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Pet Talk: Choosing a dog trainer

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Choosing a good dog trainer is much like finding the right teacher for your child. Assertive but caring, attentive and knowledgeable — there are many important qualities to keep an eye out for when making this crucial decision. In order to choose one wisely, it is advised that dog owners call, interview and observe a trainer prior to hiring them.
“There are numerous ways to train dogs. In addition, each animal has his/her own learning style and preferred motivators,” said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, or AVSAB, endorses training methods that allow animals to work for things (such as food, play, affection) that motivate them, rather than techniques that focus on using fear or pain to punish them for undesirable behaviors.”
A good rule of thumb is to avoid any trainer who displays methods of physical force that may harm your dog, including ones who routinely use choke collars, shock collars, or any other physical punishment as a primary training method. Look for a trainer who uses reward-based training with treats, toys and play instead.


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