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All trainers are not created equally. . .

Did you know the dog training industry is not regulated? Literally anyone can say they are a trainer!

When you really think about it, it is a frightening concept!

When seeking a trainer, look for qualifications, education and experience. Ask questions. Find trainers and behavior professionals via searches through sources like the Association of Professional Dog Trainers or the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (UpSwing is a proud professional member of the APDT and supporting member of the IAABC). Most good trainers stay members of organizations like this to further their studies. A trainer should always be eager to learn the newest scientific research pertaining to training. If they say they know it all, run away!

We are constantly learning more and more about the canine mind, and training should coincide with the findings. There is a lot of outdated and harmful information still rampant in the training world. Look for trainers who follow LIMA (least intrusive minimally aversive) protocols and understand true learning theory. It is important to really modify behavior and not just suppress with quick fix devices that inevitably make things worse. If your trainer says they have "___ years experience", but they aren't detailed, find out what that experience is. Owning a dog or having a pet dog is not training experience. "Having dogs all their life" or being an "animal lover" doesn't mean they are qualified or capable and knowledgeable in training or learning theory. If your trainer states they're certified, research who certified them and what that entails. There are plenty of Groupons you can find for "dog training certification" classes for like $50. That is absolutely not the same as years spent studying, mentoring or taking exams via the CCPDT or the IAABC. Don't just take that for granted. A certification is not just a certification.

Research everything!

Sure, anyone can say they are a trainer. Our dogs rely on us to make educated decisions for them though, so ask the questions! Interview your trainer! Do right by your best friend, trust me, he would do the same for you.

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