Thanks everyone! I'll still not 100% decided, still doing research. It's quite alarming though how the website and videos can look happy and dandy but then you start digging and doing google searches and by page 3 of google search you find a review that states they're using abusive methods. Very unsettling cause it could be true or it could be complete fabrication by a competing business, etc. but it does make you question that choice. Btw, not speaking about the 3 choices above, I just found another one on yelp that seemed to have some "controversy" which is why I brought it up.
OP- none of those look like someone I would take my dog to. But just cause I'm curious, why no treats? What about toys? Not all dogs are the same. For some dogs praise is better than anything, for others a tug is the best reward. A trainer should be able to figure out what best works for each individual dog. And your not bribing your dog with anything. Treats are used in the beginning to lure or reward small steps until the dog understands the behavior you are asking of them. It's much different correcting a dog for ignoring a command when you are 100% sure they understand what you are asking and correcting a dog who doesn't.
The fact that every trainer you mentioned states a training "tool" they will not use right off the bat on their websites is a red flag for me. I want a trainer with an entire tool box that they can dig in to, depending on the dog they are working with. Treats, tugs, balls, praise, prong collar, e collar... Not a one size fits all mentality.
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Hmm, why wouldn't you take your dogs to them? Based on what I read they seem promising. Not just the website but the yelp reviews. 2 of the individual trainers have Certified therapy dogs and have experience with AKC Canine Good Citizen tests and so forth. That isn't a greenlight automatically but also I mostly try to see the person itself. After reading "credentials", if they seem like an imbalanced person or someone short of patience, not very nice, etc. that's more of a red flag than anything. Mike from the K9 mentor seems nice, he visits hospitals to uplift people's spirits but then again, I don't know him personally.
I have actually received some messages back on yelp after I messaged every single review what they thought about the trainer now that time has passed. For David utter I only got positive answers, they all recommend him. Haven't heard back for mike though.
I do agree that the more tools in the toolbox, the better but I don't think that it's feasible to be an expert in every method or technique. To me, it'd be a red flag for someone who is touting that they use everything cause they're claiming expertise in too many fields. Adaptability is good but if they seem too adaptable, I kind of get the feeling that theyre trying to cover an inch thick and a mile wide. I'd rather go to experts in 1-3 methods and if that doesn't work for my dog or isn't compatible, they a different method with a different expert in that method. But of course, purely personal preference and if I'm lucky enough to find someone who's actually really good at more than a few tools, I'm all ears! Just haven't found it yet. Trainers tend to stick to their "team" or "style". I haven't found many balanced trainers that can use positive reinforcement and also deal with extremely aggressive dogs all with calmness and love. It seems everyone's either too extreme "food and treat only! politically correctness first!" or "they need to listen to me now! im the boss!". Very difficult to find someone who's a balanced person. And that's why I have much respect for Cesar Millan. Some may disagree with his style but its hard to argue that he doesn't love and have a very strong passion for dogs and he always comes from a place of calmness and love.
All States k9 was featured 3 times on the show with Cesar and got personal endorsement from him and also has very good 100% reviews on yelp. When i called they were willing to answer every question and were very nice.
From what I understand, they just don't use treats cause from what I was told based on their experience training advanced service and police dogs, the failure rate is much higher when treats ONLY are involved. Obviously they're not opposed to praising and giving treats to a dog out of love and appreciation or rewarding the dog with treats. Just not the strict, operant conditioning method to try and rewire the dog's brain to do something. The philosophy behind using treats constantly to reinforce a behavior is different than praise in my personal opinion cause methods based on focus on a treat as a reward isnt as reliable and connected as the dog learning to seek the reward of love the affection and approval from the handler. But that's just me and that's why I'm looking to check them out. Of course this depends completely on the dog. I'm also open to the fact that it may not be that great and I'll try someone else and a different method though.