Choosing a dog trainer can be a daunting task especially when it seems like every trainer has their own methodology. The information in this post will hopefully serve as a guide to assist you in making the right choice for you and your dog.

  1. Choose a trainer who can assist you with the issues you are having with your dog. This may sound like a given, but if your dog is human aggressive, a dog trainer who only works with happy go lucky dogs will not be able to help you.
  2. Let’s say you’ve narrowed your choices of dog trainers down to the one you really like. It would be nice if everyone was honest about their skills, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. It’s important to ask for proof of successful work with other dogs. In the age of technology, it’s not very difficult to post a video, and most trainers proudly have their work shown. If a trainer tells you that they don’t have proof of any dog they’ve worked with, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t do what they say, but it is something to consider.
  3. Don’t get caught up in the letters behind a name. Certification isn’t required to become a dog trainer and while there are many talented certified trainers, there are also many who just as talented, but uncertified trainers who have successfully helped dog owners.
  4. The majority of trainers become trainers in the first place because they love dogs. However, it’s important to work with someone who loves the owners as well, and not just the money that comes from them. When talking to a K9 trainer for the first time are they a good listener and show genuine care, or are they belittling? Working with a trainer is definitely a partnership, and you want to make be sure that it’s a good one. With that being said, don’t confuse a trainer who truthfully tells you what’s wrong with your dog as them belittling you. Sugar coating an issue, or exaggerating it doesn’t help anyone!
  5. Are you ready to change? Yes, the dog needs to change their behavior, but the people living with that dog will also need to make long-term changes for lasting success. A great dog trainer will do everything they can to ensure the success of a client, but there is no “I” in team. If you aren’t ready to make the necessary changes, it will be better to wait until you do in order to get the most out of your training program.
  6. Don’t solely make your decision based on price. Typically the more experienced a trainer is and the more difficult the dogs are the more you will pay. If you have a dog who needs help with more severe issues, don’t expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars. Being honest about your ability to pay is important, but it’s also important to understand that most trainers work with dogs as a full-time income and can’t give away all of their services.


Alex Harris,

Dog Obedience Trainer in Columbia, SC,

Reliable K9 Training