How to Choose a Dog Trainer

Dog training has rapidly evolved over the past few decades and it can be confusing for a dog owner new to training to figure out how to hire a dog trainer. The following section is designed to discuss the various methodologies found in dog training today and provide you with information on how to make an informed decision. We strongly encourage you to read through this section before you use our Trainer Search directory to find a trainer near you.

Because APDT is primarily an educational organization for trainers, we allow trainers with all methodologies to join with the goal of exposing them to humane, science-based training methods. However, this does not mean that all trainers in our directory subscribe to this philosophy, and it is your job as a consumer to use the tools we provide in this section to find the right trainer for you and your companion.

The APDT’s Trainer Search allows you to search for trainers in your area based on city, zip code, services offered and last name of trainer. However, there’s much more involved in finding a good trainer than just simply who is in your area. The APDT has put together a whole section for pet owners on how to interview and find the right trainer and how to understand basic training information such as methodology, equipment used, certifications and more. We ask that everyone view this entire section prior to using the Trainer Search feature.

We have the following suggested questions for you to use when interviewing. We recommend using open-ended questions so that trainers can explain their philosophy to you in depth.

  • What method of training do you use?
  • What is your educational background in the area of dog training (and behavior if applicable)?
  • What is some recent continuing education that you have attended?
  • What equipment do you use?
  • What kind of follow-up do you provide to our clinic on your work with our clients?
  • Can you provide a list of clients we can contact for references?
  • Do you belong to any professional associations, and if not, why not?
  • What are your credentials and do you have any certifications?
  • What sort of services do you provide for pet owners? Do you provide specialized services? (i.e. therapy dog training, competitive dog sports training, service dog training)

Articles and Resources

We have prepared the following sections to help you in the important task of choosing a dog trainer or behavior consultant for your pet. Please review all of them before you proceed to using the APDT Trainer Search Directory:

An Explanation of APDT Membership Levels

Can I Train My Dog Just Like They Do On TV?

Dominance And Dog Training – Myths and Realities

How to Use the APDT Trainer Search

Understanding Training Equipment Options – Collars, Leashes And Crates

What Are Some of The Common Myths About Dog Training?

What Do All Those Letters After Everyone’s Names Mean?

What To Expect When Working With A Trainer or Attending a Group Class

Why Do Trainers Use Food When Training?