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Dog trainer working with multiple dogs

Choosing the best dog trainer

Whether you want to teach your new puppy basic commands or help a rescue dog become more comfortable in his new home, it pays to do your research before hiring a trainer. There are a lot of options out there, from big box stores to boot camps to boutique trainers and trying to make that decision can be overwhelming! 

Here are some tips on finding the best dog trainer:

Evaluate. What kind of dog do you have? A 10-week old Labrador puppy will have different needs than a 10-year-old Chihuahua mix. 

Start Googling. Find trainers or training companies near you and see what they have to offer. Keep in mind that in-home trainers, whether they are independent or affiliated with a company, have specific service areas and if you’re too far away you probably won’t be able to book sessions.

(If you get confused by the types of training philosophies, such as positive, balanced, clicker, etc., there are some good resources here and here.)

Check the qualifications. Most reputable dog trainers will have formal education and official certification. If you see CPDT-KA after their name, you know they’ve put in the hours to become a respected professional.

Get reviews. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, start checking the online reviews and social media outlets; you should also ask your friends for references. 

Trust your gut. If you’ve done all of your homework and you just don’t like the trainer after you’ve met him, move on. If your dog shows unusual signs of stress or fear, take his word for it and find a new trainer. 

Enjoy the process! Learning with your pooch is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your best pal. 


Jaime Migdal, CPDT KA, is the founder and CEO of Fetchfind, a talent recruitment and services organization dedicated to the pet industry.

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