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Fetching the Perfect Dog Trainer


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What’s It About?

Acquiring a dog, whether a purebred puppy or a shelter rescue, is a big step for most people and fortunately there is a lot of good information available to make a good choice. Deciding who should train your dog is another matter. Unless you have lots of experience training dogs yourself, you probably have not even considered who should train your dog—and if you just rely on newspaper ads or business cards left in a vet’s office to find a trainer, you may be very disappointed in the outcome. Fetching the Perfect Dog Trainer by Katenna Jones presents all of the information you need to know to find the right trainer for you based on your lifestyle and the particular behaviors your dog needs to learn. Your dog is too important to not make the right training decision.

You will learn:

  • How to evaluate and interview a prospective trainer to know if she is right for your dog.
  • Red flags to watch for based on what a trainer says and what you observe.
  • The common characteristics of effective and humane trainers.
  • About training organizations and their certification programs.
  • What kind of training you may be able to do on your own and what should be left to a professional.


About the Author

Katenna worked for several years with the American Humane Association as a Humane Educator and Animal Behaviourist. She presently is employed with the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

When was it published? 2012

Who published it? Dogwise Publishing

Illustrations- Full colour photographs


~~Correct training is the key to creating a happy well-mannered canine citizen. In order to achieve, this the vast majority of us need some help from an expert.

These days there seems to be no shortage of professional dog trainers on offer, but how do we decide which is the right one?

Whether you are a first time puppy owner or a more experienced dog sports competitor, author, Katenna Jones, presents all the information you need to find the right trainer for you and your dog.

Jones teaches us how to evaluate prospective trainers, red flags to watch out for, how to recognise kind and effective training, an understanding of professional training organisations and bodies, and highlights training we can perform on our own and when we need to call for help.

This practical and informative guide on finding the right dog trainer is long overdue.

Part one, Getting Started, begins by looking at the importance of training. Jones argues that dogs of all ages, stages and breeds can benefit from training, as it provides the opportunity to teach new skills, strengthen bonds and offer the dog mental and physical stimulation. Training is also the basis to creating a well-mannered, socially acceptable dog that will thrive in a loving family home.

Jones examines the definition of training, explaining that it can typically mean either the process of teaching a new behaviour or skill, or teaching a dog to perform a behaviour on request. Training also includes  behaviour modification, which  refers to the process of altering existing, often undesirable, behaviours.

Next, Jones looks at the argument between training with a professional or training at home, offering training tips for training on your own and advice on when to turn to a professional.

She discusses which type of training service is more suitable, weighing up the pros and cons of individual and group training.

Jones next takes us through common group classes, explaining what these classes typically include and the additional benefits they provide.

She looks at:

  • Puppy Kindergarten
  • Socialisation Training Activity Responsibility (STAR)
  • Basic Training
  • Advanced Training
  • Competition Obedience
  • Agility
  • Rally-O
  • Flyball
  • Feisty Fido/ Reactive Rover, Reactive Dog
  • Wall Flower/ Shy Dog
  • Canine Good Citizen
  • AKC Puppy Programme
  • Therapy Dog
  • Search and Rescue
  • Herding
  • Schutzhund
  • Protection/ Attack
  • Field Sports
  • Scent Work/ Nose Work
  • Treibbal
  • Canine Life and Social Skills
  • Additional group classes such as tracking, trick classes, freestyle dance and more.

The next section provides some basic information on what to expect from training, looking at cost, location, timing, etc.

Jones examines the various locations training can take place, such as at home, on location, the trainer’s facility, board and training, day training and veterinary clinics.  It also looks at cost, discussing what you might expect to pay and the most cost effective methods of training. Finally she looks at the typical length of training programmes.

Jones then goes on to offer advice on where to find a professional dog trainer, giving suggestions such as networking with other dog owners and professionals, looking online and at printed advertisements, and going through certification and membership organisations. She describes each of the organisations, explaining the difference between certification organisations, certificate programmes, licensing organisations and membership organisations. However, she advises us to proceed with caution when looking at trainers belonging to professional bodies and organisations stating that it does not always mean they are the best.

Once a trainer has been found, Jones takes us through the process of what questions should be asked in order to determine whether the trainer is suitable. These include whether the trainer uses reward based training, if testimonials are available from previous clients, whether they  allow you to observe a session, how long have they been training, whether they are open for collaboration with other professionals, what certifications and titles they hold and what these mean,  and whether they belong to a professional body.  Jones also offers a handy guide to common certification acronym, allowing us to gain a greater understanding of what these mean.

Finally, in this chapter, Jones offers advice on how to ensure you are getting the most out of your trainer and training. She describes clear communication as key, as well as understanding what progress you should expect to be making, whether the trainer can adequately explain the process to the owner, and if a level of comfort and trust exists between owner and trainer. There is also a list of dos and don’ts to look out for.

Part Two of the book looks at training your dog, providing valuable skills both for your own training and allowing you to evaluate your trainer’s skills. It begins by looking at how dogs learn. Jones explains important considerations to bear in mind when training, such as,  dogs live in the present, timing is everything, address the disease not the symptom, remember that dogs react very differently to people, and dogs only know what they are taught so shouldn’t be expected to know better.

Jones then goes on to look at training methods. She explains the importance of management practices and how these can be key in preventing problem behaviour from developing. She also explains training method terminology giving a definition of each of the following terms.

  • Positive Training
  • Clicker Training
  • Marker/Reward Training
  • Balanced Training
  • Lure Training
  • LIMA Least Intrusive and Minimally Adversive Training
  • Dominance Based Training
  • E Training/Shock Training
  • Compulsion/ Traditional Training or Modeling

Jones talks us through some unacceptable training techniques that should never be used by any owner or training.

Equipment safety considerations are also taken into account, stressing the importance of making sure all equipment is functioning properly, if used on the dog then correctly fitted, and that ID tags should be worn at all times.

Finally Jones looks at the times when training may not help, when certain circumstances mean that serious behavioural issues are unable to be resolved. She explores the options available to owners in this case, discussing rehoming and euthanasia.

The book also contains a recommended reading list.

In a world where almost anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, it is fantastic to have a book offering sound and expert advice on this extremely important subject.

It is described by Dr Ian Dunbar as: “a valuable resource, providing information in an easy to use format” – and that pretty much sums it up.


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