In part 1, we discussed how to find an educated dog trainer you can trust in this unregulated industry. This part of the series discusses finding an experienced trainer.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and we believe that to ensure a new trainer is getting quality experience, they should start by completing an apprenticeship or mentorship under a Certified, qualified trainer. With the advances in technology, even trainers in rural spots like Thunder Bay can find mentorship opportunities.
At The Dog Classroom, all of our instructors complete an apprenticeship under one of our Certified Professional Dog Trainers while they are gaining knowledge and education (discussed in part 1). This ensures that instructors are developing the hands-on skills they need to put their knowledge into practice. This can include things like class instruction skills, rate of reinforcement, timing and placement of rewards, reading canine body language and so much more.
This process is similar to other professions or skilled trades. For example, in order to become an electrician you can't simply watch YouTube videos and start a business wiring people's homes without the potential for serious consequences. There is a process involving thousands of hours of apprenticeship training and education, followed by an independent certification exam, to ensure a level of quality.
In choosing a trainer for specific behavioural concerns, look for someone who has worked successfully in that area. For example, a trainer who spends the majority of their teaching time on dog sports may not have enough quality experience to handle severe anxiety or aggression cases.
When looking for a trainer for your dog, ask them about their experience and assess whether they are a good fit for your dog. A good trainer knows when to refer out if a case is beyond their current capabilities.
Stay tuned for part 3!