Every year unscrupulous persons calling themselves behaviourists, animal consultants, pet advisers, trainers, etc are fleecing thousands of dog owners throughout the world. There are a number of genuine people who provide a really good service but there are many more that do not.
SOME SIMPLE RULES
1. Make sure that you are not being charged £80 - £100, 10 - 20,000 pesetas, $120 - $150 or more for the initial phone inquiry and obtain details of all costs you are likely to incur.
2. Find out all you can about the particular organization before making any form of commitment.
3. Read advertisements carefully. No way in the world can you be sure of "Immediate results with a lifetime of the dog guarantee".
4. Ask to see the dogs owned by the person who will be helping you. Just because someone has a Border Collie or German Shepherd that will walk beside him/her like a zombie is no proof that they can help you with your Beardie, Terrier or Jack Russell which chases the postman or barks at next door's cat. Someone with a fat and lazy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will not necessarily be able to help stop your Rottweiler lunging at everything in sight.
5. Be especially wary of anyone who wants to take the dog away from you to train, even if only out of sight for a few moments. Professional trainers do not take dog away for training.
6. Watch out for the person who gets very high scores in obedience trials and claims to be able to cure all basic behaviour problems.
7. Never go to a trainer for novice/open/utility run-through who has not trialled a dog in the last year or two. There are some that are still trading on past glories of many years ago.
8. No matter what problem you have with your dog always try to shop around a bit. It may take a few days longer to find someone you are really happy with but that could also make ten years difference to the life of your dog!
9. If a trainer uses a choke chain then this is not a registered trainer. All professional trainers who are registered with organizations like the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), Federation of Dog Trainers (FDTCB) The UK Pet Dog Trainers (UKPDT) do not use Choke or check chains and certainly not pinch collars. All members are required to sign contracts that they will not use this equipment.
I could write much more on this subject but what I really want to do is turn dog owners away from the incompetent and unscrupulous money grabbers. If you find a really good trainer/behaviourist tell the world, and the same applies if you find one that is not so good.
Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.
by David the Dogman
David is a Canine Behaviourist who works and lives in Marbella, Spain. Tel/Fax (00345) 2883388. His web site is located at: www.thedogman.net. David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue, air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form of aggression.