Training a dog can be difficult, which is why so many people turn to professional trainers for help with their pets. As with any profession, there are certain qualities you should always look for when you’re seeking out a dog trainer. While you should ultimately use your own (and maybe your dog’s) judgment, here are seven qualities that an effective dog trainer should have.
Patience is easily the most important quality that any animal trainer should have. Untrained dogs are unpredictable, and they can test any owner’s patience. Even if you have the most willful and difficult dog on the planet, a good trainer will do their best to work with them without showing any frustration or annoyance.
Every dog is different, and the strategies that work while training one dog might not work at all for another. There are obviously some tried and true dog training methods, but while a good trainer will stick to these methods, a great trainer will know when to switch things up to accommodate a particularly difficult animal.
Effective dog trainers will always have a positive mindset when dealing with dogs. Changing a dog’s behavior takes time, but when they do change it’s often because they want to. They’ve received plenty of positive reinforcement, and they know how to behave to get the best results, whether that is a treat or encouragement from their owner. That almost always calls for having a positive mindset and a desire to reward good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior.
4. Great Communication Skills
A lot of dog training involves giving commands that a dog can follow. This requires very strong communication skills on the part of the trainer. This isn’t just for the dog’s benefit, either. A good trainer should be able to talk to you and tell you how to give your dog commands and how to treat them when they don’t behave.
Since every dog is different and provides its own challenges, a good dog trainer needs to be on the lookout for any behaviors or qualities in a dog that could affect their training. This ties into being flexible and patient since a trainer will never know when they will see something that might force them to change their training methods.
6. A Sense of Humor
Not all training sessions will go smoothly, and a good dog trainer needs to be able to take setbacks or even outright failures in stride. A sense of humor certainly helps with this. If something goes wrong during a dog’s training and no one is really hurt, being able to laugh it off and try again is an important quality.
7. A Love of Dogs
It may sound strange, but not all dog trainers seem to have a love or an affinity for dogs. This is a must, and it is something that will shine through even if a trainer is having a difficult time with a stubborn animal. If it doesn’t look like your dog trainer has much love or patience for your own pet, it’s time to look elsewhere.