Nowadays, the dog is an integral part of our life. He accompanies us on vacation, in the car, in the street, lives daily within the family. All this is only possible on condition that the dog has landmarks, respects a hierarchy which, far from being overwhelming for him, reassures him. All owners aspire to have a calm, obedient, kind and fearless dog, who knows how to respond to his name and walk at his feet. But this is not innate: it can be worked on, and because it is not always easy, professionals are there to help you.
The different players in dog training
– Dog trainers
Dog trainers are dog training professionals. This profession was previously poorly regulated. In recent years, there has been a Professional educator certificate canine, which is the only state diploma recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture. For more information on this training, you can refer to the article “the main animal professions”. This diploma being recent, it is still common to meet many dog trainers from private training, of sometimes unequal duration and quality. Dog trainers provide private lessons, at your home or in public places (most often natural spaces). If they have land, then they also offer group lessons. If they perceive in your dog a real behavioral disorder, they may need to refer you to a behavioral veterinarian.
-Canine education instructors
Dog training instructors are amateurs, often passionate, but do not have no diploma in dog training. The canine education instructors work in the canine clubs of the Société Centrale Canine, which are associations. They have generally followed a preliminary training of a few days provided by their club. Dog clubs provide lessons collective on their land, with often restricted opening hours. Their prices are often attractive. Other disciplines may be available such as agility or other dog sports. Clubs frequently hold competitions to reward the most obedient dogs.
– The behaviorist veterinarian
The veterinary behaviorist intervenes during behavior disorder (hyperactivity, phobias, aggressiveness, destruction of objects, inability to be alone…). At the end of a specialized consultation, they make a diagnosis and offer treatment. They are the only ones able to prescribe drugs such as antidepressants to help the dog get better, but they also offer play therapy, or exercises to be performed with your dog to help him heal.
NB: In all cases, as part of the plan to fight against rabies, it should be known that a dog having bitten a person must be declared as soon as possible and three sessions of evaluation by a veterinarian.
What is a dog trainer for?
Everyone has their own opinion on how to train a dog. Many owners successfully educate their pets themselves. However, in certain circumstances it is necessary to call on an outside person, with a new perspective and techniques. This is the case if your new dog is not at all the same temperament as the previous ones and communication is struggling to establish this time around.
On the other hand, it may be best to seek the help of an educator if you have just acquired your first dog, are unsure of yourself, or do not know how to go about it. Having recourse to an educator often allows you to progress much more quickly than when you work alone.
The educator is there to help you communicate, to establish a hierarchy and rules that will allow you to live in harmony with your dog, and to allow him to be at ease and in his place in the street, in society. . It thus helps to prevent the appearance of behavioral disorders. You will work together on simple orders (sitting, lying down…), recalling, walking on a leash, kicking without a leash, getting along with other dogs….
Some educators also offer other services, such as training for hunting. Others are empowered to provide the necessary training to own a category dog. Finally, know that the educator can also intervene upstream to help you choose your dog.
Progress is rapid during individual lessons : the educator is entirely dedicated to you. If he intervenes at home he will help you in everyday situations, in the dog’s usual environment. Classes in the street or in open spaces such as parks or woods can be dangerous at first and must take place in very specific contexts.
It is good to alternate these courses with group lessons, which will help your dog to socialize. It is important that he knows how to behave correctly in the presence of congeners, and that he remains attentive to your requests without being too distracted. It also allows you to meet other dog owners and share your experiences. Working in several different places enriches and diversifies the lessons, and prevents your dog from associating work with a given field.
Dog training is accessible to all dogs, puppies as well as adults. Some educators offer classes exclusively for puppies, commonly called “puppy schools”, which begin around the age of two months.
Several lessons are often necessary. It can sometimes be interesting to distribute them during the year. The number of lessons needed and their frequency depends a lot on your progress, and should be discussed with the educator, usually after an initial assessment session. Payment is generally made in a package of 5 or 10 lessons.
How to choose it?
Do not hesitate to ask questions about the training received by the dog trainer, and about his experience. Word of mouth can also be a good way to gauge customer satisfaction.
It is very important that you and your dog feel comfortable comfortable in the presence of the educator canine. You should be able to ask all the questions that come to mind without difficulty. In addition, there are many methods in dog training. Each educator has his own way of working, and you need to be in line with his methods. If the educator offers group sessions, ask to attend once or twice. This will allow you to discover the course of a classic session and the way of the educator.
Note that the methods that work on the positive reinforcement (that is, rewarding the dog after doing what is expected of him, with a treat, a stroke or the sound of a clicker) gives much better results than those that rest on sanctions or punishments (strangling or anti-barking collars, etc.). Learning is faster with fun exercises. The classic methods are, among others, the clicker method, the natural method, the traditional method…. However, a good educator usually does not offer not a single method. It sadapted depending on your dog’s temperament, but also yours, to optimize your progress.
Indeed, during a training session, you and your dog operate as a couple, and progress together. It is therefore important that the current flows well within the handler-dog-trainer trio. During a session, the educator must give you exercises to do. He does not himself give the instructions to the dog, and does not work directly with him; the goal is for you to be able to make yourself obeyed. Requesting proof of vaccination dogs participating in group lessons is a guarantee of seriousness, because it is a place conducive to the transmission of contagious diseases.
It can also be useful to inquire about insurance: a professional educator has more responsibilities than an amateur instructor. He can be held responsible for incidents that occur during a group session, for example.