Frequent When should I take my dog to a trainer? Find Out Here

Certifications will help you parse through page after page of online listings—but you shouldn’t depend on the credentials alone. Experts also suggest calling references and researching a dog trainer’s training philosophy. And if that first training session leaves you unsure about the fit, it’s okay to say “no thanks.”

A good collar ensures that identification tags will always remain accessible if you’re separated from your dog; it also acts as a connection point for a leash and serves as a training tool. Wirecutter recommends a flat-buckle collar, such as the Orvis Personalized Dog Collar, for most dogs. But if your dog has a slimmer head, as a whippet does, or a delicate trachea, as a Yorkshire terrier does, a limited-slip collar or harness is best. (Wirecutter recommends the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness.) A 4- to 6-foot-long dog leash, such as Wirecutter’s pick, a nylon Max and Neo leash, is ideal for beginner training situations. And a dog crate aids in housebreaking and prevents pups from destroying property indoors. (Wirecutter likes the MidWest Ultima Pro.)

Strengthening that bond between owner and dog starts with finding the pet professional who is right for you. Here’s how to connect with the right dog trainer and follow through with their help.

Use a small, smelly (trainers emphasize that the smell is important) treat to reward a dog’s good behavior—think pea-sized servings of dog-friendly jerky, string cheese, or hot dogs. For dogs on a specialized diet, kibble works in a pinch. Extra praise or a tug on a favorite toy makes training fun for dogs who aren’t food motivated.

“It seemed very odd to me,” said Kavin, a lifelong pet owner who had never worked with a vet behaviorist with her other dogs. “But in Ginger’s case, it took the edge off. She got her confidence back.” The combination of a prescription and training helped Ginger shine. She is now an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen, a designation that signifies a dog is well trained.

How many training sessions does a dog need?

For pet dogs, training once or twice a day, a couple of days a week in 5-15 minute training intervals is probably more than enough to achieve good results. If you take your dog to one hour training classes, make sure you give the dog several breaks during the class.

Is it good to send your dog away for training?

Sending your dog away will not help you with bond building, and training is a great opportunity to establish better trust. Board-and-train means missing out on some of that bonding. Dog training is an unregulated industry. … These methods can be emotionally harmful for your pup.

How Often and How Long Should you Train Your Dog?