How to find a good trainer.
Ask your Vet for a recommendation. Check with the www.EastAfricaKennelClub.com the East Africa Kennel Club (0734 650 213 or 020 209 2319) for a trainer. Get recommendations from your friend’s that have had a good experience. If you are looking for classes also give the EAKC a call as they keep a diary of the German Shepard Dog League classes. The Labrador Retriever Club has classes every Wednesdaymorning at 10:00 AM at the East Africa Kennel Club in Karen opposite the Polo Fields on Jamhuri Road.
Good trainers don’t need to post signs on the side of the road nor advertise on the bulletin boards. Beware trainers who want to turn your dog into a “security” dog. Training a dog to attack or do bite work without proper control (obedience) is very dangerous, akin to driving a car with no brakes. It takes no talent or skill to get a dog to bite through fear or intimidation, but it’s very difficult to call them off. Ask your potential trainer where he has taught or how he came to be a trainer. Many, many trainers with sign boards up around town worked for security firms as a dog handler. That kind of experience does not necessarily make him a qualified trainer! Beware trainers that ask for money in advance, you may never see them past the second lesson, if that! It’s not possible to chat over the phone or even do one evaluation and know how many lessons a dog needs, so don’t fall for the 20 or 40 lesson plans. It really depends on a number of factors; such as your goal for the dog (i.e. fixing specific problems, house training, jumping, leash aggression or just learning basic obedience). Most courses for purely basic obedience covering leash walking, sit, down, stay and recall are approximately 10 lessons. Outcome will depend on the dog’s age, ability to learn as well as practice and consistency at home when the whole family and staff are present.
What to look for in a good dog trainer;
Trainers should use positive training methods. Praise, play sessions, training treats. The methods the trainers suggest should be humane and fair to the dog. If something the trainer suggests makes you feel uncomfortable, ask for an explanation. Don’t just go along blindly. Your dog should look happy when the trainer shows up, if the dog seems fearful or reluctant then pay close attention, it might be time for a new trainer. Training should not be boring for the dog or the humans. Your trainer should be creative so that learning is fun! There are plenty of games you can play with your dog that teach at the same time.
A good trainer will spend time with you and your dog so you can make the dog work for you. The trainer’s job should really be to train you how to train your own dog. Trainers should not be allowed to take your dog off your property or out of your sight. There are many stories of dogs coming back acting frightened or with visible marks on their coats from rough handling. I recently heard a funny story of a family that looked out the upstairs window to catch their trainer lying in the grass with the newspaper, calling out commands such as “Sit”,” Down” and saying “Good Boy” all the while dog lying snoozing next to him.