An unruly or ill-mannered dog can impact everyone in your family. Don’t take a chance by hiring a trainer who is unqualified.

Just as choosing a trustworthy pet sitter is important, so is choosing a qualified dog trainer. We’re often asked for recommendations on dog trainers, but we only recommend those who we feel are as qualified in their field as we are in ours.

Brenda Caprio is one such dog trainer. Not only is she a respected dog trainer, she’s the vice president of a local dog rescue organization, she fosters dogs that have proven to be challenging for traditional homes, and she is a registered evaluator for the AKC Good Citizen test (learn how to have your dog assessed here).

As the owner of Awesome Mannered Canines, she understands dogs. Caprio offers affordable in-home training for you and your dog using positive training techniques for obedience and can help you resolve any type of behavioral issue.

Brenda specializes in the training of shelter rescue animals that may have developed issues during the transition of adoption.

Choosing a Dog Trainer

I asked her about tips on choosing a dog trainer and she had some great advice:

1. Look for a certified trainer

This means they have actually attended college to become certified. Certification holds the trainer accountable to basic standards and assures that they have met a specific level of study. It also assures that the person has had hands-on training and has passed minimum requirements.

2. Ask about the techniques they use to train

The answer should be positive reinforcement. Avoid any trainers that use hard correction or shock collars, etc. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) supports a Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) approach to behavior modification and training.

3. Ask if they train puppies and/or rescue dogs

As we know, rescues can occasionally come with some behavioral issues that can easily be corrected with positive training approaches.

4. Ask if they have to sign a contract

In most cases, contracts should be avoided as some trainers use the small print to include phrases that don’t work to the owners advantage.

5. Get referrals

You wouldn’t hire on a pet sitter without referrals; nor should you hire a trainer without referrals. Any trainer should be happy to provide you a list of clients you can call and ask about their training.

Remember, you should always choose a trainer who works with you as well as your dog. Training is useless if you can’t reinforce the techniques at home every day.

For those seeking a trainer, I encourage you to visit Awesome Mannered Canines. There you can learn more about group training to register your dog for Canine Good Citizenship or basic obedience and how to teach your dog good manners.