What to ask when picking a trainer? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 04-26-2014, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What to ask when picking a trainer?

I have been thinking about eventually taking Tego to a puppy or basic obedience class....There's only one in the town where I live that does classes regularly. The only problem is the the puppy and basic class seem to cover things that Tego already knows or that we're already working on at home. My only goal would be to get him out in a busy environment and work on concentrating on training in an unfamiliar place and not just home where everything has already been explored! But I really don't want to pay someone just to go do what he already does.

In a round about way I'm trying to ask what I should ask the trainer about as far as his training methods etc. before siging up for a class. What are the basic things to cover before deciding on a trainer? I overheard a conversation with this particular one and he sounded a bit like he believed he was some kind of dog whisperer and also watched a few minutes of one of his classes and he was the one working with the dog which I'm not big on. I want a trainer to tell me what to do with my own dog because 1.)I don't want my shepherd thinking he's supposed to listen to strangers and 2.)He already doesn't listen to strangers. He ignores them like he's supposed to and looks to me for his cues.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do exactly what you did. Observe the trainer. Then you will get a feeling that they are right for you or not. Listen to your gut.

I'd recommend finding a trainer who works with GSD's. It has been worth the extra drive for us.

Good luck!

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Old 04-26-2014, 01:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Observing a class is going to tell you more about his training methods that asking him questions will, so if he'll allow you to watch an entire class before signing up, that's what I'd do. But a couple of questions I might ask are what, if any, equipment is required for the class. The answer I'd be looking for with a puppy class is a flat collar and treats. If someone says you must use a particular kind of collar (choke chain, prong, etc.) to take the class, or only uses praise to reward a dog, no treats, then I'd personally pass. I want my puppy training to be motivational, there's plenty of time to add corrections later.

Since you've seen him working with other people's dogs in class, you might ask him about that too. Is it possible he was just borrowing a dog to briefly demonstrate what everyone would be working on next? My dogs have been used as demo dogs in class many times, but afterwards they get handed back to me to work with.
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis View Post
Do exactly what you did. Observe the trainer. Then you will get a feeling that they are right for you or not. Listen to your gut.

I'd recommend finding a trainer who works with GSD's. It has been worth the extra drive for us.

Good luck!

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Do you by chance train at ICNDF? Sorry if I am wrong.
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have learned to ask if they are open to other methods of training. While positive training is great. Problems can develop that require other means of training. I personally found this out. I had trainers who were strictly treat and positive training methods only and my wife and I could never break through. What resulted was much stress for us and our dog. We finally went the other direction and are now in harmony with our dog.

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Old 04-26-2014, 03:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Do you by chance train at ICNDF? Sorry if I am wrong.
No, we train at Marienhof Kennels.

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Old 04-26-2014, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Do you have a local GSD or other large working breed club? I found my trainer through their member recommendations, and she is perfect for my dog.
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Old 04-26-2014, 04:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One thing I have learned over the years (including the hard way) recommendations are good.. BUT.. nothing can beat watching the recommended trainers work their own dogs or their client dogs before they work with yours.

My trainer is amazing and I was able to watch her work several of her own dogs and client dogs before she worked with mine. I was impressed and still am every lesson.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ask what is the definition of training....
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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All excellent ideas, thank you!

I would love to find someone who is familiar with german shepherds. That would be my preference. This guy was working with a poodle and the owners were just sitting and watching. I'm also good with watching YouTube videos and practicing what we watch but that doesn't exactly give the outside of home exposure I would like.
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