Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Good Trainer Is the First Step to Success

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Good Trainer Is the First Step to Success

Article excerpt

The responsibility of owning a pet goes beyond food, shelter and medical care.

Investing the time to properly train your pet will pay off with a better relationship. A well-trained dog is more likely to stay with the original owner and not be passed from home to home or end up at a shelter. There is not a single certifying agency for dog trainers, but the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors are both recognized programs. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has tips on its blog to help find a trainer: uploads/position_statements/ How_to_Choose_a_Trainer_%28AVSAB%29.pdf.

A good trainer teaches owners how to work with their dogs. Positive reinforcement is the most important consideration. Reward- based training is preferred to punishment for undesired behavior. Dogs who are punished may develop inhibited learning, fears or aggression.

Val Kline is a trainer we work with often from Family Dog Obedience. She has some basic, commonsense approaches. First, don't blame the dog; train the dog. What you teach a puppy will continue for life. If you change the environment, you can change the behavior. A new pet from a shelter or rescue gives you a chance to start fresh with a new situation. If you do not want dogs in the bed or on the furniture, never let that be an option. You must set rules and stick to them.

Trainers need to be good teachers. Trainers do not teach the dogs in their classes. Instead, they teach the owner how to train. Many people in class need personal attention, and there must be time for questions and feedback.

Trainers must continue their education and experience. Keeping up to date is always a trait of good professionals. Being respectful of both the owner and the dog is necessary for a good relationship. …

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