How to Tell if a Trainer is Wrong For You?

How to Tell if a Trainer is Wrong For You?

There are countless trainers in the world, and people who would like to be trainers. These people have different certifications, no certification, work for organizations, work for small businesses, work for them selves, charge by the hour, charge by the session, charge by  number of sessions, charge by issue, train one-on-one, train in groups, train at home, train in a park, train in a rented or owned space, board for training… I can go on and on but the important thing is, no two trainers are exactly the same. Even trainers who have similar methods or ideas might teach or train differently. You are also inevitably, in searching for a trainer, going to come across multiple schools of thinking which drastically differ from one another.

Though I am in favor of Positive training methods for multiple reasons, this article is not meant to side one over another but to tell you that it is OK to fire your trainer. It is OK to say after meeting with someone, after one session, or after a hundred or more sessions, to say that you have changed your mind and do not want to go on with them.

Here are some examples of times where you might want to get a new trainer.

  • The trainer does not tell you or offer his methods of training and charges a fee to board and train your dog.
    • You should always know how your dog is being trained, especially in situations where you are meant to trust someone else to do the training. It might also be good to ask how effective or long-lasting the training will be without you being involved in the training. You are going to have to be the one following through, how can that be done if you don’t know how they enforced or discouraged behaviors.
  • The trainer uses methods that you know you will not continue once he leaves.
    • This is not only a waste of your time, but it is a waste of your money as well. If he or she uses methods that you are either not comfortable with or which you don’t believe in, tell them. If they won’t or can’t train another way then it’s better for both of you to end the relationship.
  • The trainer doesn’t tell you why you are doing something.
    • You should always know why an action is meant to help. If you do not, you could accidentally use it in an inappropriate way in the future when the trainer is not around.
    • Every action a trainer tells you to do should have a purpose beyond “It will work” or “Because that’s how I’ve always done it.” If your trainer cannot say why they are doing something, or why you should be doing something, it is important to rethink the situation.
  • The trainer talks down to you and your family.
    • Even if a trainer gets frustrated with owners because of actions they have done or do during sessions, it is important for them to speak to you in a proper manner and to show respect. In the end trainers are doing more to train the owners than to train the dogs. To do this, you have to respect them and they have to respect you.
  • You don’t like the trainer.
    • This is one of the harder ones to get people to follow. Many people may stick with a trainer because they come recommended, have great testimonial reviews, or any number of other reasons. If you do not like a trainer, if they make you feel weird, self-conscious, anxious, etc., even if they might do a great job it is better to stop training with them. During sessions if you feel this way you are less likely to focus, less likely to pay attention, and less likely to trust what they are telling you. This is wasting your time, money, as well as theirs.

These are only a few reasons, there are definitely many more. Follow your gut in situations like finding and following a trainer. If something doesn’t feel right, stop.


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