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How To Choose A Trainer

Full members of APDT Australia can choose to have an entry in the APDT Trainers Directory.
In placing an entry into the directory, APDT Australia does not endorse these members or their training services.

Our membership includes trainers with a wide range of skill, knowledge and experience, and with a wide variety of approaches to training dogs and people. Nevertheless, all members agree to abide by the APDT Code of Ethics.
Membership of APDT Australia does not ensure that a trainer has attained a particular level of competence.
Members might use trainers in their business who are not APDT Australia members.

In Australia there are currently no requirements or standards that people must meet in order to advertise themselves as dog trainers so it is a case of 'buyer beware'!

APDT Australia's mission is education and we encourage our members to use dog-friendly training methods based on rewards not punishment.

Here are some suggestions to help you find a trainer to suit you and your dog:

1. Ask around

  • Ask around at local vet clinics, animal shelters, groomers or other people who work with dogs to see if they can personally recommend a trainer.
  • Ask dog owners at the local park or in your neighbourhood, for a trainer who has helped them.

2. What to ask the trainer

  • What is your area of expertise - pet training, behavioural problems, competition obedience?
  • How many years experience have you had training dogs? Teaching or consulting with people?
  • Do you have any accreditation or formal training?
  • What methods do you use?
  • What class would my dog be suitable for? (puppy, beginners, advanced?)
  • What is the instructor/student ratio in your classes?
  • May I come and preview one of your classes?
  • May I contact a recent client for a reference?
  • Does the trainer require dogs in class to be vaccinated or to have a health check?

3. Assess the answers

  • Is the trainer happy to take time to answer your questions?
  • Are methods based on rewarding desired behaviours? APDT Australia advocates dog-friendly training methods based on positive motivational training.
  • Avoid trainers who insist that physical abuse of any kind is necessary to train a dog. Abuse begins when knowledge ends.
  • Are you welcome to preview the class - good trainers welcome visitors (without dogs of course).
  • Avoid trainers who 'guarantee results'. Variables in dogs, owners and the environment mean that training outcomes cannot be guaranteed. Can you 'guarantee' your children's behaviour for the rest of their lives?

4. At the classes

  • What feeling do you get at the classes? Are dogs and owners having a good time?
  • Is the atmosphere relaxed but orderly?
  • What is the instructor's attitude to the dogs?
  • What is the instructor's attitude to the owners? Reward training isn't just for dogs - it's for owners too. A skilled trainer will demonstrate and explain each training exercise clearly and attend to questions courteously and professionally.

APDT Australia is a non-profit organisation committed to providing ongoing education for dog trainers based upon sound scientific principles and current best practice. The APDT Australia Trainers Directory has listings for trainers around Australia.

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