Puppy Advice

Find dog trainers and behaviourists

Dog training techniques have changed a lot in recent years. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing mistakes. If you reward your dog for good behaviour this will encourage them to do it again. If you punish your dog, it can just make them feel scared of you.

female dog trainer training yellow lab

Positive reinforcement is used by dog trainers and behaviourists today. Sadly, however, the dog training and behaviour industry is largely unregulated and there are still some trainers and behaviourists who use techniques that are are not kind and good for dogs. This can make it confusing for dog owners when trying to find a dog trainer or behaviourist. Read on to find out how to find a dog trainer or behaviourist who is properly qualified and will be kind to your dog.

When to start dog training classes

The best time to take your dog to training classes is when they are a puppy. They can start puppy school once they have had their second vaccinations. However, training classes can be helpful at any age.

They can also help to prevent unwanted behaviours developing, such as pulling on the lead when walking or not coming back when called. It’s advisable therefore to enrol in dog training classes to prevent problems, rather than waiting until you experience problems.

Local dog training classes

An online search will return plenty of results for local dog training. So how do you find the best one for you and your dog?

Anyone can offer their services as a dog trainer. This is because it is not regulated as a profession in the UK. This can make it difficult for dog owners to find someone who uses the right dog training methods.

The Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) has been set up to address this and improve the standards for dog training in the UK. If you do not have a local Puppy School trainer you can find a local dog trainer via one of the following ABTC accredited dog training networks:

How to stop bad behaviour in dogs

If you experience problem behaviours with your dog, such as being aggressive towards other dogs or people, or being aggressive around food, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.  It may feel like you are dealing with a defiant puppy or unruly dog, but your dog may be feeling anxious around other dogs or people they are not used to. A dog behaviourist can identify the cause of the problem and then work with you to solve it.

Puppy or dog won’t stop barking

It can be stressful if your dog won’t stop barking. There are many reasons they may be doing this, including over-excitement, to get attention or because they are feeling anxious. So-called quick fix solutions such as sprays to stop dogs barking can make them anxious and the problem worse. It’s always best to get help with nuisance behaviours such as excessive barking from a dog trainer or behaviourist.

Find local dog behaviourists

You’ll want to find a properly qualified behaviourist to help your dog. Anyone can offer their services as a dog behaviourist. You can find a qualified clinical animal behaviourist via the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) or CCAB Certification Ltd.

Their members include:

Read this storyFinding help for my fearful dog – what I wish I’d known

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  • “Very informative, very friendly environment. Cat put me and Betty as ease right away and she was extremely approachable if I had any concerns or queries. ”
    —   Ross
  • “It’s a fantastic course. The small sizes also really allow for personal tailoring if the exercise to suit my puppy. Neal made me so at ease when I struggled with something and there was never a I time I felt embarrassed to ask him to reexplain something I was struggling with.”
    —   Daniel
  • “We had a wide range of breeds with us and Amanda knew the traits of each so well, knowing how to approach training with them all and adapting when necessary. Amanda made it so fun for the pups and us humans! Corky and I will miss it!”
    —   David
  • “This course was fantastic. Jenny the trainer has a wealth of knowledge. Extremely approachable, and gave sound advice to our queries. She really knows her stuff. The groups size was just perfect, which meant each pup was not overwhelmed. I would recommend the course and definitely recommend Jenny. She was brilliant.”
    —   June
  • “We attended puppy school with our American bully puppy coco, we had already had a terrible experience with another school who made us feel tidally uncomfortable and unwelcome with our puppy. Puppy school Hollywood could not have been more different, Sarah was a fantastic tutor and a real supporter of Coco, encouraging us when the muzzle made exercises that bit more tricky and thinking up modifications so Coco was never left out. We were introduced to the class and the explanation of why Coco was wearing a muzzle was done in a way that we didn’t feel in any way uncomfortable and the other puppy parents were reassured. Thank you so much for giving our very restricted puppy the opportunity to be ‘normal’, I can’t articulate what an impact it had.”
    —   Frances