainers, you are more likely to achieve your training goals, maintain the results and avoid developing behavioural issues that can arise as a result of poor or forceful training techniques.

Why All Positive Dog Services could be the right dog trainer for you

  1. All Positive Dog Services use positive, science based methods aligned with structured programmes designed to bring out the best of your ability and set your dog up for success and after care support

  2. Over 30 years experience and continual investment in the team’s training & development

  3. Qualified with industry leading organisations including the School of Canine Science, IMDT, APDT, VSPDT, PPG, IAAC and ACE

  4. Fairly priced to reflect the skill and knowledge of our team, the training and support they provide and the benefits you and your dog will gain

Choose All Positive Dog Services

If you are looking for a local dog trainer in Herefordshire, All Positive Dog Services offer a variety of classes at our training centre in Hope under Dinmore that boasts a two acre, secure training field and a large indoor venue. Or, if classes aren’t for you, we offer home visits across Herefordshire including Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Kington and surrounding areas. Whether you’re looking for puppy training, dog training, agility training, behavioural support or business to business training or support, we can help.



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