But comfort is just one of a number of other important considerations.
Our handy 4 Ps checklist will help you figure out how to chose a dog trainer for your pup:
Like schooling for your child, you can pay as much as you want for dog training. Some places are pay as you go from as little as $20 an hour to as much as $180. Other places require an upfront payment for say a four-week block of classes.
Cost also depends on whether you want private or group training and this will depend on the needs of your dog.
For basic puppy training, a group class is probably fine because your puppy will enjoy the added benefit of socialising with the other dogs.
When it comes to determining how to choose a dog trainer from the available pool, consider whether you are looking for help with specific issues. Be clear up-front about what problem or problems you hope a trainer can help with may direct you towards ones with more expertise in that area.
Your dog might be pulling on the lead or jumping up on people or chewing things. These things can usually be handled in basic training.
However, if your dog has anxiety issues for example, they may need a specific class such as a ‘reaction’ class. Alternatively, if you have a specific breed that you want trained for a particular purpose, there are specialty breed-specific dog training classes available.
For example, Ryan Tate from ProDog Training has worked with truffle detection dogs and offers specialist scent detection classes.
Jimmy Graham from Jimmy’s Dog Training says it’s crucial to be able to relate to your trainer. They should be a good fit for your dog, but also for you too. You’ll gain maximum value from the lessons if you feel you can be honest with the trainer and ask any questions you have.
He advises ringing around to get a sense of the person over the phone and trusting your gut.
“If it feels right, it’ll probably work,” he says.
“See if you like the cut of their gib. At the end of the day, it’s gotta be the right fit for you.”
Some dog trainers have completed courses with the government-accredited National Dog Trainers Federation. Others may be self-taught.
If qualifications are important to you, this is something you can easily find out on trainer’s websites or you can go to the Federation website for a list of accredited trainers.
What’s probably more important is the word on the street about your prospective trainer. Ask your friends about their experiences or ask other dog owners at the local park for recommendations. Some local communities have online noticeboards where you can ask for recommendations.
If you consider all four Ps, determining how to choose a dog trainer should be a walk in the park!