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Dog Trainers - When to Hire One

“There are no bad dogs only bad owners!” – how many times have we heard this? Or “All dogs are good dogs, but not all dogs are well trained dogs!”

But When Do you Need a Trainer?

Some dogs bark at the postman, others chase next doors cat and yet others may pull on their leash when walking. And while some owners may express their dogs’ antics as part of their doggy personality, others may want their dog to be well behaved and socialized so that they can be taken anywhere with confidence that their pup will reflect a symbiotic and happy relationship between dog and owner.

Hiring a dog trainer should not be considered a reflection of an owner’s failure. Sassafras Lowery, a certified dog trick instructor, said “Working with a trainer isn’t a sign that something went wrong or that someone is failing at properly managing their dog. Rather, it is a sign that you deeply love and value your dog and want to have a better relationship.”

Start Your Dogs Training at Any Age

Some people new to owning a puppy enroll in “puppy obedience school”, whilst other lifelong dog owners rely on their own experience when introducing a new pup to the family pack. No matter your approach, experts agree, that every dog and dog owner (even experienced dog owners) can benefit from a dog trainers’ expertise. It helps develop the relationship and bond between you and your dog.

For example: Jazzy and I went for different dog training classes every 18 months. We participated in Obedience classes, Sniff and Search (which was loads of fun and taught us some fun games to play around the house or in the garden) and she also became a therapy dog, the tricks she had learnt gave lots of joy to the kids she met in schools and people in old folks homes.

I have also asked for professional advise when Jackson, our Hound from the Pound, needed to be ‘re-educated’ about when it’s ok to chase next doors cat and when it is not (it’s ok if the cat is in our garden, but not when he is in the street). A dog trainer brings a fresh perspective when training roadblocks appear.

Finding the Right Professional is Important

This can be very confusing as professional dog trainers go by several titles; dog trainer, pet

trainer, pet psychologist, behavior counselor, or pet therapist. Also, there is no federal certification required to be dog trainer in the US.

Personally I would ask my dog owning friends who they have used and recommend, however if information is not available I suggest researching dog trainers registered with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) or International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).

Certifications can help find a trainer, but experts suggest calling their references and research their dog training philosophy. If your first training session leaves you unsure about your fit, it’s okay to say “no thank you”, especially if the trainer says or does something that makes you, or your dog, feel uncomfortable.

Using Dog Treats for Positive Reinforcement

Most dog trainers emphasize that using a small, smelly treat (smelly is the important thing here, K9CRACK Liver Stix are ideal because our dogs can smell them but we cannot!) to reward your pups behavior (small as in pea sized). Extra praise or some tugging on a favorite toy work great for dogs that are not food motivated.


Investing in a qualified expert and taking the time to train your pup, will set you both up for a successful, enriched and truly loving relationship. No matter how much we know, we can always learn more from listening to others and enlarging our dogs social and intellectual environment.

An Example of Fauci (the Pitbull) from Saving Grace Pet Adoption

I have had the good fortune to watch Tod Olds work with my friend Luella’s ‘hound from the pound’ Fauci. Tod has trained with Cesar Milan and has more patience than a dog has stubbornness!

He (Fauci, not Tod) is a stubborn Pitbull Luella is rehabilitating. He is extremely rambunctious around other dogs. He plays too rough for most dogs and almost all owners do not feel comfortable with their dogs playing with him because Pits have a bad rap, and he looks so mean. Jackson and I will go walking with Luella and Fauci but even Jackson is apprehensive about playing with him because he is a bit too much dog!

However, Tod has him wearing a muzzle (so other dog owners feel more at ease) and he keeps him on a leash so that he can control Fauci if/when he becomes too overzealous. Tod has introduced Fauci to Cooper, a large Malamute/Shepherd mix, who is nonaggressive and can hold his own happily with any dog. The goal is to have Fauci ‘play’ in the give-and-take role most dogs adhere to when they are having fun. However, because of Fauci's lack of socialization as a puppy, Fauci does not understand that he must back off and submit sometimes. Fortunately, Cooper just gives him his back end and continues to play.

It took Fauci 1.5 hours before he submitted to Cooper.

Here is Tod Old’s contact information if you want to know more about his training technics and price, please contact him directly: 541-802-1016

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