Posted by: Linda Trunell | October 27, 2013

Choosing a Trainer

Trainers who are educated in dog ethology and operant and classical conditioning know that force and fear are not needed to train dogs.  Because they are not needed, morally they should not be used.  In my opinion, the less knowledge one has, the more force they use.  When evaluating a trainer you should look for someone who uses positive reinforcement and is force-free.


I love this quote from Leah Roberts  (December 22, 2012 –

“The best place to find a good trainer is at the Pet Professional Guild site at But if you don’t find a trainer local to you listed at that site, at least now you know how to evaluate those you do find. Be careful, though… there are a lot of so-called “professionals” out there who are advertising themselves as “Positive Reinforcement” trainers, but are most decidedly not. Ask straight out if they use choke, prong, or shock collars. And if you find somebody who calls himself a “Balanced” trainer, that means that he uses all four quadrants of OC. (see my post Operant Conditioning Explained and Illustrated)  That type of training is about as “balanced” as being bi-polar means a “balanced” state of mind. It can be very stressful for dog when he doesn’t know if he’s going to get a treat or a collar correction at any given time.  (see my post  The “What the hell?” Training Method)

Another alarm bell is any reference to the mythology of the Alpha/Dominance Theory. There is no scientific validity to the assertion that the way to create an obedient dog is to be a “pack leader” or to “show the dog who’s boss.” That’s an indication that the “trainer” has gotten his education from a TV reality show created for entertainment value instead of scientifically proven research.

And the equivalent of choosing a doctor based on how many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy he’s viewed…”

Here’s to being our dog’s best friend,



  1. Great informative post Linda. Thanks for sharing hon. 😀 *hugs*


    • Thanks for following, Sonel. Happy you found it helpful. *hugs* right back 🙂


  2. Good post. I can’t stress enough that one must do their research before hiring a dog trainer. I have worked with some excellent trainers, and some very, very poor ones.


    • Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, there are a lot of poor “trainers” out there. I always recommend observing an actual training session before deciding.


  3. Training your dog properly is so important and investing in a professional trainer could be a smart decision for the relationship of you and your dog.



%d bloggers like this: