Doggy Training

Spotting the red flags on social media when searching for a dog trainer

How to choose a dog trainer

It’s really normal when facing training or behaviour challenges to get frustrated and be tempted to look for a quick fix. Social media compounds this because it makes us think that everybody else is progressing quicker and that you are being left behind.

Dog training & behaviour isn’t a regulated industry. We also still don’t have any laws regarding punitive & aversive methods and tools. So content using these methods is (sadly) readily available. Even if you don’t support this type of training it’s likely because you like dog training groups on Facebook the algorithm is likely to suggest these people/videos. Only last night Facebook suggested a post to me where it asked me to fill in a survey regarding the use of aversive tools. I dont follow any of these trainers online nor do I watch videos containing these methods as they upset me greatly.

The term “balanced” trainer is also misleading as it has us believe that there is a positive connotation to this type of trainining-think balanced diet, balanced lifestyle-so it’s understandable that guardians are going to become confused.

It’s also understandable that seeing someone have tens of thousands of followers across social media-well they must be good if they have that many followers, right?!

If you put all the points above I can see exactly why guardians are getting led down the garden path.
Only last week I spoke to a client who had been told to smack their puppy on the nose everytime they mouthed ??‍♀️??‍♀️

When you welcome a puppy or dog into your home. You need to understand that training is long term. Training isn’t linear. There will be setbacks, things will go wrong, you will get frustrated. But there are an awful lot of us trainers out there that wouldnt ever dream of reccomending something like that.

When you look for a trainer;

Don’t just take the amount of likes/follows they have as a representation of how good they are!
Are they accredited with force free and ethical organisations? APDT, IMDT, PACT, PPG and so on? If not why not? Instructors that belong to these organisations will of had to of gone through rigorous assessment and will have to provide CPD yearly to remain members of those organisations.

If in your gut something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t.

Go and see how they train, watch classes etc. We invite all our clients to come and see what we do.

Ask questions. Ask more questions. Keep asking questions.

If someone offers a quick fix or a “when I arrived this afternoon she was…..but look at her now, three hours later” post, ask how that was achieved.

Don’t be driven by price…I know right now things are tough. Believe me, as a small business owner I’m well aware of the cost of things. But being cheap/expensive isn’t a sign that a trainer is any good. If you are struggling but you need to work with a trainer ask about payment plans. I’ll tell you now, (I’m pretty sure most trainers would agree) we would rather work with a client that way then they fall in to the wrong hands.
Furthermore, unethical training can make issues much much worse. It can also make your bill to fix it much more expensive because we would need to unpick the issues then put them all back together again with a detailed training plan.

I don’t get on my soap box about these things regularly. My ethos has always been to shout loud and proud about positive reinforcement and science backed training. To try and drown out unethical practices-kindness wins after all. To not judge clients or other trainers that have in the past used unethical methods but now wish understand their dog better. And want to do better.

But social media is starting to give traction to unethical training methods it’s giving a skewed depiction of what training and behaviour is and it’s misleading and taking advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable.

How do I know that long term force free training works?

Because I have trained my own dogs and thousands of others in person and online to follow the same methods. We offer a huge amount of ongoing support-so that clients have the opportunity to ask questions.

It’s a marathon not a sprint guys and if you are ever feeling flat or comparing your progress to others. Call us, we’ve all been there.

Jordan x