Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Ask about a trainer's professional qualifications and education in dog training and behavior. Ideally, look for a trainer with a professional certification who uses the most modern methods, and who continues to educate him or herself in the latest findings about dog behavior and learning.
Research them online to see what others have said about them, as well as to get a more clear idea of such things as:
* What their background is in dog training
* How active they are/have been in the field
* How connected they are with their chosen specialty, if they have one
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. As a customer, I wish that I knew about the various certifications and what they mean.
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers was the first unaffiliated organization to test and certify dog trainers for their knowledge and understanding of dogs and behavior. While many dog training schools are very good, due to the lack of accreditation among dog training schools, it can be difficult to know what one is getting without researching the schools directly.
Look for a trainer who gets plenty of continuing education and only uses the most modern and dog-friendly methods.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. I recommend asking the following:
* What is your education in dog training
* How long have you been in the industry?
* What are your current methods and why? (This is particularly important if a trainer has been in the industry for over 10 years.)
* Where have you gained your education in dog behavior?
* Are there any clients who may recommend you?
* Are you involved with any peer networks (this shows the desire to further the dog training field, and not just be an independent player)
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. Everyone who is in the dog training business loves dogs. Unfortunately, they do not all love people just as well. My love for people comes through in the work that I do, allowing me to show compassion for my clients as well as the dogs they love. In my work, I strive for the "win-win-win" situations for everyone involved - dog, family and everyone else involved.