Questions You Should Ask A Dog Trainer – Especially If They’ve Given Themselves A Fancy Title

Actually - Questions To Ask Anyone Offering You Dog Training Advice

This Includes Veterinarians, Vet Techs And Rescue Volunteers

amateur vs professional

This is part of a ‘Food For Thought Series regarding the unregulated world of dog breeding and training’. More, but not exclusively for people thinking of getting a puppy or dog so they can avoid some of the more common ‘before the purchase’ mistakes. It’s also for those that have a dog and are wondering why things may not be working out.

  1. Series Introduction To: Bad Companion Puppy and Dog Training Advice (Pseudo-Science) Is Now More Common Than Good Companion Puppy and Dog Training Advice (Science)
  2. But At Least We Can Rely On Professionals Like Veterinarians and Vet Techs?​
  3. You Say You Researched The Breed, The Breeder, The Training Or The Trainer…
  4. Questions To Ask The Breeder Or A Rescue Before Deciding This Is Where You Want To Get A Dog
  5. Questions You Should Ask A Dog Trainer – Especially If They’ve Given Themselves A Fancy Title

Dog Trainers That Use Grandiose Titles

And The Truth Behind Those Titles

Companion dog trainers that ‘walk the walk’, are unlikely to fake the talk (the title).

Whenever you encounter a dog trainer that claims to be a ‘certified’ trainer, a dog ‘behaviorist’/’behavioralist’, or a dog psychologist have a look at their ‘proof’ and you’ll find it either doesn’t exist (because there is no such thing – see the image below) or has been issued by a self-formed ideological group that has no more weight and industry influence (or comprehension) than someone certified as a ‘Flat-Earther’ by the ‘Flat-Earth Association of North America’ (FEANM).

Dog trainers that describe themselves in these terms are far more likely, in fact almost guaranteed, to be the embracers of pseudo-science ideologies.

Remember, it’s an entirely unregulated industry, and the more a ‘trainer’ uses, or leans on these sorts of fake ‘I’m an authority/expert credentials, the more likely they’re faking their actual abilities.

Have a look at the poster image below and below that some great questions to ask the person offering to provide you with companion dog training advice. Especially, if they are planning on asking for payment for that advice.

Dog Training Titles Poster

Ask These Questions

  1. Dog Trainer: Are you part-time, or are you full-time? If part-time, why not full-time? (It’s difficult to earn a living as an amateur anything.)
  2. Veterinarians and Vet Techs: How much of your formal education focused on canine behavior obedience and behavior problems? (On average 3 hours total – multi-species.)
  3. Dog Trainers: What are your credentials? (Check to see if those credentials are provided by an association that is ideologically-oriented as opposed to offering a broad spectrum of behavior modification science. You will find that in most cases the answer falls in the former category. (See number 4.)
  4. Dog Trainers, Veterinarians and Vet Techs:  Is your advice/approach based on either of the unsafe ideological approaches of ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free/Never Say No/R+…’, treat, treat, treat, or ‘Might Is Right’, Alpha, Pack Leader, Dominant (Yank and Crank)? (Alternatively, do they understand and use a behavior modification approach based on science applicable to the task of real-world life-skills (evolutionary psychology and biology, sociobiology, anthropology, ethology, etc.?)
  5. Dog Trainers, Veterinarians and Vet Techs:  How much hands-on companion dog obedience (not competition, companion dog) experience and, or experience with the behavior problem, do you have? (When they started loving or owning a dog does not count.)
  6. Dog Trainers, Veterinarians and Vet Techs:  What do you offer as support between our meetings if I’m having problems? (Especially critically important with puppies and dogs with behavior problems.)
  7. Dog Trainers, Veterinarians and Vet Techs:  On average, how long do you take to reply to phone messages, emails, texts, etc.?
  8. Anyone Posing As A Professional: Do they refer to their clients as ‘Pet-Parents’ and dogs as ‘Fur-Babies’? This sort of anthropomorphic language is not typically a good sign. How a dog owner refers to themselves and their pet is their business, but if a ‘professional’ uses this language, it is more often than not a red-flag. (DOG TRAINERS! Words Matter – Question The Use of Fur Baby and Pet Parent)

The Entire Series...

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