Recently I’ve been hearing some very disturbing training methods that are being utilized by trainers within the local area. I have had several clients tell me that a trainer has told them to kick their dog in order to get a solid heel. I have had a client tell me their dog was hung up by a pinch collar in order to teach loose leash walking. Another client told me the trainer advised pinning their dog to the ground to gain dominance. Please understand that when it comes to dog training there are currently no regulations in place, anyone can hang a sign up and suddenly they are a dog trainer. Most organizations such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers do not require anything more than paying an annual membership fee. They offer continued education but don’t require it. Some trainers are great networkers so they get a huge following but again this does not make them a good trainer. The methods described above are inhumane and outdated. Please ask about your trainer’s background. Ask what kinds of training they receive .throughout the year. Ask for references. Ask for proof of that training. Ask if they consult with other trainers on difficult cases because I do, because I don’t always have all the right solutions in my pocket. Question their training techniques. Ask them if they utilize the same methods for every dog or if they have a plan B and C. Research training methods, there are so many great books by authors like Nicole Wilde and Ian Dunbar. Most importantly trust your instinct and do what is right for your dog. There are some excellent trainers in our area just do your homework first, ask questions second, and challenge any training methods you are not comfortable with because in the end this is your dog not the trainers.