4 Tips on Choosing a Dog Trainer

Animal Behavior Dog College’s Dog Trainer Directory helps owners find certified trainers in their communities

New dog owners often face the daunting task of finding a trainer for their four-legged companions. With good intentions, some unknowingly turn to individuals who have little to no professional dog trainer education or experience or use questionable training methods.

Since dog training is an unregulated industry, it is essential that owners do their homework first before hiring a trainer. And, Animal Behavior College’s (ABC) Certified Dog Trainer Database is an excellent resource.

“Dog obedience training is one of the most important aspects of building and strengthening the bond between owners and their pets,” said Samantha Jonker, Animal Behavior College Program Manager, Certified Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer (ABCDT) and Certified Animal Behavior College Veterinary Assistant (ABCVA).

“ABC teaches positive reinforcement in its dog trainer program. Dogs are rewarded for performing desired actions, which makes this method not only ideal but enjoyable and rewarding.”

four dogs on leashes sitting on brick ground

The Certified Dog Trainer Directory lists ABC graduates who have completed the requirements of the dog trainer program. Although the directory contains a fraction of the more than 15,000 graduates, it includes contact information for hundreds of trainers located in every U.S. state and the 10 provinces of Canada.

In the menu, users type their ZIP/postal code and the mile radius they are willing to travel or select a state or province. A list of trainers, their contact information, profiles, and a map of their location appears. In addition, some of the U.S. states’ pages include resources for dog owners, including dog-friendly cities and dog parks.

For example, if users click the Austin, Texas, link, they are taken to the Bring Fido page for that city, which lists dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, activities, events, and services.

“Not all trainers offer the same services so it’s important to determine what your dog needs before beginning your search,” Samantha said.

“Is the goal to correct a specific unwanted behavior such as jumping on people? Does your dog have house training problems? What do you hope the training accomplishes? Communication is important, so candidly discuss with the trainer expectations and desired results to avoid any misunderstandings.”

 golden retriever on leash with blue and green ball in mouth

In addition to teaching positive reinforcement, ABC offers the following tips on finding a dog trainer:


Certified trainers have met both academic and hands-on training requirements and have worked to build their dog training skills. Ask about credentials, educational background, and years of experience, as well as any other programs and courses they have taken to enhance their expertise.


Many professional dog trainers teach everything from basic dog obedience to ways to address unwanted behaviors such as biting, excessive chewing or destroying furniture. Choose a trainer who has experience training your dog’s specific breed and can address specific needs.


As a service provider, dog trainers can provide references from satisfied customers. When contacting references ask if the trainer was on time, dependable and professional. How would references describe the trainer’s demeanor? Was he friendly and helpful or impatient and short? Did the trainer successfully establish the dog’s trust? Did their dog’s behavior improve as a result of the training?


If the references are acceptable, request an appointment to meet with the trainer. Are you and your dog comfortable with the trainer? Do you believe your pet will be safe with this trainer? Is the trainer friendly and professional? If there are doubts, trust your instincts and bypass this trainer and keep looking.

ABC offers dog trainer courses online and on campus. The program covers a range of relevant topics including learning theories, basic dog obedience cues, effective problem solving, business building, and pet first aid and CPR. Students receive hands-on experience and invaluable information that equips them to start a dog training business, work for an established company, or pursue other professional canine-related passions.

In addition to dog trainer training, ABC offers three other professional certifications in cat training, dog grooming, and veterinary assisting. Specialized certificates of completion in seven short-term programs are also available on subjects, including doggie daycare; pet fostering, pet nutrition, and training shelter dogs.

For more information, call 800-795-3294 or visit https://www.animalbehaviorcollege.com.

About Animal Behavior College

Founded in 1998, Animal Behavior College is a vocational school that trains professional dog trainers, cat trainers, veterinary assistants and pet groomers nationwide and in the 10 provinces of Canada. ABC has graduated more than 28,000 students from its four core programs combined. Students obtain practical hands-on experience applying what they learn by working side-by-side with a member of ABC’s expert mentors group. These mentors include thousands of professional dog trainers, veterinary hospitals and clinics and grooming salons from across the U.S. and Canada who are dedicated to helping students succeed in the pet services industry.

Santa Clarita, Calif., July 19, 2019